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National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

February 25, 2014

Weight LossEating DisordersMy Boring-Ass LifeDiet TalkFat HealthExercise

Trigger warning: Graphic discussion of eating disorders.

NEDA

For National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I created a video. Partly because I need to do more vlogging and partly because I think it’s important that fat people with eating disorders get some visibility.

If you’re having trouble seeing this video the transcript is below:

Hi everyone. This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Everyone knows by now that I struggled with an eating disorder for about a decade. From the time I was 15 to the time I was 25, I went through phases of binging, purging, starvation, diet pills, over-exercising and yet more starvation. When I found Fat Acceptance, which pulled me into recovery, I was eating about 300 calories a day. Every day I would eat a Boca veggie patty with ketchup and no bun for lunch and tofu noodles with pasta sauce for dinner. I’d be proud of myself when I got dizzy and enjoyed the out-of-touch feeling, zoned-out feeling that I often got.

Despite the fact that about one in three women have eating disorders, I never feel like people quite get it. Though I was eventually diagnosed with EDNOS (or, eating disorder not otherwise specified) after I was in recovery, people, including friends, family, and my spouse, often encouraged and supported my eating disorder. It’s a little disturbing for me to find out that people with EDNOS have higher mortality rates than either people diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia with a mortality rate of 5.2%. It’s about 4% for anorexia and bulimia. I was never hospitalized, though there were times when I passed out daily and I probably should have been.

But, you know, I was fat and fat people don’t have eating disorders. All we have is the “good fatty” mentality of dieting. If you’re dieting to lose weight, regardless of how extreme it is, you’re a good fatty. If you exercise and eat all the right things. you’re a good fatty. Mind you, good fatties don’t have to diet or have eating disorders, as long as you’re doing what society thinks you should be doing, you’re a good fatty.

The thing that I want to really emphasize here, though, is that this mentality of hating my body until it was thin nearly killed me. There were times when my self-loathing would hit epic proportions and, in the depths of body-hating depression, I would become suicidal. I want to remind everyone that my first suicide attempt at the age of 10 was because of my body size and the constant stream of abuse that I endured from both family and peers. From some of my first memories, until I was almost 26 years old, I was depressed, obsessed with thinness, and suffering every minute of it.

Fat Acceptance set me free. My weight hasn’t changed much from my 25-year-old self, despite years of untreated thyroid disease. I eat in a way that followed the Health at Every Size approach, which means I get to eat what I want, when I want, and how much I want AND not feel guilty about it. It encourages a healthy way to eat — and I don’t mean eating your veggies and demonizing other foods. I mean a mentally healthy way of eating.

Learning to love my body has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me and, as a side effect perhaps, I’ve not been suicidal since finding Fat Acceptance. Fat Acceptance is a movement which, I believe, can help every individual, including those who suffer from eating disorders and disordered eating.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2014 10:53 am

    What a brave story and so needed. thank you for sharing it. I write about eating disorders and have posted many article that you might find interesting. http://drkathleenfullereatingdisorders.blogspot.com/

  2. Elizabeth permalink
    February 27, 2014 12:49 pm

    Another excellent post!

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