Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Distinguishing Between a Healthy Diet and an Eating Disorder

Bodies, especially female bodies, constantly are critiqued by outside sources. It can be difficult as a person, particularly a woman, to be able to look past these outside sources and discover what is right for yourself. Sometimes these outside forces are so pressing that they make their way within our own minds.

I recently had someone tell me I was not allowed to lose any more weight and that I was becoming too skinny. In the past I was told by someone who poked my stomach that it looked like I had been drinking too many beers. Honestly, these two comments are not very different. It is difficult to have an exact pinning of the motivations between the commentators, but both comments could either be genuine concern or personal biases. Either way, the only opinion that matters is my own.

Eating disorders are diseases. They are in no way related to health. Any eating disorder, be it anorexia or binge eating, is the exact opposite of health. Health is nourishing and caring for your body; celebrating it as a temple. A person with an eating disorder views their own body as the enemy.

There can be criticism of the raw diet, from those who do not understand it or have been approaching it incorrectly. I have found many cases where a raw food or whole food diet has actually been a recovery mechanism for people with eating disorders. The truth of the matter is that people are going to talk, and formulate critical opinions about anything you do which is different from what they believe. The important thing to stay focused on is your health, be it physical, emotional, or mental.

I have composed a list to help break down the differences between a healthy diet and an eating disorder. Please be honest with yourself about your responses. Please love and care for yourself. Your body is a gift.

Healthy Diet: Your eating habits strengthen your muscles, organs, and nerves.
Eating Disorder: Your eating habits deteriorate your muscles, organs, and nerves.

Healthy Diet: You feel comfortable in your own skin, and feel good about your appearance and abilities.
Eating Disorder: You hate the way you look, and nothing you do is ever enough to make you feel good about yourself.

Healthy Diet: Your pantry is abundant, and you love it that way!
Eating Disorder: You avoid being around food.

Healthy Diet: You have a regular menstrual cycle.
Eating Disorder: You have stopped having a menstrual cycle.

Healthy Diet: You eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.
Eating Disorder: You allow yourself to be hungry for long periods of time or else constantly over-eat to the point of severe discomfort.

Healthy Diet: You listen to your body for how much and what to eat.
Eating Disorder: You listen to your emotions for how much and what to eat.

Healthy Diet: You decide what is right for your own body.
Eating Disorder: You compare your body to other people and media images.

Obviously, this is a loaded topic to fit into a short blog. I am not a psychologist, and would encourage anyone who thinks they may have an eating disorder to seek out professional help. Be supportive of people who make good choices for themselves. Encouragement is a powerful tool. I want this blog to be a source of information to help women take ownership of their own bodies in a positive way. This is not a place for body-shaming, it is a place for body-celebrating.

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