I'm always afraid to mention the fact that I'm on a diet, and that I exercise. It's even a little bit harder for me to say that part of my reason is that I want to model (or at least look like one!). You're probably already making assumptions. It's scary for me to talk about any of these things, because I'm always afraid that people will jump to the conclusion that I'm anorexic. Usually people don't say it, THANK GOD, but I know they're thinking it.
Anorexia is a mental illness. Never ask someone that you aren't close with if they're anorexic. It's extremely offensive. Just like you wouldn't go up to someone and call them Bipolar or Schizophrenic or ask them if they have PTSD. It's private, it's embarrassing, and it's rude. When people infer that I'm anorexic, I am very offended. It hurts my feelings, guys!
Since a young age, I've been afraid to say I've had enough to eat. I've been afraid to use the bathroom after eating in fear that people will think I'm going to purge. I've been too afraid to talk about diet or exercise. I've even tried to overcompensate in the past by overeating and telling people I eat a lot, just so they'll stop thinking I'm anorexic.
For me, diet and exercise isn't a temporary thing I'm doing to "lose weight", it's a lifestyle change. I want to continuously be active and eat well for the rest of my life. I don't want the fact that I was lazy or ate too much junk food to shorten my time on this Earth. I have so many things I want to DO, and I don't have a lot of time! Not only do I want to live for a long time, I want to be healthy and I want my body to feel good the whole time too!
I also just want to look my best. Yes, I am already naturally slim, but I want to gain muscle. I want to work out hard like a Victoria's Secret Model. Those women work hard for those bodies. Yes, they are naturally slim too, but those girls are muscular. I want to be muscular and not just a string bean. I want to be able to lift things, open jars, and just have stamina in general.
We all do so many things to look our best. How about fashion, make up, and hair removal? Those things are normal. Same with abstaining from drugs and alcohol. And so are diet and exercise. Why do we have to make the last two so uncomfortable for people who are already thin?
Just in general, you should never talk about someones weight. Skinny, fat, or anything else, just don't talk about it. Just like you wouldn't call someone "too fat", you should never call someone "too skinny". It's offensive. Same deal with comments like "you need to eat more", "you're skin and bones", and of course, "you're so skinny, are you anorexic?" If you're going to comment on someone's weight, say "hey you look great!" and leave it at that. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE IS ACCEPTABLE.
If you're concerned for a friend who may have an eating disorder, you need to approach the situation very tenderly. It is extremely hard to talk about these things because of the stigma behind it. Let them know they can talk to you about anything, and you won't judge them, and follow up on that. If they tell you something and you react in a negative way, especially after you've just told them you won't judge them, they won't trust you again to tell you something secret. You really need to be not judgmental, and get them help regardless of how angry you may be. In some cases, they may not be able to help what they do. People can't help it if have anxiety, depression, or irrational fears. Your friend needs someone they can trust, and most importantly, they need medical attention.
If you have an eating disorder or any mental illness, please seek help. It is absolutely real, and not just "in your head". It is a medical condition, and you need treatment. You can, and you will overcome this if you get help. I know because I have, thanks to a great psychologist. I could have never gotten better without professional help, and I'm not afraid to admit that.
I'm talking about this stuff because I want people to start talking about it. I don't want people who have mental illness, or even eating disorders to be afraid to talk to someone about it or be afraid to get help. I want these things to be okay to talk about. I'm so tired of it being stigmatized. People DIE because of this stigma. WE NEED TO START TALKING ABOUT IT!
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