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National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2024

The last week of February is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. As someone who has struggled with eating disorders since middle school, I feel that this is such an important week. While we learn about eating disorders in health class, I don’t think they really touch upon just how serious they are. You just get a quick general overview – at least that’s how it was for me way back in the day. I really do hope that things are different.

For those of you that don’t know, I have a long history of disordered eating, which I wrote about here. I restricted food regularly. I was never overweight by any means. But, between body dysmorphia, depression, and anxiety, it was about more than just how I looked. Sure, I cared about my appearance. But I also used it as a way to punish myself. Or, it was because I was too anxious or depressed to eat. It’s something I still very much struggle with today.

My Recovery Today

I wish I could say that I’m healed and better. But, as I just said, I still very much struggle. Eating disorders are one of those life long recovery things. There will be good periods, but there will also be bad periods. Much like other mental health issues, the recovery is not linear.

Struggles With Body Dysmorphia

I think the thing for me that still blows my mind is how much body dysmorphia distorts my view of myself. Recently, I was going through my old photos on my phone from years ago. I was trying to clean up some space on my phone and I came across a lot of old photos of me. There were so many pictures I saw of myself where I remember thinking I looked so fat and disgusting. I was significantly smaller than I was now. It absolutely blows my mind that I was looking at myself then and thinking I was huge back then.

This is from 2021. When I first saw this picture, I thought it was the worst picture ever. I hated how my legs looked.

It’s not even just with old photos of me either. To this day, I find myself staring at myself in the mirror and just hating what I see. I am heavier than I was years ago, but I’m by no means fat. I am a healthy, normal weight. But when I look in the mirror, the first thing that comes into my brain is “fat.” Yet, I’ll see unposed pictures of myself and then be blown away because the things I saw in the mirror were not reality.

When I’m posed and thinking about my body, I very much close into myself because I don’t want to be looked at or perceived. I’m terrified of what others think about me and my body. It’s hard not to be when social media is filled with tiny people and when comment sections of celebrities and influencers are filled with comments about their bodies.

And, because I’m so physically uncomfortable with myself, it shows in photos. I press my arms close to myself and my arms look huge. But, I know they’re not because I’ve seen unposed pictures of me and they’re fine. In fact, they look small. It’s just something I still really struggle with, I’m still learning to love my body and be confident in it. It’s been such a work in progress. I still find myself wearing oversized clothes to hide my body. I’ll try to wear other things to dress up. But, I feel so uncomfortable that I end up changing into clothes that hide everything. I will sometimes change 5 times before leaving the house.

I hadn’t worn this fitted sweater last year because I was self-conscious in it. But, I wore it this year to my niece’s birthday party. I almost changed though lol.

Relationship with Food & Eating

In terms of my relationship with food, it’s a lot better. I don’t restrict foods or view anything as bad. But when it comes to actually eating, I still skip a lot of meals. Eating meals can still be a really daunting task for me. But, it’s not because I’m afraid of food or eating. It really has to do with my mental health and really just not wanting to cook. Thankfully, I have a boyfriend who recognizes this and will go out of his way to make me food to make sure I eat. He knows otherwise, I might go the whole day or most of the day without eating.

Wrapping Up

So all in all, I’m definitely doing relatively well in my recovery compared to where I’ve been with my struggle with eating disorders. The disordered eating is still very much a part of my life to this day. It’s easy to just fall back into the habit of not eating because my body is just so used to it. But, I have people who do look out for me and gently remind me to eat or ask if I’ve eaten, which helps.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, know that there is help. I’d suggest working with a therapist who specializes in eating disorders and/or a nutritionist or dietitian to help you with eating. Nutritional rehabilitation an important part of treatment in order to restore the body and brain to sufficient health and to be able to proceed with psychological intervention.


Things That Have Helped Me In My Eating Disorder Recovery

Recovering from and eating disorder is HARD. I’m not going to sit here and tell you it has been a walk in the park, because it has not been. Trying to break the cycle of disordered eating isn’t easy. Learning to love the skin your in takes a lot of work. But, here are some things that have helped me in my personal recovery.

Changing The Way I View Food

One of the worst things you can do is view food as “good” and “bad.” Labels in general are bad. You shouldn’t be avoiding foods because they’re “bad.” Really the only reason you should be avoiding foods is if you’re allergic or if you have a sensitivity.

Diet culture loves to tell you to avoid this and avoid that or that this is horrible for you or that is horrible for you. Pretty much everything is okay to eat in moderation. If you restrict yourself from eating something like sweets or carbs, you’ll end up with a really unhealthy relationship with those foods.

For example, you could 1. be terrified of eating them and have meltdowns when someone tries to get you to eat then or 2. end up binging them and beating yourself up over it when really eating any food should not be causing you distress.

Restriction literally can cause you to end up on the binge eating spectrum of eating disorders. My advice to you is to allow yourself to eat the food. And, don’t let anyone tell you that any food is bad. Like people thinking carbs are evil when your body literally needs them to function. They only reason you should be mindful of how many carbs you’re eating is if you’re diabetic or another legitimate medical reason.

Not Caring About What Size Clothes I Wear

I used to be obsessed with what size I was. In fact, I squeezed myself into clothes that were way too small for years just because I wanted to be able to say “I’m a size (insert small size here).” Squeezing myself into clothes that were obviously way too small did a lot of harm.

Not only are clothes that are too small uncomfortable, but due to them not fitting comfortably, they make you feel heavy. Jeans that are too tight result in muffin tops (even if you’re relatively small). Shirts that are too tight give the illusion that you’re heavier than you are because they don’t fit your body. And, that’s okay! There are clothes out there that do fit you and your body!

Once I started buying clothes that actually fit me, I felt a lot more comfortable in my body. Not having to squeeze and force yourself into clothes that are too small just because they’re a smaller size significantly helped me view my body in a different light.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter what size clothes you wear anyways. They’re all BS and sizes vary depending on brands. Like I can comfortably fit into anything from an extra small to an extra large. At the end of the day, it’s about finding clothes that you feel comfortable and confident in.

Not Comparing Myself To Others Online

This is a tough one that I do still struggle with from time to time. I used to scroll through my feed and ask myself why I am not as skinny and toned as some of the people I saw online. But, then I would remind myself that every body is different. We all have different genetics.

I also try to remind myself that the internet is not real life. A lot of photos you see on social media are very touched up and photos are edited with the intention of making the subject look smaller because that’s what the media and a lot of society praises.

Keeping Pre-Prepared Foods In The House

Something that has really helped me is buying easy to make, pre-prepped foods that are pretty much ready to eat. Some of my struggles with disordered eating stems from both my depression, which leaves me very unmotivated to cook/eat, and from just being very busy. When I was working multiple jobs and going to school, I fell into the habit of just not eating because I was too busy (and tired) to prepare myself anything to eat. If I did eat, it was a small snack here or there.

Now, I buy things that are quick and easy for me to make to help get myself to eat regular meals. It’s not completely fool-proof, but it does help. Even though I’m 25 years old, chicken tenders and chicken nuggets are a staple because I can just throw them in the oven and I can get easy protein. Pasta, specifically protein pasta, is also a staple because of how easy pasta is to cook. I also get a lot of pre-prepared meals that I just have to heat up!


These are just some of the things that have helped me with my recovery. They may work for you, but they may not. Everyone’s recovery looks different.

What are some things that have helped you?