Hello, hello, and welcome back to the blog! Don’t worry, I've kept it short this week, though I feel further discussion on this may come in the future...
So, unfortunately I feel like for some strange reason, our society has found a way to glamorize eating disorders. If you don't believe me, go to the supermarket and take a minute to scan the magazines that fill the racks at the checkout line. You see it day in and day out whether you notice it or not.
“Lose 10 pounds in a week.” “Slim down in your 40’s.” “Bounce back after baby.”
Blah, blah, blah.
You know exactly what I am talking about. The truth is society celebrates “skinny” and I will be the first to say, the temptation is real. I STILL catch myself picking up a People magazine with curiosity. Knowing full well that there is no magical quick fix that someone just discovered, and in the off chance that they did, I highly doubt a gossip magazine is going to be the first place that it is published. But that just shows how sexy those headlines are. They are attractive and attention getting and the publishers know exactly that.
What they fail to tell you is that extreme and unhealthy measures are often the basis of achieving such results. If the results are even real!
We admire the self control of avid gym goers and those friends that always order a salad at lunch. Thinking man they are missing out on this great food yet at the same time secretly feeling guilty for ordering a creamy pasta dish. We look up to the celebrities that bounce back after 2 months of having a baby, and we see ribs sticking out of the back of nearly every woman’s dress at the Oscars without giving it a second thought. It's this weird internal struggle that I know I am not alone in. But the bottom line is, regardless of how glamorous Hollywood or society makes it seem, there is absolutely nothing glamorous about an eating disorder.
I can tell you from personal experience, there is nothing glamorous about vomiting in the toilet in a restaurant. There is nothing glamorous about starving yourself to the point where you are seeing spots. And there certainly is nothing glamorous about slowly killing yourself.
I find it so strange because our society does not glamorize alcoholism or drug addiction. No one advertises behaviors that are likely to result in diabetes or other life threatening illnesses. But eating disorders are the same. A disease. In fact, eating disorders are second only to opioid overdose as the deadliest mental illness. So why in the world would we think it's ok to promote and normalize such behavior?
Obviously, society doesn’t outright say “hey world, these celebrities are struggling with anorexia and depression don’t you want to be just like them?” No. Instead, it looks a little more like this… Your Instagram feed filled with skinny models posing in exotic locations, “health” resources touting Keto as the next big weight loss hack, MyFitnessPal telling you 1200 calories is perfectly acceptable, and influencers sharing their life changing results from intermittent fasting.
I am here to speak the unpopular opinion that it's all crap!
First off, it is widely accepted that the Kardashians pay paparazzi which means they stage the “casual” photos that end up in magazines and are professionally photoshopped. Unless you have a genuine medical condition and are under the care of a medical doctor, Keto is not good for you. Too much fat and protein can be damaging to your kidneys, I know from personal experience. If that doesn't convince you, Google Keto crotch, that should say enough. And if you happen to have MyFitnessPal on your phone, do yourself a favor and delete it now!
Eating disorders are complex illnesses that stem from so many factors so to say the media causes anorexia or bulimia or any of the other eating disorders would be ignorant. However, as humans, it is almost impossible to ignore the subliminal messages we are bombarded with daily that indirectly speak to our insecurities.
To be very clear, eating disorders will rob you of your life. They will mess with your mind until you can no longer think rationally. You will do things you wouldn't normally do and say things you wouldn't normally say. They will damage relationships and distort your thoughts. You will spend a lifetime trying to undo the damage that they cause, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I know it sounds extreme and morbid but it is not something that should be taken lightly. Nothing about them should be celebrated, encouraged or idolized and it kills me to know how much of my life I missed out on because I was so deep in my eating disorder.
If you feel like you are struggling, or are unsure of the messages you are getting online or from media sources, celebrities, or anything else, please feel free to reach out. Reach out to me, a friend you can trust, a therapist or professional. 10% if not more of our population is in the same boat so you are not alone. My goal for this blog is to create a community where people can come to share experiences because I know others struggle with similar issues.
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Disclaimer: Please note, all information on The Cheeky Life is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for professional care. The intention of this blog is to connect with the community and share my personal experiences with mental health, eating disorders, and life in general. All opinions are my own.