One of the biggest blessings of this summer (and my injury and the resulting confinement to the couch) has been the time to sit and learn. I’ve spent the last three months investing in and expanding my knowledge about eating disorders, as well as fitness and nutrition. I’m doing my best, now, to filter the information, make connections, and use it to improve my own life–and hopefully my readers’ as well.
The more I write the more I realize that ED cannot be explained away as simply as I believed. It’s not just the “media-made-me-do-it” mindset inspired by stick-thin fashion models and celebrity gossip rags. Nor is it just the time-my-mother-told-me-I-was-fat childhood traumas that we discover and work through in therapy. It’s all of that and so much more:
ED is about appetite and addiction. It’s about obsession and ritual and anxiety. It’s about unfilled holes and un-whole foods. It’s about willpower–too much and not enough–and controlling the uncontrollable. It’s about recovery and relapse and habits and cycles. It’s about negative self-talk and negative self-image. It’s about twelve steps and baby steps and one step forward and two steps back. It’s about bad science packaged by the media and the government, meant for quick consumption but never proper digestion. It’s about fad diets and magazine models. It’s about binging and purging and why it feels wrong to feel. It’s about hours on the treadmill, running nowhere except into the ground. It’s about calories in and calories out and calories counted but not understood. It’s about sexuality and psychology, sublimation and restriction. It’s about fear, disgust, shame of the body, of its presence, of its weight, of its needs. It’s about wanting and not wanting to want. It’s about competition and perfection and idealism. It’s a cry for attention, a cry for help, a cry for the sake of crying, I’m crying, look at me, dammit! It is about silent screaming and weightless bodies, and a kind of loneliness that only the self-isolated can feel.
It’s strange: I originally started this blog with the simple intention to write about how unlearning nutrition helped me start to conquer ED; instead, it has shown me that the dragon guarding my tower has more than one head, and that no one tool is sufficient to slay the whole beast.
So I apologize in advance if this blog gets a little heavy with information in the coming days. I want to share with you everything I’m learning about how ED came to be and how it operates, and where it’s taking you, me, us on this journey.
That means I’m going to look at food science and psychology, addiction and recovery, history and theory, fitness and nutrition, and everything in between.
And I’m doing it all from the perspective of what I’ve learned and experienced. Which means that it may not jive with your personal philosophies and ingrained habits and things you’ve learned about the world through your experiences. I’m open to hearing your perspective, and I ask that you please share it–and allow me to share mine with you.