“You Can Never Have An Eating Disorder That Isn’t ‘Serious Enough'”

Charmaine is an undergraduate at the University of Bristol reading International Social and Public Policy. When she’s not running, you can probably find her in climbing gyms, the mountains or some corner of Bristol. If she’s not outdoors, she’s probably cooped up with a book about the human condition, a social issue or someone’s adventure. All things aside, she believes in sharing and connection. We are all walking libraries, connected by the power of stories for the empathy and understanding that they can foster.  

NOTE: Eating disorder behaviors mentioned.

2017: An Innocent Diet Journey

For the bulk of my teenage years, I struggled with disordered eating. I was a competitive athlete in Triple Jump, and failed to perform during the 2017 season. That prompted me to go on a weight loss journey, with the innocent desire to improve my performance. I thought that if I weighed less, I could ‘jump further.’ 

I started off by eliminating certain food from my diet and tracked every food item I consumed. Knowing cardiovascular activity was known to help with weight loss, I started running. As the numbers decreased on the scale, I became more motivated. I decreased my calorie limit every week while increasing my weekly mileage. 

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Rachael Recovered? Phases of the Eating Disorder and Where I Am Now

TRIGGER WARNING: Eating disorder behaviors mentioned.

When I talk about my past eating disorder behaviors, the past Rachael I speak of seems so different from the Rachael I know now. When I write it all out as I’ve done here, it becomes clearer than ever.

Restriction (2 years)

7 a.m.: Wakeup, and the first thing you think is BREAKFAST. You weigh yourself first, of course.

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Eating Disorders vs. Healthy Eating

(Thank you to BetterHelp.com for sponsoring this post, with their link on anxiety included in the final paragraph. I received compensation as a thank-you for my participation, and believe offering links to resources like this may be of help to some.)
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Let’s say a friend chooses to order a salad while the rest of your friends order pizza. Is this friend restricting calories to lose weight? Or does he want a salad right now because pizza doesn’t sound appetizing at the moment?

Some people may eat in a way that makes others think, eating disorder.

But you can’t point to every raw foodist and claim they have an eating disorder. You can’t claim every vegan is masking a bigger problem. And you don’t want to assume that just because someone eats a seemingly balanced diet that they don’t have disordered eating. Some may eat in restrictive ways to avoid food allergies or find that they feel better eating this way, while others use “gluten intolerance” or “raw food diet” as an excuse to carry out their eating disorder behaviors in a more convincing way.

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