Living With Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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IT'S A LIE...

Eating disorders aren’t very loyal and trustworthy, even though they pretend they are your friend. They fuel your brain systematically with tons of false beliefs, lies and contradictions. Living with an eating disorder makes your mind a battlefield. Every single minute is filled with conflicts between your eating disorder voice and your healthy voice. Your healthy voice tries to argue your eating disorder voice, but you keep ending up losing that battle. Logically, you find yourself in a continuous state of distress.

I remember myself that regardless of this uncomfortable feeling it wasn’t until I started recovery that I was able to identify the two voices. I learned how to do distinguish between them and how to rely on my healthy voice more. At some point I began to discover patterns of recurring lies that were really sticking out. Here are the most commonly occurring lies your eating disorder tells you. Remember that your eating disorder makes you believe it is you that is thinking them!

1. I AM FAT

Many people with an eating disorder may think they are too heavy or fat. It’s actually something your eating disorder makes you think. It will make you believe that you should weigh X pounds to get rid of this belief and be happy. The truth is, no matter how much weight you gain or lose, no matter what dress or waist size you wear, your eating disorder will never be satisfied and will keep telling you the same thing. Try to filter out a thought like this and compare it with your realistic healthy voice. For instance, I used to say “Am I really fat or do you make me believe I am?” followed by “I am not fat at all. The scale is the living proof of that and I am working towards getting healthy.”

2. I AM NO ONE WITHOUT MY EATING DISORDER

This is something I believed for a very long time. When your self-esteem is at an all time zero and you are filled with self-loathing, your eating disorder can seem to be filling up the emptiness inside you. At first, you feel like you have something to wake up for each day, but the longer he controls your mind, the more you end up losing yourself. The longer you live with an eating disorder the more your true self intertwines with your eating disorder making you believe you can’t live without it. The opposite is true. You can only reconnect with your inner self when you let him go. Click here to find out how you can rebuild your identity.

3. I DON’T DESERVE TREATMENT

This is something I held on to for a very long time and it took me years before I gave my permission to recover. I convinced myself other people needed treatment more than I did. I told myself their condition was more serious than mine . This doesn’t make sense at all. You deserve treatment and a happy life filled with joy and health just as much as anybody else.

4. I AM UNLOVABLE AND WORTHLESS

When I lived with an eating disorder this was my mantra. At moments I wasn’t saying it out loud I was thinking it inside my mind. Whatever I did, it was never good enough, I would never be good enough and nobody would ever love me. My eating disorder introduced himself as a lifesaver, but was nothing more than a lifetaker and so is yours. You are not worthless, nobody is! We are all worthy of love, happiness and living the life we want. You are not here to survive, but to thrive and live a great life!

5. I HAVE TO DESERVE AND COMPENSATE FOOD

Most people with an eating disorder can resonate with this, whether in active recovery or not. When you’re eating a meal or want to grab a snack, that voice urges you to either stop eating or compensate afterwards, “just to be sure”. Just to be sure refers to the chance you’ll be confronted with a situation in which you have to eat something unexpected. In my case, just to be sure was just another way of saying “this is a new rule”, a new norm. Don’t fall into this trap! No one has to deserve food, let alone compensate it. Your body needs energy to live, to be healthy and to make it possible for you to live the happy life you want.

6. I WILL EAT NORMAL ONCE MY WEIGHT IS XX POUNDS

Doesn’t this sound ridiculous? Why on earth would your eating disorder ever be satisfied? He won’t, ever! Besides, it isn’t about the weight anyway, it’s about how you see yourself. This won’t change when you listen to the lies your eating disorder tells you. Remind yourself whenever this thought pops up in your mind.

7. I AM NOT THIN ENOUGH TO HAVE AN EATING DISORDER

Your weight doesn’t define the severity of your eating disorder. Yes, most people clinically-diagnosed with anorexia are underweight, but most other cases people with BED, Bulimia or OSFED (previously known as EDNOS) are at normal weight or overweight. Furthermore, the weight is the least of the problem and only an ineffective coping mechanism for not being able to express emotions. The real problem and severity of the illness lies in issues like self-loathing, a lack of self-worth and acceptance, a low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. The longer you live with your eating disorder, the more brain and body damage will be caused by it and the harder it is to find the way back up. Never think your case isn’t serious enough!

8. TREATMENT PROFESSIONALS (DOCTORS, DIETITIANS, THERAPISTS) WANT TO MAKE ME FAT

Your treatment team isn’t your enemy, your eating disorder is. No one wants to make you feel fat. They want to help you and guide you along your journey of recovery. Their only goal is to see you happy again, so don’t believe that voice when he’s trying to convince you otherwise.

9. IF I START EATING I WILL LOSE CONTROL

“If I enjoy this meal today, I will end up losing control and never be able to stop eating.” The fear of losing control is very common for people having an eating disorder. I used to have it myself, but does it make sense? No, it doesn’t. You won’t lose control. This fear is the direct result of malnutrition. You become obsessed with food and it damages your brain and ability to think clearly. You will see that once you start eating according to a healthy and balanced diet (provided by a nutrition expert) your body will be able to stabilize at its optimal set point weight and the fear of losing control will disappear.

10. THERE ARE ‘GOOD’ FOODS AND ‘BAD’ FOODS

I remember I had a huge list of bad foods and a very small list of good foods. There is no such thing as good and bad foods. This is just something your eating disorder makes you belief. When you eat according to a balanced meal plan you can eat anything you like, also pies and treats. That is part of life and it makes it fun!

11. MY BODY WEIGHT DEFINES ME

Your weight doesn’t define you! What does define you is your empathy, your kindness, your personality and all the other beautiful things that lie inside of you. You won’t be happy when you are skinny or fit a certain standard of beauty society has created. Happiness starts when you love yourself from the inside. Once you are able to see that, your mind will open up and unleash your true life’s purpose and your dreams.

12. IF I DON’T WEIGH MYSELF EVERY DAY MY WEIGHT GETS OUT OF CONTROL

I used to believe this for a very long time. In fact, it was just a way of coping with my self-hate and low self-esteem. I thought I could handle everything as long as I controlled my weight, but the truth is the only one in control is your eating disorder. First of all, your weight fluctuates within your setpoint range all the time. That is the natural beauty of your body. I used to think I could easily gain a few pounds in one day. This of course is not possible and you don’t need to weigh yourself every day. Trust your body’s wisdom! Focus on learning to love yourself and you’ll be able to see your real beauty!

WHAT LIES DOES YOUR EATING DISORDER TELLS YOU?

“It took me years of my life to realize I don’t need my eating disorder to live my life. I needed my eating disorder to live the life of someone else. I learned how to appreciate myself as a whole person and to love myself for who I am, being imperfectly imperfect. I realized it wasn’t about my body or the food at all, it was about my deep amount of self-hate that I expressed over my body. You are not your body and you don’t need to change anything to be good enough or beautiful. The only dreams you should be chasing are yours. Stay true to yourself, unconditionally.”

— Miriam

“I spent years of my life treating my body like an enemy: hating it, blaming it, picking it apart, manipulating and controlling it. I focused all my energy on turning it into something that it could or would never be…perfect. I look back and think what a waste of time and energy! I’m a strong short curvy women with so much more to offer the world than my daily quota of calories. I can’t take back those years, but I can be a supportive, loving and compassionate friend to my body and self now.”

— Jess