3 Questions About What It’s Like To Live With An Eating Disorder

what it's like to live with an eating disorder
what it's like to live with an eating disorder
Photo by: Jamie Matocinos

We are all a constant work in progress. Some days are going to be good, and other days are going to feel like a struggle. But what do we do? We move forward because that’s the only thing that we can do.

For the last six years, I have been impacted by an eating disorder. It’s not something that I am ashamed of anymore, but rather, it’s just a part of who I am. This isn’t to say that I will never be able to fully overcome my eating disorder, but it has already impacted my life to the point where it will always be a significant part of my past.

Today, I want to answer three questions about what life is like to live with an eating disorder in hope to simply educate some on this crippling mental disease.

What is life like to live with an eating disorder?

Honestly, it all depends on the person and the type of eating disorder. For me, I had restricted myself to the point where I basically cut out any and all fattening foods, while only eating foods that were high volume/low calorie foods to leave me feeling full.

My eating disorder took away all of the enjoyment from eating while also taking away a lot of enjoyable social experiences. I wouldn’t go out to eat with friends, wouldn’t go to parties, and not after long, I quit being invited out entirely because my friends already knew that the answer was probably going to be no.

I was left trying to claw my way out of an endless pit. I couldn’t eat without thinking about calories, couldn’t eat without thinking about potentially bingeing, and couldn’t eat without wondering how I was ever going to enjoy my life again.

Yeah, during the darkest days of my eating disorder, life wasn’t enjoyable to live.

What triggered my eating disorder?

The truth? Being made fun of by others and see everybody’s “perfect life” on social media is what triggered my eating disorder.

Was I teased and bullied for my weight? Yes. But don’t get me wrong, I teased others as well and deserved everything that came my way.

But mix that with being able to open an app on your phone and see all of the positive feedback that those on social media are receiving for being able to see their abs, it only made me crave that attention even more. I was willing to do anything and everything for some extra attention, and so I did just that. I lost a lot of weight and got that attention to a certain extent.

What I didn’t realize at the time, though, was that I was allowing the thought of attention to control what I ate, and I was allowing what I ate to control my life. Simply stated, I was allowing attention to control my life and was just using food to get that attention.

How do you cure an eating disorder?

Again, to be completely transparent and open with you, I have no clue. Once I find the cure-all end-all solution, I will let you know.

As I said before, we are all a constant work in progress. Some days are going to be better than others, and what might work may not work for others. We are all different, live different lifestyles, and have different mindsets.

What I believe will help you the most, is realizing that you are already enough just the way that you are. You are you, and that is your greatest superpower. You don’t need the approval of others to be happy in life, and you don’t need to have six-pack abs in order to be healthy. You need to find a happy balance between both body and mind, and once you do that, then you will be happy.

My life with an eating disorder.

Was my eating disorder worth the extra attention that I received? No, and that’s why I am writing this. For the last six years, I have been battling with my own emotions. Heck, I don’t know if I will ever fully get over my eating disorder.

My hope is that someday I will be able to look at food and think of it as fuel instead of thinking of it as calories. You know, being able to eat without thinking about the number of calories that I am putting into my body. But with my eating disorder being a large part of my life for the last six years, it will always be a part of me. There just isn’t a way to erase six years of one’s life.

So do you know what I am going to do? I am going to learn and grow from those years. Cliche answer, but what else can I do? I don’t regret it because it led me to the life I am living today, and today, I have an opportunity to help inspire others and change lives. That is my mission, and that’s what I’ll continue to strive towards.

Michael Bonnell

5/20/2019

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