• Shruti GOCHHWAL

My Experience with an Eating Disorder

Ever since the early 2000s, as social media and fashion magazines became more and more popularised, slowly and subconsciously, I became a victim to society which paved the way to my eating disorder.

People wrongly assume that eating disorders are like a fever – it happens overnight. However, I am here to tell you that it is a long and gradual downward spiral. One of the main reasons why is because of the one quality most bulimic patients have – Denial.

From the age of 15 until 17, I suffered from an eating disorder and was in the greatest denial about it for a year. My eating habits consisted of starving myself for a week and binging on the weekends.

I used to starve myself in secret in order to avoid questions from my family and loved ones. My goal was to consume the lowest amount of calories possible and whenever I was tempted to eat something, I used to chew on that particular food and spit it out.

However this temptation could be suppressed only for so long, after every few weeks, I used to land up breaking my so-called “fast” and indulged in overeating up to the point beyond satisfaction which was then followed by guilt and sadness. I felt like I became a victim of my own body to which there was no escaping, as the food was my problem but was also my solution.

I reached a point in my life where I used to forcefully throw up in order to sleep peacefully as I felt comfort in falling asleep on an empty stomach.

Eating Disorder

The Cause Behind My Eating Disorder

Growing up, I watched a lot of movies and fashion shows, read a lot of magazines. Everywhere, I noticed a pattern where the media associated thin and tall women as ‘beautiful’ and ‘flawless’. Slowly, my mind was trained to think and look through the eyes of social media.

In addition to that, every single person is now accessing social media and trying to make their body image fit these standards through heavy editing and photoshopping.

In fact, what 13 years old me did not know was that ironically, most of the models and actors that every teenage girl was obsessed over either was (a.) Struggling in a relationship with food themselves or (b.) Their features were heavily edited in the magazines and pictures.

So really, if you think about it, every single person was trying to achieve a level of perfection that did not exist. It is an artificial image that has been edited or manipulated in order to sell a product by making the viewers feel like that was what they needed to achieve.

How I Overcame My Eating

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How I Overcame My Eating Disorder

Overcoming an eating disorder really just means fixing your relationship with food, physically and mentally. However, it is so simple.

Every journey is different and it usually depends on the cause of the problem.

When I was 16, it became very evident that I was struggling and family and friends tried to support me. Eventually, what really pushed me to get help was self-realization and the breaking of my denial streak.

I felt like I was stuck in an inevitable situation starving, binging, and vomiting. There was no beginning and no end – it felt like an endless loop.

One person who really helped me out was my nutritionist. Before, I used to associate the word ‘healthy’ with low calories and low carbs. My nutritionist broke this belief and taught me that healthy really meant ‘balance’.

A balanced diet of 1500 calories a day consisting of proteins, fats, sugars, vitamins, etc. In fact, eating consistent and regular meals will help you boost your metabolism and help your body burn those extra calories.

I realized starving myself made me very irritable and grumpy and once I started eating ‘ real healthy’, I felt a lot more energized and radiant.

I also decided to dedicate 35 minutes of my day to exercise and yoga. This really helped me in both my mental and physical health.

Eventually, I realized that what really made me happy was not ‘looking’ beautiful but was by feeling beautiful. I was only able to feel that level of happiness through self-love and care.

Now, when I finally look into the mirror or take a bite off my burger, the only thought that comes to my head is ‘beautiful’- both me and the burger.

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