Feminism | Posted by Alexa S on 06/8/2011

Breaking My Rules

One Rule: Counting Calories

One Rule: Counting Calories

For over a year not very long ago, I had a plethora of very strange rules for myself to follow. I could only eat certain things at certain times. I had numbers that dictated my actions, numbers of calories and daily intake percentages and pounds. It was a suffocating process; luckily, I never followed my regulations enough for it to impact my health. Still, it affected my mind quite a bit.

Perhaps more damaging to my self-esteem was my body image. Unlike the majority of the population, especially teenagers, I really don’t enjoy food very much. This made any disordered eating-type behaviors extremely easy for me.

Most of my friends are exceptionally thin, as in magazine-ad thin. Most of them are athletic and/or naturally thin; as far as I know, and I’m fairly confident, none of them are plagued by the eating disorders that attack so many young women in our age group. This was unbelievably frustrating for me, seeing one of them eat (literally) a bowl of ice cream, seven Oreos, thirteen caramels, and a glass of milk at one sleepover with no change in her body- but far more enviably, no change in her self-esteem. I couldn’t even eat in front of these people at this time. I would eat slowly and minimally and nothing of the “junk food” contingent whatsoever.

Due to being with a group of people who ate immense amounts of unhealthy food almost nonstop for the three months we were together, I quickly lost my self-consciousness about eating in front of others. I could finally understand why people all ate their Goldfish and apples during class at school, something that had always seemed unbelievably foreign, not to mention courageous, to me.

Because I know now that my image was so distorted before, I honestly can’t distinguish whether my weight has changed now that I can eat a cookie while sitting in the back of my history class or drink a glass of chocolate milk at a sleepover. Regardless, the guilt that constantly weighted down my mind has been released, which, for me, is infinitely more important. I can worry about other things; I have the perspective now that I recognize that this was never worth worrying about.

I was so afraid to admit this to anyone. I still am afraid to share that I even was that way, even though I’m not anymore. But reading books and articles and blog posts of other people, especially young women, who had suffered from similar behaviors was the one thing that liberated me. No one in my life, to my knowledge, suffered from these inhibiting regulations; I thought I was completely alone. The reason I’m sharing this is in hopes that it positively affects someone else to get help if he or she needs it.

Alexa also writes for Blossoming Badass

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  • Alexandra @ at 10:24 pm, June 8th, 2011

    Thank you Alexa. I also suffered from body distortion/dissatisfaction and I still sometimes do. I am trying my best to stop counting calories, to stop counting pieces of food. I am trying to understand that it is okay to finish my meal without feeling ashamed. I am still afraid to share this with friends and family because it is embarrassing to admit that I even suffered from this especially when I was really underweight. Slowly, I am learning to love my body. Thank you so much for your article.

  • Becky @ at 3:18 pm, June 10th, 2011

    My 13 year old cousin is currently suffering with anorexia. She used to love eating, but when girls called her “fat”, everything changed. She was never obese at all; however, often as we go through changes in becoming teenagers, our bodies change, and our perceptions become distorted. Though my cousin underwent treatment, she still has an eating disorder in the sense that she only eats when forced to.
    In your article, you refer to girls who are thin and can eat whatever they want without consequences. This is only partially true. I have a fast metabolism, and throughout life I have eaten a lot of junk food. I always thought that because I was not gaining a ton of weight, I was perfectly healthy. However, I do have to watch my cholestoral. Health is more than just appearances, and not many girls realize this. Thanks for the article.

  • Tesneem A (Tess) @ at 5:26 pm, June 11th, 2011

    I understand what you’re going through totally, and I can relate to almost each and every word you say, of course except for the fact that I have a liking for food; however, I could easily adopt these destructive behaviours and all it used to take (and still takes)for me to lose the desire to eat completely and possibly starve for a while was stress or upset for any reason.

    I read everything and I thought I was alone too. Thank you for the post, Alexa. x

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