Eating Disorders: Valentine’s day love

Facing a bad relationship or the lack of a relationship on Valentine’s Day naturally instigates self-criticism, and eating disorders thrive on self-hate. Eating disorders have touched many of the women and some of the men[1] in my life; my heart goes out to each of you.


The woman on this magazine cover symbolizes perfection, society’s ideal body type, and a call to action: “Shape Up”.  This insinuates that the reader is not perfect, unlike the model, of course. Other titles on the cover also play into our stereotypes, and suggest that events like “A Foodie Gets Fit” or “A Model Fights Her Eating Issues” are newsworthy. Yet the magazine’s main article that month was “Fashion to Flatter Every Figure.” Thank you Vogue for addressing eating disorders, but no thank you for ingraining these stereotypes even further into our minds in the process!

Here a chart depicting how someone with an eating disorder thinks:


This looks confusing because it is. Having an eating disorder means you’ve been misled into a cycle of self-ideology, self-criticism and self-disappointment – you constantly realize that you are not perfect (because nobody is) and yet you compare yourself to the model society presents: You look at that model on the magazine cover, see that idealistically airbrushed image, and then pick apart every way in which you are different.

People easily forget that they are unique and beautiful. We forget that there are many others out there who have gone through similar struggles, who would be willing to help support them and begin a healing process.[2] [3] [4] [5]

Planning a reasonable, healthy diet can support healing because eating disorders are about the loss of control and short-term emotional thinking, whereas being healthy requires full control toward achieving a long-term goal. Determining to follow a healthy diet that you’ve researched can help to prevent, moderate or even realize that you have a disorder. Eating regularly helps, as does avoiding foods that shock your system, like sugar, or foods that slow down your system, like highly processed foods (most packaged foods are processed). Planning balanced meals and preparing food helps you not only eat healthy but to take the time to appreciate the work that goes into it. This strategy can help you regain nutritional balance and boost self-control.

Have goals and stick to them as best you can, but don’t beat yourself up if you stray. Disappointment, especially self-disappointment, fuels eating disorders – don’t go there! If you mess up simply acknowledge it ws a mistake and go back to your plan as if you had never left it. In fact, a recent study on the psychology behind eating disorders concludes that “facing modern temptations [tasty foods abound], it is impressive how many people remain in normal weight range today.” [7] Nobody is perfect.


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