Wednesday, November 12, 2014

eating disorders

Do you ever hear one of your favorite celebrities say something that disappoints you?

If your human, the answer should be yes. Because they are humans, too, and sometimes humans say things they shouldn't.

The celebrity in question in this case is Meghan Trainor. Otherwise known as, the voice behind that catchy top 40 hit "All About That Bass". Or as my mom once called it, "that song about holding butts at night".

It's a great song, despite my mom's description. It's all about self love and that we don't have to be a size 2 to be beautiful. It's also incredibly catchy and addicting. I first heard it in my zumba class this past summer. I loved the line "every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top" and that became my mantra every time I looked in the mirror.

So for such a body positive tune, one would assume the artist behind it, Meghan Trainor, would be preaching self love, right? Right.

But in a recent interview, Meghan made an oopsie. A big one. She said "I wasn't strong enough to have an eating disorder. I tried for like three hours".

Cue facepalm.WHAT?

Now. In Meghan' s defense, perhaps her words got skewed. We all know that can happen sometimes. I'm also taking into account that she's young, she has this very new fame, and maybe she just didn't think about how that would sound. I don't want to make this about attacking Meghan. It's about educating.

People do not wake up one day and say "I think I'll try to have an eating disorder". That's not how it works. What actually happens is that they are tormented by thoughts....fear, rejection, obsession with looks or with the idea of being perfect. These thoughts become terrorizing. In the mind of someone with an eating disorder, the ONLY way to cope is to stop eating, or to binge and purge. The disease tells them that's the only way. The disease keeps it going. The disease makes it near impossible to stop.

The strength part comes in when the person suffering is able to stop allowing the fear/hate/rejection to control their every move.

We have GOT to stop talking about eating disorders and mental illnesses as if they are something to achieve, or as if having one makes us more interesting or that it's "cool" to have one. Because let me tell you, people who have actually suffered from these would never, ever describe it as cool....nor would they wish the disease upon anyone. No one should have to live with an eating disorder. No one should feel so much hate/resentment towards themselves that they put their health in danger.

Also, eating disorders are not always obvious. I know that doesn't relate to what Meghan said, I just feel it's important to point out. People in all shapes and sizes are suffering eating disorders-men and women. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone points out a thin person and assumes they need to "eat a burger" . That's wrong . We don't know that person's story, we don't know if maybe, just maybe, they just happen to be naturally thin-but healthy. I know, what a concept, right?

There is also an eating disorder that no one ever talks about, and that's food addiction/binge eating. Some think it's an "excuse" for overweight people. I've even heard the comment "oh yeah it must be really awful to be addicted to food. Let me tell you, friend, it actually is really, terribly awful. It's scary, the way your eyes glaze over and you are suddenly eating everything in sight, without even realizing it,because the thoughts in your head are telling you that it doesn't matter, no one who  ever love you, and you'll never be good enough, so you may as well eat. It's easier  hide from the world when your  overweight, right? Those are the thoughts someone with a food addiction wrestles with.

My point is: educate yourself. Learn about eating disorders and mental illnesses. Have a little empathy. Consider how your words may hurt. Use your platform, however large it may be, for good.

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