I’m currently enrolled in a study about my binge eating disorder. Four times a day, an app prompts me to answer questions about how I am feeling and my eating. It has forced me to recognise that I think about myself and my eating a lot.
Many people might look at my body – an obese woman – and think I simply don’t care about what I eat and how my body looks. If people have ‘let themselves go’ when they’ve put on a few kilos, what am I?
I think about food all the time. I am bingeing or thinking about bingeing. Or I am caught in a spiral of shame where I am ashamed of my body and my eating habits.
When I am not thinking about food negatively, I am still thinking about ways to control my eating and my body – next time will be different, this is what I should eat.
Quite the opposite of not knowing or caring about food and how it effects my body, the thought is never away from my mind for more than a few minutes.
I write this not just for catharsis but to ask you to stop and consider before you make judgements about people you see with different bodies, before you offer unsolicited diet advice (however well-intentioned, I’ve probably already angsted over it); to think about how your actions and comments affect those of us with eating disorders; and, to work with me to think about how to improve treatment.
I might be fat, but I’m probably stronger than you – appearances can be deceptive.