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My experience with eating disorders, and our body image culture.

Updated: Apr 9, 2023

I was 14 when I first developed an eating disorder.

At 17 it transpired into Anorexia Nervosa, and I was hospitalised for 7 months, held down and tube fed, 2 hours away from home.


Why am I telling you this? Body image haunts most of us. And this doesn't have to be extreme. The slight remarks here and there, the pulling at the rolls of skin, the complaints about ageing skin, the comparing ourselves to others, the looking in the mirror too often. My case was extreme, but this doesn't mean this blog isn't for you.


I would like to add that without this period of my life, I wouldn't have chosen to do a nursing degree, and I wouldn't be curating this blog as we speak, painting women week to week, trying to promote positive body image and self talk for us all. I am therefore not going to discuss the details of my illness, but something so simple as a diet, was all it took, and I want to do everything in my power to reduce this happening to someone else.


Recovering from an eating disorder in this day and age is incredibly hard. Our culture fuels the normality of diet talk. And I, for one, am sick of it. We weren't born to dislike our bodies, to think parts of it were "wrong" or in need of change. These behaviours are learnt, it is where they develop that is the mind boggling part.


I would just like to note, that I am not a scientist. I purely speak from my own experience, and the experience of friends and family. I have however, read many books discussing this topic, some recommended at the end of this post.



Media


Media media media. Now, where do we start?


Models, actresses, singers, thinspo, fitspo, the list goes on. I cannot lie and say it's still as 'thin' fueled as it always used to be, because it isn't. But the 'ideal women' and 'perfect body' still exist in many women's worlds. If you have access to the internet, search for the 'perfect body throughout the decades'. This shows the differences in body ideals through the generation, we can never win! And guess what? we will never win. THERE IS NO PERFECT BODY. The curvy lady, small waist large hips, an ideal that is embedded in our culture through the likes of the Kardashians. Not only have these ladies spent millions on plastic surgery, but the family of influencers is regularly outed for egregious Photoshop fails. Beaty ideals tend to develop solely through the media. “The hashtags #thick, #thicc and #slimthick have 6.2 million, 3.4 million, and 1 million posts on Instagram respectively, and the hashtag #slimthicc has 134 million tags on TikTok,” in 2021. While a thin, Kate Moss-esque frame might have been ideal when I was a teenager, that trend is out and the Kim K’s of the world are in. It’s become routine to digitally alter photos, and spend huge amounts of money on altering our physiques. The prevalence of eating disorders and illnesses such as anxiety and depression are increasing year on year. We need to change the narrative.


I could go on and on, but I won't. Instead, here is a list of books I highly recommend to not only those struggling with body image, but everyone who stumbles across this site.


  1. Women don't owe you pretty.

  2. More Than A Body: Your Body Is an Instrument, Not an Ornament.

  3. La La La let me explain.

  4. The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love.

  5. Mothers, Daughters, and Body Image: Learning to Love Ourselves as We Are.

  6. Queer Body Power


What can I do right now?


When social media feeds are drowning in “slim-thick” body worship and the pressure to fit their curvy mould is bearing down, it could be beneficial to hit “unfollow,”.


Follow people and surround yourself with those that inspire you and make you feel your most confident self.


Our bodies are our homes, they're the things that keep us alive, that let us love, laugh, and live. Thank them for it, you don't have to love your bodies, just accept them. The rest will fall into place.


Social and genetics


More to come...

Thank you for reading, Alice x




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