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Enough Is Enough: How Our 'Thinner Is Better' Culture Hurts People With Eating Disorders

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Do you spend hours on social media each day comparing your body to photoshopped images? 

Are you spending nights Googling “the best pills for weight loss” and then handing your hard earned money into the hands of the most greedy and deceiving diet industry? 

Are you searching the web for exercise routines that will “get rid of your gut in five simple steps”?

Maybe you’ve been looking into one of those all liquid diets that some celebrities tell you they do before a special event to “flatten their tummy.” 

Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. This seems to be what our society has somehow morphed into, and it is exactly what these companies promoting this ludicrously want. Unfortunately, these disordered behaviors are indications of low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction and at times signs of a severe eating disorder.

My hope for myself and everyone else in this world is that one day soon I can turn on my television, go online and log on to Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook and not see what I see on a regular basis. You know what I’m talking about, right?

The thigh gap pictures.

The juice cleanse diets promoting weight loss. The before and after pictures of a transformed body. 

The ads for pills that claim to help you shed body fat.

The television shows owned by Disney making jokes about bulimia and/or anorexia.

The men’s magazines telling men that women should be full figured, the women’s magazines telling women that men should be muscular and every magazine telling both genders to be thinner while they ignorantly and obnoxiously pick apart and compare ones body to another’s.

The eating disorder I live with every day is torture enough, and the society in which I am forced to live in hasn’t yet acknowledged what few of us have:

That these harmless acts promote harmful eating disorders

Well enough is enough.

I am mentally and physically so sick from all of this, that I am beyond tired and frustrated with all of it. It is all complete and total nonsense. How dare anyone else tell me and any other person for that matter what we “should” look like, while, simultaneously telling us that we “should” be different from one another. Well I say f*ck their shoulds and f*ck their desperate attempts to empty our wallets and steal our inner peace.

Now, I know this message cannot be directed towards everyone. And I have no intent to do that. I know that there are some people out there who are standing up to this clear cut injustice in our society. People like Melissa McCarthy, who invented her own clothing line for plus size women when she herself was unable to find the clothes she wanted that fit her body type. People such as Demi Lovato and Zayn Malik who openly speak out about their own struggles with eating disorders and  mental illness. Brands like Aerie and Dove who use un-photoshopped images and plus size models. People like the founders of incredible organizations such as The Mighty, the National Eating Disorder Association, Where I Stand, Project Heal and Healthy Is The New Skinny, just to name a few. But it can’t just be some people. We need everyone to stand up and say that we won’t let ourselves be subject to this anymore. 

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid I didn’t spend my days and nights dreaming of being “beautiful” and I definitely didn’t dream about having “the perfect body.” I dreamt of becoming a doctor who saved lives. I dreamt of becoming a writer and the next Lisa Leslie of women’s basketball. I wanted to be a comedian and spend my life making others laugh. I dreamt of far better things than what I’m now told to dream of as an adult. My newsfeed on these social media sites should be flooded with strong, powerful men and women making real differences in this world. 

I wish the people who contributed to this misconduct understood my eating disorder isn’t a phase or a diet and it isn’t a lifestyle I want, but rather a lifestyle I can’t seem to break free of. I wish these people would reflect back to a time when they were 8, or 12 or 25, and connected with the feelings that they felt looking at these “picture perfect” images shoved down their throats 24/7. I wish these people would open their eyes to the incredibly hideous epidemic swallowing all of us whole.

Of course, there are many other major factors that contribute to any complex eating disorder, and I do not mean to suggest or imply the images and messages thrown at us from our society are fully to blame. Eating disorders are about way more than appearance and wanting to fit into a specific pant size. There are many people who struggle or have recovered from eating disorders that will tell you body image plays no role in their eating disorder behaviors at all.

However, I do intend to make clear that our society can choose to have a more positive impact on not only the young and impressionable youth, but the self-conscious and apprehensive adults, as well. We shouldn’t have to continuously and constantly have drilled in us that our bodies aren’t good enough as they are.

Eating disorders aren’t glamorous! And it should no longer be normalized nor accepted as a social norm for anyone to treat their body, their mind and their soul with such little respect and downright hatred. This is a serious and life-threatening mental illness that has taken too many lives.

Enough of the Thinspiration and Pro-anorexia websites and social media accounts.

Enough of the marketing lines such as “what will you gain when you lose?” 

Enough of the cleansing and the detoxing.

Enough of the weight loss pills, supplements and shakes.

Enough of the propaganda. 

If we want our society to change, we need to be the change. 

Enough is enough.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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 Image via Thinkstock

Originally published: February 2, 2017
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