Recently I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my idea of self worth. For some reason, I used to spend a lot of time thinking that I didn’t deserve to eat, that I didn’t deserve to nourish my body. If I felt full I was a disgrace but if I was hungry, I had succeeded. I deserved to go for hours on end without food only to then push myself too hard in the gym or run for miles on end. And why did I think this? What had I done to put myself through this kind of pain? Those are questions I could never really answer. In the moment though, my eating disorder made it feel as though I deserved the hunger pains and the weakness that came along with the starvation.
These thoughts have been resurfacing and again I am left wondering why I do this to myself. The truth is, I really do deserve to eat. Not just when I have an upcoming weigh in and not just when I have starved myself all day; I deserve to eat when I’m hungry. I deserve to follow my meal plan and gain back my strength.
To many, this may seem likes such as obvious statement: eat when you are hungry. It makes sense to the average person – put energy in so you can get energy out. With an eating disorder, that simplicity is distorted and complicated. It tells you that you only deserve to eat when you are on the brink of fainting or you’ve pushed through the entire day without anything. Rather than think about food as medicine or energy, it tells me that food is evil, that it is my enemy, that it will do nothing but make me devalue myself.
I haven’t been feeling much like writing recently because I wanted my posts to be only written with positivity and encouragement. However, I realized that encouragement comes in so many forms, and an aspect of that is recognizing where and when you are struggling and then coming to terms with that struggle. I am accepting the fact that it has been hard for me recently, as this is the only way I will be able to push through the harder times and get closer to recovery.
When I begin to devalue myself and feel as though my eating disorder is taking charge, I like to look at a small picture I have buried within my wallet. The image is about 15 years old and I am a toddler, smiling in that carefree and happy way that only little children can muster. My curly hair is tangled in a knot on my head – no doubt to keep it out of my eyes as I played endlessly in the backyard. I then ask myself, “does this little girl deserve to eat?” The answer is instantly yes – of course she does.
I have done absolutely nothing to deserve starvation, and neither have you. That is the honest truth. Your eating disorder will tell you so many lies, and at times it may seem like the loudest thing in the world. If you feel like you’re not worthy, think back to yourself as a little girl or boy. Ask yourself this same question: “Does this child deserve to eat?” I promise you, the answer is a resounding yes.