Skinny Doesn’t Have To Mean Sick

I alluded to this post in this week’s Marvelous In My Monday. Now, I don’t like the word “skinny” because I think it’s too often used as a stupid label. So I hope this post’s title doesn’t turn anyone off. But it was the first one that came to mind and I couldn’t think of a better alternative. And despite my aversion for the word “skinny”, I have to be honest…it’s what I want to be. The desire to be skinny, stay skinny, get skinny, is in my head for a good chunk of each day. A much larger chunk than I’d like. But since I’m still in recovery, I guess that’s what I have to deal with. I just hope there’s an end point to that.

I had a really good conversation with my therapist on Friday, during which she brought up an excellent point. I was telling her about last Wednesday night and how I got really full at dinner and almost had to make sure that I felt guilty about it afterwards. Why? So that I wouldn’t “be bad” again. I went through the exact same thing after my trip to Boston (and the restaurant hopping it included) over the weekend. There were actually a few moments on Sunday when I felt like I could easily push the ED thoughts aside and just move on with my day, but as soon as that notion entered my mind I felt a panic. How could I allow myself to feel the self love that I’d need to feel to push the thoughts aside and recognize that I deserve to enjoy life? In my mind that would only mean one thing…weight gain.

My therapist noted that in my head, I associate my eating disorder – being sick – with being skinny. If I am recovered, I will not be skinny. And I want to be skinny. So I can’t let myself recover. That is the dangerous trick my mind is playing on me.

Rationally this association doesn’t make sense. At the most I’ve ever weighed, I was not overweight. I was what you might call “skinny fat”. Did I like my body? No, not at all. But I also never worked out and ate like crap. At this point in my life I truly love my daily salad lunches. I adore ordering seafood when I go out to eat instead of my old go-to…the burger. When I drink I prefer wine or less sweet drinks, whereas I used to douse my vodka with sugar-laden orange juice. So does it make sense to assume I’ll go back to that weight? Not really. But do I think I will if I recover completely? Yes, I do.

This is probably my highest weight – summer 2010.

I don’t have to be sick to be “skinny”, slim, at a healthy weight, fit, whatever word you want to use. I don’t have to be “the girl with an eating disorder” to avoid being overweight. I don’t have to have an ED to like myself. In fact, I didn’t like myself even at my lowest weight. Maybe hating myself because I’m too skinny is preferable in my mind to hating myself because I don’t like my body and thinking it isn’t perfect enough. But why does hating myself, whatever the reason, have to be my fate? Why can’t I allow myself to choose self love?

I need to break this association. I also need to stop worrying so much about how my body looks in the first place. I know plenty of people who look great without worrying too much about it. That’s because they’re focused on other more important things. They recognize how fortunate they are and know what really matters in life. They realize that the only person seeing them naked (well, for the single ladies like me anyway) is themselves, so why do I care so much about how I look without clothes on? Bikini models look the way they do because it’s their JOB to look that way. And I can’t make the assumption that they are happy because they look that way, or living a full life. What someone looks like doesn’t define his or her happiness. It certainly has not defined mine in the last several years. I have to make my own happiness.

Have you ever found yourself associating your appearance with how happy you are?

Have you ever found yourself to be the one holding yourself back from reaching a goal?

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