Nobody Struggles Alone

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Abigail Shearer

Oh my gorgeous! Four beautiful women express self love for their body.

By Abigail Shearer, Altoona Area Junior High School

Many teens and young adults struggle with body image issues. These issues can lead to bigger issues such as eating disorders. Plenty of young teens and adults struggle with an eating disorder, but no one wants to talk about it.

There are a variety of different types of eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. According to the healthline, here are some symptoms of these disorders:

  • An individual that could be very underweight and most likely counts their calories
  • Typically someone that consumes large amounts of food at a certain point in time and refuses to eat again, but if they do eat, they are very likely to “purge” or throw up
  • When someone eats a large amount of food in a short amount of time and feels a lack of control

I myself am struggling with an eating disorder, Bulimia, due to body shaming. The journey is difficult. For most people with an eating disorder including myself, to eat in front of others or admit that they are hungry becomes problematic. I have been struggling for a little over a year now, and things are starting to get a little better.

 I make sure I eat two meals a day, and if I purge, I eat again. I have dealt with body shaming for years: never feeling skinny or pretty enough. I always made up excuses for not eating, “I’m not hungry,” or “ I just ate.”  When someone questioned me on why I go to the bathroom after eating, I said, “Oh, I just had to wash my hands.” I struggled horribly. I never felt like there was anything that could be done, and I thought I was the only one going through this.

I learned that no one is alone. Many people struggle with body shaming and eating disorders; they just feel like they’re alone too and don’t know how to cope. Body shaming could be more than what most people think. It could be someone making fun of the way someone looks or comparing them to someone that they don’t look like. 

In addition, healthline said, “Eating disorders are mental health conditions that usually require treatment. They can also be damaging to the body if left untreated…They’re complex mental health conditions that often require the intervention of medical and psychological experts to alter their course.”  I was in a psychiatrics hospital and was given Pediasure® so I could still receive protein and nutrition I needed because I refused to eat.

To this day, I still struggle. Sometimes I count my calories and other times I’m just “not hungry,” but there are some good days. There are some days where I eat a full meal and not think about the calories or anything like that, however, other days I limit myself to a certain amount of calories, and if I go over I wont eat the next day. Sometimes I still struggle, but that’s okay. I’m getting better. 

Body shaming and eating disorders are something no one should have to deal with. Be confident! When someone’s body shaming or straight up being rude just walk away or block them. I know everyone wants to look like all the models we see on television or in magazines, but everyone’s beautiful or handsome just the way they are.

 

Do not change to fit into other people’s standards. Set your own! Spend time with what makes you happy and makes you feel good about yourself. If someone around you is being body shamed or struggling with an eating disorder, let them know they are not alone and tell a trusted adult so they can get the help!

This story was originally published on Livewire on May 11, 2021.