My Greatest Enemy

My eating disorder is my greatest enemy.

It tells me that my stomach isn’t flat enough.

It tells me that my arms aren’t slim enough.

It tells me that thighs shouldn’t rub together.

It tells me that if I were skinner, I’d be happier.

It tells me that my jeans feel tight not because I just washed them but because I have gained weight.

It tells me that taking a day off from exercise means that I’m a failure.

It tells me that ignoring my hunger is an accomplishment.

It tells me that people who haven’t seen me in a long time will be constantly evaluating whether my body has changed.

It tells me to feel ashamed if I eat more than someone I’m with.

It tells me that I’m the perfect candidate for liposuction.

It tells me that I need to obsessively check what I look like in the mirror in order to feel safe.

It tells me that if I just took a few laxatives, all my problems would go away.

It tells me that I should track my calories every day.

It tells me that listening to my body isn’t safe.

It tells me that it’s not just bloating; it’s weight gain.

It tells me that I was happier when I was in total control of my body. It tells me that I was in control when I know I wasn’t.

It tells me that I can’t wear a swimming suit unless I’ve starved myself that day.

It tells me that if I choose fries over vegetables at dinner, I’m letting myself go.

It tells me that being over a certain weight is unbearable.

It tells me that I must be the skinniest of all my friends.

It tells me that I can only have dessert if I’ve restricted during the day.

It tells me that allowing myself to enjoy food is a recipe for weight gain.

It tells me that if I don’t choose the lowest calorie option on the menu, I lack self-control.

It tells me to never post pictures of myself on Facebook where I look fat. It tells me that if I did, people would think, “Wow, she really let herself go.”

It tells me that how I fit in my clothes and the way my waist looks in the mirror dictates what and how much I can eat that day.

It tells me that cellulite is something I have control over.

It tells me that fitting into smaller clothing sizes is a cause for celebration.

It tells me that if only I had a flatter stomach, slimmer arms, thighs that didn’t rub together, if I were skinnier, if my jeans never felt tight, if I never took a day off from exercise, if I ignore my hunger, if I diet before seeing people who I haven’t seen in a long time, if I eat less than those I’m with, if I get liposuction, if I check in with the mirror, if I take laxatives, if I track my calories, if I never listen to or give up “control” over my body, if I starve myself before putting on a swimming suit, if I always choose vegetables over French fries, if my weight never changes, if I’m skinnier than all my friends, if I never eat dessert unless it fits within my calorie allotment, if I never let myself enjoy food, if I always choose the lowest calorie options on the menu, if I only post pictures where I look skinny on Facebook, if I always fit into the smallest clothing sizes, if I got rid of my cellulite – if I did all this, I’d be okay. I’d be enough.

But the truth is that I’ll never be okay. I’ll never be enough. Not when my eating disorder is in the picture. Not when it’s there telling me that what I see in the mirror isn’t good enough, telling me that when I was anorexic, I was in control when I know I wasn’t. Nothing my eating disorder tells me is true. But its voice is always there.

I REbeL against my eating disorder, my greatest enemy.

by Jessica L. Betts, MS, RD, LD

REbeL Program Director