Trigger warning: Eating disorders!
Hi everybody. Throughout my life body positivity
has been a tremendous struggle for me and it took me a really long time to appreciate all that my healthy body does for me. I showed my body a lot of hate over the past years. It is because of this hate that I developed anorexia and bulimia which I lived with for multiple years on and off, sometimes even at the same time. I would lose 25 pounds then put back on 10 only to lose 15 and then gain 30. I was in a constant battle with myself and it took me a very long time to recognize it as a problem. Despite the fact that I was constantly light-headed, often fainting, and had little to no energy, I continued to push my body to the point where these two eating disorders became my life. A common miss conception about anorexia is that it means you don’t eat at all when in reality many anorexics are just forcing their bodies to survive on anywhere from 200 to 1200 calories a day, to put this into perspective 1200 calories is the daily nutritional requirements of a 2 year old. A bulimic is someone who binges and then purges, the act of purging can severely damage the stomach lining and esophagus, some of the effects are permanent. At the time in my life when I had both of these disorders, my days often consisted of me pushing myself to eat something like a handful of carrot sticks or half an apple and then I would enter this manic state in which my brain would not allow me to think rationally and I would attempt to purge out a half an apple which resulted in purging mostly stomach acid, this became a very common and painful occurrence in my life, not only was it mentally draining but it was causing me large amounts of physical pain. Stomach acid is made by our bodies to break down food and nutrients not to coat our esophagus daily.
I had to realize that there was never going to be a thin enough or a number low enough to please me and to stop blaming everything wrong with my life on that. Our bodies do so much for us. My body lets me dance, run and jump, my legs walk me to school, my arms carry my book bags and help me hug my family, my stomach holds all of the vital organs that keep me alive and without my beautiful body, I wouldn’t be able to do all the things that I love. My body deserved to be appreciated and I showed it so much hate. I am not a size zero and when I tried to be it nearly destroyed me.
I want to show girls that there truly is no single standard of beauty and that loving yourself is beautiful, being confident and appreciating our bodies is beautiful. You can be beautiful at a size 0 a size 4 or 8 or 12 or 25 or whatever your body was born to be and no one gets to decide that you’re not. It is very important that you understand the difference between healthy and skinny, you can be a healthy size 0 if that’s what your body is or a healthy size 8 etc, if you are fueling your body with nutrients and showing it the care that it deserves then nothing else matters. I’m not thin and that’s not going to change, my body is healthy, my body is loved and my body is happy and yours should be too. There is beauty beyond numbers, never forget that. Every body type is beautiful. Please if you are struggling with an eating disorder or are having negative thoughts about your body reach out to someone you trust, I am always a resource for all of you and will do everything in my power to help you. You deserve to love your body and you do not have to let a psychological disorder get in the way of that, there is help. I love you all so much.
best wishes, Jessica MacNiel