coming clean: eating disorders and body dysmorphia|kendra shiloh

(I’ll be talking about eating disorders and other similar issues in this post, and if this may be a trigger for you, maybe check out a different, more light hearted post on my site instead).

Every few posts or so I talk about a personal aspect of my life on here. I usually talk about personal topics in my poetry, glossing over it with figurative language as to not reveal too much. Today, I wanted to talk to you all about my struggle with eating disorders and body dysmorphia.

I’m almost certain that my issues surrounding my body image began in my childhood, but maybe I’ll elaborate on that part of the story another time. (if one of you are struggling with something similar to the things I talk about in this post, feel free to message me to talk more. I’d love to!)

My last relapse began in November 2017. I stopped eating for a day every once in a while, and when I did eat it was minimal. I began tracking my calories; forcing myself to eat such a small number every day. I lacked energy and motivation to get out of bed most days, but I thought all of that was okay because eventually, I would look good. But the problem was that I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I’d never look “good enough”.  Every time I looked at myself I saw a worse version of me, and it began to eat me alive.

The change in my mindset happened gradually. I started eating two meals instead of one, and maybe a snack in between. I drank more water and started taking vitamins. I made small, but meaningful, changes to my attitude surrounding my body. This story doesn’t have a life-changing, amazing outcome to it. But I have learned a few things I wanna share with you all.

1. Counting calories won’t make you lose weight.

I’m not recommending a diet, but if that’s something that you choose to do, counting calories is not the way to go. Sticking to a strict number of calories won’t guarantee you any weight loss, and I had to learn that the hard way. I was eating tons of carbs, but I stayed under my calorie count so all was well (all was not well). I’d suggest balancing your diet a bit more. But that does NOT mean restricting yourself. Instead of eating chips, candy, and cookies, maybe eat one and save the rest for another day. If you’re craving sugar, eat a sweet fruit like a tangerine instead of a hershey’s bar. Compromise.

2. The number on the scale doesn’t mean you’re healthy or “in shape”

For this one, I suggest looking at Olympic athletes. A  female athlete can weigh 200 pounds and be extremely healthy, because she’s a shot putter and her weight is mainly muscle that allows her to excel in her sport. A teenage girl suffering from anorexia may weigh 100 pounds, but lack the proper nutrients to be healthy. When I was at my lowest weight last winter, I was extremely unhealthy. I wasn’t getting the proper amount of anything, and I lacked energy even when I got 10 hours of sleep. Weight does not measure your health, and surely does not measure your worth.

Eating disorders aren’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. But there are ways to get help. You don’t have to face any of it alone. If any of you are going through something similar and feel alone, feel free to reach out, no matter what time of day it is. I love you guys, and I’ll see you all in a few days with a new post.

-kendra shiloh


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