My weight is not an indication of an eating disorder
Guest blogger Charlotte writes about how eating problems can look different for everyone - and weight is not an indication of an eating disorder.
Weight is not always an indication of an eating disorder.
I am overweight but does that mean that I can’t have an eating disorder? I’ve spent over a decade fighting my body and food. It’s not down to habits, it’s my mental health – which is what eating disorders are.
I was a thin child; I loved running and spending all my free time running around in the garden or pretending to be a ballerina. My parents only fed me good and healthy food, nothing processed and certainly no sweets – except on special occasions.
I moved to a new house in the summer that I turned seven. I think it took a hard hit on my mental health without me realising it because all my friends and family were now over a three-hour drive away. I had to start a whole new life in a new town and I was due to start a new school in a few months.
At the age of eight I had started to gain weight and, with that, breasts. I was the first person in my year to wear a bra. All the other girls had their white vests and I felt so exposed every time I had to change for a P.E lesson.
Before I knew it, I was a child wearing woman’s clothes - I didn’t even fit the teenage sizes. I didn’t think there was an issue with my weight, because why would there be? I was a child that had only recently been allowed junk food. But, I had become hooked on junk food and soon I was unable to stop eating.
This relationship with eating has spanned right up until now, my 22nd year on earth, when I am only just managing to beat it. I have felt such pain that food became my saviour and way of releasing it. Understandably, this means I have been overweight most of my life. On a number of occasions in my teen years I lost a lot of weight but it was short-lived. I flittered between over-exercising and not eating, to eating a week’s grocery shop in one sitting.
Many people will look at me and assume that maybe I am lazy, maybe I should just stop eating and lose some weight. Honestly, I want nothing more than to be a healthy weight and it’s a path I am currently succeeding on, but it’s taken a lot of work. I just wish people would stop assuming only those who are underweight have an eating disorder.
However, there is hope. I am learning to lose weight healthily, and how to enjoy my food in a way that will allow me to feel better in myself and hopefully live a longer life.
Where to get help
If you think you are affected by an eating disorder talk to someone you trust. It’s often hard to accept that you might have an eating problem but young people who have suffered from one always say that beginning to talk is the start of their road to recovery.
Understanding that you are not alone is really important and there are a lot of groups around the UK where you can go to talk with young people who have shared the same experience as you. This can really help you begin your recovery.
For more information and advice on where to get help, have a look at our page on eating problems.