Monday, March 31, 2008

Age 18

Everyday. Everyday I love food. Everyday I hate food…or rather, how the food makes me feel after I eat. I am tormented and wish I could free myself from this pain. My anguish is unrelenting. When I look in the mirror, what do I see? Someone with little self-control. Someone unworthy of love. Someone who wants to cry out for help, but is too afraid…

Friday, March 28, 2008

Age 24

This is not my body. This can't be it, this soft, round, jiggly blob. No, my real body is hidden under all these layers of fat, and my job is to remove the fat so I can be who I really am. So I can be a happy, confident, successful person who is loved and desired and appreciated and respected.

When I look in the mirror, that is what I think: No, please, this can't be it! I have struggled with bulimia for 8 years. My weight is normal and healthy, but it is too much. There's too much excess, too much softness and flab. I hate my eating disorder; I hate how I have allowed it to take so much from me - my health, my teeth, my time and money, my friends - but I feel that if I were to recover now, I would have failed. I never got skinny. I never achieved the goal. Recovery would mean giving up, and I can't let that happen. So I have to keep going, keep throwing up, keep dieting, keep doing all the things that make me sick and depressed, until I am thin enough that I am allowed to stop.

I know that I will never be thin enough. But I have to try.

Age 36

When I look in my mirror, I have learned to categorize my body parts.

Eyes (Mutable, From Green To Blue)
Pert Nose
Slim, Strong Shoulders
Musical Hands
Wonderful Smile
Delicate Wrists

Double Chin
Apron Stomach
Fat Thighs
Chunky Calves
Wobbly Upper Arms
Fat Ankles
Big Butt (aka "Fat Ass")

I just want it to stop.

I am infertile because I am fat. I have starved, hit, bruised, cursed and mutilated my soul's cage for so long that I don't know how to stop it. I punish the flesh with the words in my mind on a near-constant basis. I don't know how to stop it.

I just want it to stop.

My husband of 10 years married me when I was fat. He loves me, but I still don't understand why that is the case. I know it hurts him so much when I humiliate my body verbally; when the abuse becomes physical he throws himself full force into the fray, stopping my scratching and marking, braving the snarling beast I become.


My parents, family and friends don't know the effect their words and actions have on me. They don't understand that who I have become is a result of their words of "concern." They can't figure out that when they comment on my food choices or my lifestyle choices, the pressure is unbelievable.


Age 24

I had always thought of myself as the fat friend, the fat daughter, just plain old fat for the longest time. The other day, I found an old picture of myself, maybe 7 or 8 years old. I looked at it and the first words out of my mouth were "I was thin?!" Me? Thin? This was an alien concept, something that couldn't be. Surely, I was thinner at that time (roughly 16 yrs old) than I am now, but since then I've had a child and kept a few pounds. I'm also not as active as I was. Thanks to my pregnancy though, my breasts are larger and I've got an amazingly curvy waist. I wouldn’t trade my son for size 2 jeans any day.

I've come to accept my body for what it is and how it looks, mommy pouch, uneven boobs and all. Our bodies grow and change over the course of our lives. They're beautiful and strong and capable of so much and deserve our love and reverence. It's not always easy and some days it's downright hard when everything in the media is screaming at you to change, to lose weight, telling you that you as you are right now is not good enough. Good enough for who? It's even harder when the people telling you to change are your family and friends, people who love you and only want what’s best for you.

Love yourself. You deserve it. Everyone else will fall in line.

Age 24

I'm 5 foot 9 inches tall. I have no idea how much I weigh because I'm too afraid to get on a scale. My measurements are 32-25-32. When I walk down the street, I regularly have strangers (men and women) stop me to tell me that I'm beautiful. I've modeled. I wear a size 0.
Every day, I look in the mirror and see something so hideous I can hardly believe that I am human. I look down at my body and want to rip all of the excess away because I do not deserve to take up this much space. I look at myself and I can't find anything to like.

I'm terrified that I will lose my boyfriend over this because he likes my "curves" and I can't stand to hear him say that because all I hear is "fatdisgustingexcessivewasteofspacefatworthlesshorriblerepulsivefatfatfatfatfatfatfat."

I have felt like this since I was six years old. I have starved for weeks at a time. I've purged glasses of water because I can't bear having anything inside me. I've worked out for hours on no food or sleep. I've never sought treatment because my weight has never qualified for a diagnosis of anorexia and I'm convinced that no one would take me seriously without it.

I want to believe that I will be able to stop feeling like this one day, that I will look in the mirror and see what other people see. I honestly do. But, I don't remember ever feeling any other way and that makes it nearly impossible to hope anymore.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Age 19

I was never really told I was beautiful or even attractive until I said I was ugly. To tell the truth, once a person says they’re ugly, it’s too late. That statement means that they’ve had enough time to think about it and have finally given in. Sometimes that’s how I feel. Sometimes I just kick my ass. I drag myself through the dirt worst than anyone can. I try to recover. The best I can do is give myself a nice little pat on the back. I’ve come along way from where I used to be with my body, but I get the feeling that the struggle will never truly be over. Even if I was to lose the additional weight, well now my skin is not perfect, my hair, my nose, my breast, my butt, my legs...something is always wrong. I’m always one step away from perfection.

I hope to have children one day. I promise that I will do my best to encourage high self worth and esteem. I feel that if you don’t get it when you are young, if your self worth was destroyed when you were growing up, you will spend the rest of your life in the Battle on the Body. It’s a never-ending war. Sometimes I have peace talks with my self-esteem. I say, “Hey, I’m not ugly and my looks don’t determine who I am.” And my self-esteem agrees and for awhile all is quiet on the home front.

Then it comes back.

It’s as easy as a quick glimpse in the mirror. Sometimes it’s as rough as a trip to the mall. In these moments the War is back on, being waged on all fronts. Sometimes others try to negotiate peace talks. They tell you stuff like, “you’re not fat,” “you aren’t ugly,” but it’s futile.

The only person who can even get anywhere near winning the War on Self is self.

I wonder if anyone has ever won.

Age 20

I was a tiny, yet muscular and strong tennis player until I developed an eating disorder my junior year. I dropped below 90 pounds. By the time I went to college, I had mostly recovered. Now I run and workout a lot, but it never seems enough. I'm almost as strong as when I played tennis again, but now I worry that my arms and legs are to muscular, I don't look "tiny." I shouldn't feel that way. I should be proud of my hard earned muscles, of my strength. I'm not a size 0 but I can run mile after mile without getting tired and do push ups. Those are the things I should be proud of. But a little voice in my head believes men don't like it when you have muscles. It's absurd that I should base the value of my body on what men will like. I am trying to learn that the only person that matters in loving my body is me - but I, like many other women, struggle every day with this.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Age 19

I wish I could just LET IT GO.

The numbers, the calories, the weight, the all consuming time I spend thinking about it. After a 6 month stint in hospital two years ago I consider myself a recovering anorexic. I'm now able to maintain a decent enough weight to have a life of some-sort. But still, it’s always there. The numbers, the food, the calories, the binging, the purging, the starving. Granted not so much, but any amount is too much. I want it gone properly. I want to be able to let go completely. To just NOT CARE. But I can't. I'm too vain. Too self obsessed. Too proud.

And much, much too scared.

Without all this I've got no barrier. No option to dip out of real life.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Age 20

I have hated my body from the time I realized that was a possibility. I remember always being overweight, although it didn't show on my body. I was always 5 lbs away from a 'normal' BMI, 5 lbs away from being able to love myself, from being able to feel beautiful. Those five pounds led to crash diets, an abusive relationship, an eating disorder, stealing diet pills from stores when no one was looking because I was too ashamed to buy them and let someone see my desperation. There is a movement to celebrate 'curvy' women, telling us that that hourglass figure is the ideal, but at 5'6", 152 lbs, I measure in at 38-27-38 and clothes aren't made for me. I love shopping, but with such a small waist, things hang on me, making me look larger than ever. This is the first time I have been within a normal weight range, and I feel huge. I have always had guys like me, or love my body, and I hear compliments daily, but it doesn't mean anything to me, and no one understands that. I can't appreciate what they see until I see something worthwhile, until I can accept that maybe, being a size 8 is okay. I need to see for myself that being a size 8 is okay even if my entire family is smaller, and it doesn't need to translate to being undeserving of happiness, or love or respect.

Age 17

I have all the characteristics of a model. I am tall, I have excellent bone structure, almond shaped eyes, long legs and great hair. There is only one problem. I am fat. My body mass index puts me at 33.7. I've always been one of those people who "would be so pretty if you only lost weight." So everyday when I look in the mirror, I don't see any of my positive attributes because I'm so focused on how much I weigh. I'm constantly thinking about how everything in my life would be so perfect if only I were thin.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Age 24

Half of the time I feel like there's nothing wrong with the way I look, that it shouldn't matter how overweight I am, as long as I can still keep up. The rest of the time I feel disgusting and looked down upon. As if, to even some of my friends, I matter less because they find me less attractive. I try to focus on the good things: my boyfriend that finds me irresistibly attractive, the friends that hold me in the highest regard. Sometimes that just isn't enough, though...when your ass doesn't fit a seat, when you struggle to find clothing made for someone with a sense of fashion that fits, when you feel guilty for telling anyone that you're hungry, even if you haven't had anything to eat all day, because you're afraid they'll equate it to being fat and always hungry. It doesn't matter how many times I'm told that I look fine, or they don't think of me as "fat," or I'm beautiful...deep down, I usually never feel that way.

I hope that going to a weight management support group, a nutritionist, and starting some sort of workout routine, or at the least leading a more active lifestyle, will help me feel differently. I don't think I'm ugly, at least not my face, but my body makes me forget, society makes me forget, that I'm just fine.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Age 36

I never had a body image problem growing up. I was a runner and a year-round soccer player. My mother cooked balanced, healthy meals that included a salad, vegetable, meat and a starch. I drank (and still do) skim milk and water. I don't like soda much at all. Never did. I do like the occasional alcoholic beverage. I do like some sweets now and again. The point is, is that I was a healthy teenager and 20-something, which has carried on into my adult life.

When I reached my mid-30's, I gained 30 pounds within a year. I've always been an athlete and worked out at the gym 6 days per week, until I met and married my husband. Circumstances were such that I stopped going to the gym and began working 10-12 hour days. My eating habits changed to match that of my now husband, but they still weren't terrible. However, without the workouts, I gained and gained until I hit 30 pounds extra. Then, I hit depression and self-hatred. I almost didn't fit into my wedding dress. Can you imagine the horror I felt when trying to squeeze into it? I kept my veil on the entire night to hide my bulging back and thick arms. THIS is what I remember from my wedding...

Three years later, I am still struggling to lose the 30 pounds I've gained; it's beginning to creep up to 40 pounds extra now. I work out at the gym 5-6 times per week and do watch what I eat. I started running last fall for another 1/2 marathon, but once I reached 8 miles I began to have knee problems and had to drop out of training (I blame this on my extra weight). Which, by the way, I never lost a single pound in all my running and I was weightlifting and bicycling as well. I was and still am under the care of a physician and a personal trainer (I have had one for 3 years now).

I'm obsessed with losing this extra weight. It consumes me and I don't want it to. I know it's very petty of me. I think it's even more strange that I never cared about weight until now, but in thinking it over it's most likely due to the fact that I'd never before had a problem. Why can't I just be happy with the way that I am? My physician husband thinks I just have this in my gene pool (my maternal grandfather was obese and died of a heart attack; my maternal aunt is obese; my mother is obese, even though she has lost substantial weight with working out over the last few years; and my younger sister was "mildly" obese as the doctor told her. She has since lost around 60 pounds through diet and working out. She looks fantastic even though she feels she has more to lose). There could be truth in what my husband says, but I don't want to place blame. I just feel the need to lose the extra weight. I want to fit into normal sized clothes and feel good about myself once more. My husband tells me I'm beautiful and I believe him, but only until I look into a mirror. He loves me, I know this. I am 5' 9" weigh 186 pounds and wear a size 14. I want to feel happy with these statistics. With who I am. Who I've become.
I am not.

I hate my body. I don't want to do so for the rest of my life. I am destroying what little I have left of my own inner spirit.

Age 23

I'm short and stumpy - those are the two words that I think of when I look in the mirror. I'm 105lbs, most people say I'm not fat at all...but it doesn't change the fact that when I look in the mirror I see all the things that could do with improving. The flabby arms, disgusting stomach, the flubberry butt. I don't know what to do. I've tried so hard through other achievements to forget about it - I have a degree, I can teach piano, I love drawing, reading, writing, I used to swim to national level. I go to charity stores to do my shopping, I love cooking and I have a wonderful husband - but there are times when NOTHING feels so good as when someone comments on how skinny I am, or how thin I've become, or when that cursed weighing machine informs me that I've lost 0.5lbs. I just WANT to be thin. Every time I see a magazine cover, or a candid photograph or even some of my best friends, I feel incredible jealousy. How can that be right? I wish someone could help me.

Age 21

Age 46

Number of minutes of every hour I spend hating myself for how much I weigh: 40. Those 40 minutes are spent thinking of what I would wear if I were "skinny"; if what I am wearing makes me look fat; if I am as fat as that girl; or that one; or that one; if I can manage to not eat; what I ate; when I will "behave" and not eat (Monday); why can't I eat and look like that girl; what is wrong with me; why am I so weak...

Over the years, that is a lot of time devoted to...futility.

Age 23

I've always been the fat kid. Growing up, I never had a boyfriend. I still have never had a boyfriend. I was constantly made fun of. I can still remember sitting on the gym floor, watching every other kid get picked in PE. But I was always one wanted me. I was never told I was beautiful, not even by my parents. I never go shopping with friends. No one else shops at the plus-size stores like me. When I walk into "normal people stores," I can feel the stares, wondering why I even walked in. I'm used to the stares, the jeers, the feeling I'm a freak. Little kids stare, their parents do nothing about it. When will I stop feeling like a freak? When will I feel beautiful? When I lose weight? When I die and am no more? When will people see the real me, the me that is just wanting to bust out in all it's wonderful glory?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Age 17

My mom is and was always very beautiful. She modeled and had men falling over themselves for her. When she had me...she had no clue what to do. I was the opposite. Physically, I am not pretty or attractive. I'm on the cusp between "normal" sizes and "plus sizes," a size 12. I hate my physical appearance, when I look in the mirror I see a monster. Sometimes when I am talking to someone and I can tell that they are closely looking at my face I will look away or down because I'm afraid that if they look too close then they will see that I am even uglier up close. In some ways, being ugly has helped me to have to cultivate a personality and a good sense of humor. In other ways, it has destroyed my spirit. I have been, and still am, trying to reconcile myself to the simple fact that though I am not physically beautiful, my spirit and personality can shine through and possibly soften the rough edges of my outward appearance.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Age 31

Growing up, I was made to hate myself for being fat because everyone else hated me for being fat. It was the absolute worst thing that anyone could be. It lead to depression and several suicide attempts. I tried to kill myself because I'm fat. Three years ago I started reading fat-positive blogs and websites that taught me that I am not ugly or a bad person or disliked by everyone. Last summer I met a man who praised me for being fat, who loves large women and tells me all the time that I'm beautiful, and he actually means it. After 31 years, I finally feel beautiful. I walk with my head held high, full of confidence. I'm no longer afraid to call myself fat instead of using some kinder euphemism like curvy or plus-sized. Being a size 28 is just something I am, along with a woman, college graduate, nerd, redhead.

Being fat is not the worst thing that could happen to you. Hating yourself because of how you look is.

Age 23

I wish there were someone I could ask, who I trusted to give me an honest answer, whether I look "normal" or "fat." I know better than to truly trust myself on that subject - after several years of struggling with disordered eating, I've finally reached the point where my eating patterns are mostly healthy and my weight is stable (at a place my body seems to like). But I look in the mirror and see myself as no smaller than I was 30 pounds ago. That can't be right. But there are few people I'd even want to tell that much about my body image issues to, and anyone who I would tell, I would also expect to say "normal" even if they don't mean it, just to make me feel better. Even if my current size is considered "fat," I wouldn't try to change it right now. If the point where my body and mind are healthy is "fat," so be it. But when someone talks about fat people, am I one of the people they're talking about? I'd just like to know.

Age 17

Five years and counting. I have struggled through eating disorders, anxiety, cutting, fear, depression. I have been better for the past year or two to where I can function normally. The thing that scares me now is the fact that I still have to struggle with these things for the rest of my life. I just want it to go away...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Age 48

I am a plus size woman who lives in Brooklyn. I am 48 years old and don't believe a woman has to be a size 2 to be beautiful. I am a size 18 and proud of who I am. Strong and confident.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Age 17

I came across this website and was really moved by the words of the 18 year old ED-NOS girl. Those words could have been written by me. Our stories seem very similar. I struggle daily and look at food as my enemy. I worry about my weight constantly. But I suffer in silence because I don’t think others will understand. My case is not “severe” so I never looked to get help. Reading her words shows me I am not alone and I don’t need to fear seeking help. Thank you for sharing.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Age 30

I stumbled upon this website and starting reading some of the thoughtful submissions, and was compelled to add my insight. I am a highly educated 30 year old doctor who has been in a constant battle to accept my body for over 12 years. My accomplishments are plenty, but at night I torture myself about the superficial external qualities others see. Let me add that I am 5'4" and 105 lbs - obviously distorted thinking on my part. The first time I recognized my distorted thinking is when I witnessed my younger sister (19 yrs young in college) battling the same demons. I could not understand how such an athletic, beautiful, smart person could even fathom being outside the normal perception of beauty. It touched me more than any insult could have every struck me, and I realized that this distorted thinking can reek havoc on the best people around. I ask anyone at this site (who is probably battling like issues) to attempt to step back and look at the bigger picture, and try to understand that life is too short to hold yourself to standards that are not healthy. I guarantee you that once you hit your unrealistic goal, you will not be happy and only up the anti. Your body deserves better, as do the future offspring you hope to produce.

Enough said - please take care of yourselves, as your body deserves it.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Age 43 (7 At Heart!)

When I look in the mirror, what do I see? An essence of pure love and light that is created of me. I seek to find the contours of my face, then the vibrancy and energy adorns me in lace. I notice the outlines, a bit fragmented at times, and realize that age has defined more than lines. My beauty is deep and flows from my heart. In laughter and crying my eyes never dart. From the radiance that shines inside of me. The glow, I realize, not only I can see. The power of love that has held me so dear. The love that has cradled me close through the years. The years that were hard to watch as my sister withered and died. Afraid to eat. Afraid to shine. She hid in her binges and purged all the time. Out of her came a peaceful, kind, sweet dove. Her memory I hold dear in my heart. Our friendship we shared will never part. I close my eyes and realize inside. Is the place that we live and can never hide. That place is pure love. Pure creation and joy. Born in this world for each boy and girl. We each hold the key to realize our truth. We each are beautiful in creation even through our youth. Learn to love who we are and grow strong inside. Learn to accept the little things that we may mind. Learn to see what others may miss. True love is the way to undying bliss.

We are all born perfect. In our perfection we must learn to honor our SELVES and accept that those who attempt to harm our selves are not worthy of our time or love. Love is the answer to a life long acceptance of oneself. Please, take time to learn to love.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Age 18

I've struggled with an eating disorder for three years now, but as an ED-NOS girl, I refuse to seek help because I feel that my eating disorder isn't as important as others and I will be seen as an attention-seeking person. I feel like, because I have a normal BMI, I do not have a serious affliction. I'd give anything to not care about my weight anymore.