Are You Dealing With an Eating Disorder on Campus and Don’t Know What To Do?

 

Disclaimer: the following article talks at length about eating disorders. The article does not aim to give professional advice to anyone suffering from the same in any way.

 

Edited by Sanjana Hira

 

         When I first started writing about eating disorders, I wrote only for myself - a little time capsule to look back on and see how far I’ve come. However, I soon realised that the more I spoke about this ‘inconsequential’ topic to the people around me, the more the fascination with it grew. Everyone around us, in some way or another, was facing this complicated relationship with food (or so people told me, I haven't done a clinical study or anything). Some were over eating, some under eating, and some not eating at all. It doesn’t just stop there; people with an extreme and overwhelming fascination with food and the calorie mathematicians, as I like to call it, are a part of this spectrum.

           Now if you're reading this and thinking you fall under these types, you may just have a distorted relationship with food. Full emphasis on the word ‘may’ since I am not a dietitian, and nor am I a nutritionist. Just someone who has spent numerous years trying to understand why some people are so afraid of food and why some treat it like a drug - to pacify them or to release endorphins. But going back to my point, if you identify that you have a somewhat odd relationship with food, congratulations, you’ve just completed the first step to self awareness. Ignorance is not bliss in this case. Eating disorders in general are looked down upon; people do not think it is a serious issue. Why? Are the terrifying numbers of 112,00 people in the United States dying in a year because of obesity not enough? Or the 20% of people who are diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and die because of malnutrition. The general reaction people have when you speak of having an ED is disgust. They imagine you overstuffing your face in front of a television of putting your hand down your throat. They don't want to know about your eating habits, or your extreme ‘knowledge’ about how many calories a portion of rice has. They look at your body, how skinny or obese you are and decide if you're healthy or not. This makes for uneasiness over the topic of admitting if you have a disorder or not. Hence, people refuse to admit that EDs are real.

            I know you've heard this from at least one parent or even a teacher, but get off the internet. I admit to my YouTube recommendations being about food. No, not the good kind where a group of people from BuzzFeed go around New York or another first world city exploring and trying scrumptious food. I’m talking about the kind where someone is yelling at the camera telling you not to eat after 8 p.m. or telling you to cut the carbs because it’s not like your body needs energy, right?

          I didn't know the Earth would stop spinning because I ate a roti at my normal dinner time (it’s not like I’m eating a bat because in that case, the world would actually come to a halt). Speaking from personal experience, once you unfollow everyone and unsubscribe from any channel that is telling you things that do not correlate with science or that prevents you from enjoying the smaller things in life, unfollow them. Everyone deserves to not have to count the calories of their fancy mojito on a Saturday night out or the calories in that one bite of ladoo they were fed on Diwali.  

           Through this, I'm just trying to show that disordered eating is normal and you can overcome it. It just needs some acknowledgement and a lesson to take you back in time, back to your basics where food was just a part of your life, not your whole life. Stop treating food like it’s a disease and start appreciating the smaller things in life. No amount of telling people to ‘get over it’ or ‘learn to move past it’ is going to make a difference. You already know that. Everyone recovers differently. The avoidance of triggers is probably the safest bet. Avoid eating at places that make sure to display the calories on their menus and even the people that constantly make you think about the way you look. You don't need that toxicity in your life. Take everything I say with a pinch of salt since I AM NOT A NUTRITIONIST!  But meanwhile, eat that damn Subway sandwich!