Today was not different to any other. I logged into my Instagram account and started to flick through the drunken pictures, photos of food and celebrity ads. I won’t lie – I am a sucker for those things. The gummies that make your hair stronger? Fantastic! New clothes line? Get twenty percent off! I love being able to look at what people are doing; I think it’s a great thing, if you like having your entire life exposed to everyone. Anyhow, I came across an ad that made my stomach churn.
Celebrities post adverts for different a range products, and a few of them make me really uncomfortable. Now, there’s no harm in being healthy; by all means, post videos of you in the gym, or eating a nice hearty salad. That being said, some of these celebrities are obsessed. We are looking at wafer thin girls sporting skimpy bras and tight leggings on a daily basis, and we are therefore believing that this is normal! Girls, I can assure you – this is not normal. Spending four hours at the gym is not normal, and having to count every calorie is not normal.
The posts that really get to me are the posts about ‘flat tummy teas’, or detox teas. Celebrities post that they need to ‘beat the bloat’, because they may have eaten a little excess that weekend, or had one too many pina coladas. They pose in a sports bra and leggings, their flat tummies taught and smooth, and smile. No damage caused.
What they don’t know is that I am suffering from bloat. Not because I had an extra serving of my sunday roast, or felt that my jeans were a little bit tight. I’m talking three months pregnant bloat. This bloat is from my eating disorder.
One of my biggest fears during the weight restoration process was that I would wake up and be massive; that I would balloon out of control. My worst nightmare came true as my body started to recover. At first I thought I was crazy, and that my eating disorder thoughts had somehow come back. However, after some of my high-waisted jeans wouldn’t fit over my bloated stomach, I started to research. I realised that when you have an eating disorder, your body has been in a state of starvation, and has been feeding off of it’s own muscles and organs; your body is literally deteriorating to keep you alive. This is why girls can die from an eating disorder; because your heart is a muscle too, and it shuts down. 1 in 10 people die from eating disorders. It’s nothing to joke about.
Since I had been keeping my body in a period of starvation, it was holding on to any nutrients that it could to stay alive. As an act of self-preservation, my body was insulating my vital organs, meaning that my weight was being stored around my midsection. In order to ‘beat the bloat’, you have to carry on eating.
This is a struggle for a lot of girls in recovery; it tests you to your limit, and ensures that you are both mentally and physically strong before your body fills out. I am still in the bloating stage. I am embarrassed to wear half of my clothes. I know it will end, and I am persevering.
However, when I see celebrities ‘beating the bloat’, it maddens me. They are using products, mostly laxative based, in order to make their tummies that much flatter. The insensitivity is worse than the product itself!
I urge you to be sensitive to girls who are going through this. Don’t walk on eggshells, but don’t be brash. Think about what you say before you say it. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m that much more vulnerable with my body shape at the moment, but behind the bloat, I know that I’m still beautiful.
We cannot change the insensitive way in which these celebs think, but we can change the way in which we think, and how we deal with the recovery of eating disorders.
Fight back; together, our strength will light up the darkness that can come with any hardship. Look to G-d, for He will protect and guide you, look to your friends, family, loved ones; they will be your rocks in your life. I am thankful to each and every true friend of mine who stood by me in my darkness, and who have seen me to the light.