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.
I am overweight but does that mean that I can’t have an eating disorder?
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.
I didn’t think there was an issue with my weight, because why would there be?
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.