I see what people are saying about how Rosie Whiteley’s exposed ribs make her look “disgusting.” But I can’t help but feel like you guys are way in the minority. She’s about to be cast as a mega-hot bombshell in a major action movie. And I think if most people saw her fully dressed, they wouldn’t talk about how she needed to eat something. They’d just talk about how great she looks. Here are some things people said to me when I was eating 600 calories a day:
You’re my thinspiration!
I’m so jealous of your body
Are you a model?
You have such great discipline
Look at your tiny little waist! I would kill for your waist.
No, seriously, which agency do you model for?
Your body is perfect
All clothing looks good on you
This is what people say to me now that I’ve worked to resume eating a normal diet:
You look healthy.
That’s great and all, but somehow it doesn’t feel as good as having a group of people gathered around you telling you how you have to become a model. Especially since it only comes from my close friends and family, and not casual acquaintances.
Intellectually, I know there are a lot of benefits to allowing myself to eat a normal diet again. I don’t faint anymore. I don’t sleep 12 hours a night. I don’t feel irritable and distracted all the time. But do I get as much validation as I did when I had an eating disorder? No. And while it might be nice to go out and eat a sandwich, it’s not as nice as having everyone tell you how great you look and what a good person you are to look that way. I really miss that.
I think maybe a way to make eating disorders less appealing isn’t to talk about how it’s disgusting and not sexy. Maybe the best way is to start talking about physical traits we admire in women that aren’t just thinness. If some woman in your class, or office has really muscular arms that you admire, maybe it would be nice to tell her. Or if someone styles her hair really prettily, maybe it would be good to tell her that. Just thinking about doing that with someone I don’t know feels really weird to me, but I got to a point where I absolutely expected compliments from near-total strangers when I weighed 95 pounds. And there are so many things that can be beautiful about women – things that have nothing to do with being super skinny.