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For when something good feels like its poisoning you

In this video, Dan and Casey talk to a Support Wall user who struggles with anorexia. Listen here:

First Questions:

  1. Is there something in your life that you know is good for you, but for some reason it repulses you? Something like food, or sunlight, or exercise?

Dan begins the video by letting the user that they’re not alone in their struggles, but that there is a more healthy way to go. The user writes the post asking for help in hiding their anorexia from their mother, but Casey is quick to point out that hiding the urge to shun food and not eat is the struggle here. Judgment and condemnation from others is harmful, but that aside, the practices of not eating to look or feel better are harmful.

The user uses the formula “If only I do ___, then I’ll feel better.” They use the name “Anna” to talk about their struggle as a friend, and claims that “Anna” can always help them out. And, they would like help in the area of “Looking and feeling better so I that I can be happy.”

The problem lies in the statement above. Looking better or losing weight doesn’t bring happiness, no matter how our culture continually cements this thinking into young people. If we’re wrapped around the axel thinking that losing weight will bring us joy, then anorexia might seem like a good idea. “If I can only do ____, then I’ll be happy” is another way to put it. To obtain that happiness, you’ll do anything, even if it means disregarding things that are good for you, like food or a healthy relationship.

Deeper Questions:

  1. What do you sacrifice to obtain “happiness”? A good night’s sleep, or friendships?
  2. Did it work?
  3. Your answer to #2 may be “Yea!” But, think into the future. Is your habit sustainable? Will it bring you lasting joy and satisfaction.
  4. If it doesn’t, identify those times when you run to a cheaper version of happiness, and what triggers it. Replace the lie with a truth - if you think that food is bad, because shunning food will bring you joy - write down the phrase “Conforming to society’s image of what a person should look like will not bring me joy.” It will take time, but in this way, you can take the focus off what is good (good food) and put it back on the thing that needs to be worked on (your habit).

For me, I’ve definitely struggled with body weight issues. My time struggling here is as simple as believing a very popular lie that all of us fall prey to from time to time.

The lie is very simple: to be loved, valued, or have worth, you gotta look a certain way. No ifs, and, or buts about it. You don’t have to be jacked, but you’d better be lean. You don’t have to be lean, but then you’ll need to have some muscle. Maybe it’s not about your body, but then you’re going to have to dress a certain way. “Look like this, get happiness.” That’s it. And it would seem so kindergarten if most of the country didn’t A) Follow that advice or B) Feel guilty for not following it

I’ve ballooned and shrank anywhere from 180-240 in the past decade, and whether it was lost weight or gorging myself to feel better, it never did. I did not find joy and satisfaction in the way I looked until I defined it for myself. Then, when I was happy with my body, and love it the way it was…THEN it started looking better. Because it was about health and wellness, not someone else’s idea of success.

So today my body is mine. I’m happy with it. I still exercise, and keep it within a healthy standard. And I don’t allow others to tell me what’s good to eat or how much to exercise. When you love yourself, all those voices fade. I’d encourage you to do the same!