I’m sitting here and it’s pouring rain in Gerringong and I have a cup of coffee in a mug that has a handsome bear on the side of it. I just ate some date and walnut loaf which I recently baked and is absolutely delicious. I’ve been looking through some old photos of myself and thinking how back in the day, I used to think that being thin would make me happy. That if I could just reach Xkg, then I would be smiling and feel good about myself.
So I reached Xkg and I didn’t feel any of those things. In fact, I felt worse about myself. I had to eat less and less and exercise more and more to keep that weight off. I had to think about every crumb I put in my mouth. I wrote endless lists, day after day about what I had eaten – calculating calories, fat and carbs. It was debilitating. It was not how a life should be lived. It is not the pathway to happiness at all.
Here’s a picture of me in my spiral down towards anorexia. It’s not my lowest weight by far, but I still look sad and it makes me sad.
So if life and happiness and living isn’t about your weight or what you look like or your friends and family or where you live, then what is it about? I’m not suggesting that the things I just mentioned don’t bring happiness – but they’re fleeting, don’t you think? For me, in becoming a Christian when I was 13, and in the 6 years since then, I have discovered that my ultimate happiness and worth is found in Christ.
With anorexia, it’s never enough. You’re never enough. There’s too much of you. You think: I’ll lose 10kg, and then I’ll be happy. You aren’t. You aim for another 10kg. You’re still not happy with your body, and worse off, you have lost your friends that you have pushed away and your family and you hide your body from everyone and barely even remember how to smile anymore. You lose weight for you. Everything becomes about you; you’re now so self-absorbed you ignore those who extend their hand to pull you back.
I used to miss the old me, the skinny girl who knew exactly what she weighed and what she had eaten each day and how many calories she had burned off doing 5 gym classes that day. I used to think “I was so much happier then.”
If gaining 16kg means I get to eat food and enjoy food and say “This is how God created me and I’m so damn grateful for that”, then I’m ready to source my happiness elsewhere.
Real happiness and true laughter and smiles and genuine emotions are what I now indulge in. No more of that stressing about food. No more of that guilty feeling. No more eating disordered Rebekah.
There’s a bright future ahead, and the eating disorder is not invited along.