A few years ago I went through a pretty rough breakup from a long-term relationship. The relationship was incredibly toxic so I should have been happy to be out of it, but at the time it was hard to see. The breakup brought with it a lot of stress and anxiety that I didn’t know how to cope with, and so my relationship with food turned…bad…to say the least. I lost 40lbs in a few months without putting much thought into it.
At that point in my life losing weight was unfortunately still one of my top priorities, so a friend and I were discussing it one night. I didn’t take too much glory in that weight loss because I knew it occurred only because of unfortunate circumstances, so when my friend asked how I did it my response was simply that it was a lack of appetite due to stress. This wasn’t a lie, that’s what the majority of it was, but what shocks me now was her response. She was jealous. I hold nothing against her for this response as she is someone who is overweight herself and struggles with it for what seems to be the majority of the time, I can see why she would see this as a benefit. It makes me sad now though.
I couldn’t eat because I was unable to. I had no appetite, and any amount of food felt like too much, so I mostly just didn’t eat. I won’t go too far into just how disordered my eating patterns were at this point, but suffice it to say that I was suffering through every second of this weight loss. Despite the fact that she knew that the weight loss was caused by something so emotional that I could no longer convince myself to eat, she was jealous.
It makes me sad to think that we live in a world that values weight loss above so many other things that people idealize the thought of being so depressed they can’t eat.
Another person I knew and was spending a lot of time with at that point had noticed my resistance to food. I don’t know if she had put two and two together, but she was very aware of the breakup and ensuing emotional wreck that I was. One day I was eating with her, and after a few bites I declared myself done. This was a frequent occurrence at this point, but what she said after on this particular occasion breaks my heart. The way I was eating made her feel bad about herself. She didn’t feel bad because she saw my lack of desire to eat as a sign of something wrong, but rather as a sign of true will power that she didn’t feel she had.
It makes me sad to think that we live in a world where not eating a normal sized meal wasn’t a a red flag of something to be concerned about, but rather a badge of superiority.