When I first started to be vocal about my disordered eating, I kept hearing one common phrase from those around me: “I had no idea! I just thought you were being healthy.”
To which I would reply: “It’s easy to disguise disordered eating when it’s become standard to mask a binge as a ‘cheat meal,’ orthorexia as a ‘lifestyle,’ and exercise addiction as ‘beast mode.’”
The people who were with me the most had no idea that with each meal or workout I was inching further and further down the black hole of disorder, obsession, and self-hatred.
How would they, though? According to the standards of the health and fitness industry, I was doing everything “right.”
I was eating “clean” meals, exercising regularly, and losing weight. All three of these actions have now become the yardstick for health and fitness.
And those of us who have disordered eating will stand by those concepts no matter how miserable they are making us mentally (and perhaps physically), all the while insisting: It’s a lifestyle!
What happens when your motivating factor to move is the fact that you cannot stand what you see looking back at you in the mirror, and every morning you are filled with disgust and shame about your size and shape?
This was the phrase that masked my disorder for years. It wasn’t just a smokescreen; I fully believed it.
I thought that a “healthy lifestyle” entailed binging (cheat meals), the constant quest for leanness (perfection), and beating myself up in the gym until I reached pure exhaustion (exercise addiction).
After all, that is what we so commonly see with the hashtags #beastmode, #cheatmeal, and similar social media catchphrases.
At their most benign, they’re self-righteous and a little ridiculous.
But what happens when the “lifestyle” they stand for becomes severely unhealthy?
What happens when that meal plan/macro breakdown/whatever other scientific equation is being used by the cool kids these days has so many impossible rules that you end up feeling monumentally shitty about yourself if you mess up?
These celebs appear to be the picture of health and fitness. (Post continues after gallery).