Can You Feel Beautiful and Have an Eating Disorder?

Can You Feel Beautiful and Have an Eating DisorderLately, thoughts have popped into my heads that fill me with confusion and guilt.  Just admitting to them here fills me with fear.  However, I am hoping that these moments are normal parts of recovery.  Hopefully being honest about them will help others with eating disorders and low self-esteem.

These thoughts focus on how I look.  Now that is a normal occurrence.  What makes these stand out is their more positive nature.  Instead of beating myself up for my weight or appearance, I find myself admiring or at least accepting how I look.  For a few moments, peace with my body fills me.  

These thoughts instantly bring about self-hate and negative self-image.  Ashamed, I punish myself for beginning to love my looks.  Slipping back into self-disgust is so much easier than facing the fact that I might look – dare I say it – pretty.  

There are a few problems that I see with having a positive body image.  First of all, being at peace with my looks means that I have no eating disorder.  That fact is what my thoughts whisper to me every time that I begin to look at myself positively.  Not being sick means this whole restriction food was a selfish lie.  Unlike the girls who battle for their lives each day, I am a fake who deserves to die.

But then I wonder if my angry thoughts are correct.  Can someone with an eating disorder feel beautiful sometimes?  We all aim toward this goal, but is it possible to achieve it while still using symptoms?  Each person has their own journey through their eating disorder and recovery.  So wouldn’t it make sense for some people to accept their body at some point?  When I look at others struggling, this makes sense.  Applying this grace to myself is more difficult.

 The other problem with my positive thoughts is how our world perceives them.  When is the last time that you met a woman who liked her own appearance?  What did you honestly think about her?

The only people that we seem to meet who feel beautiful are usually labeled as vain and proud.  That might be true, but seeing yourself in a positive light is not a bad thing.  Hating one’s body should not be the social norm.  We do not need to look down on those who acknowledge their own beauty.  People can both be humble and accept themselves.  Hating those comfortable in their own skin negates the purpose of promoting a healthy, loving world.  There is not strength in disliking your appearance or strength in despising it.

After writing this, my body image is bothering me awfully.  Sitting and visiting with family today will be miserable.  All I can think about is the weight that I should loss.  However, if positive thoughts about my body sneak into my worries, I will quietly try to accept them.  Recovery is not easy nor is learning to love my body.  Little by little, I am beginning to love who I am and see myself in a positive light.

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6 thoughts on “Can You Feel Beautiful and Have an Eating Disorder?

  1. Mark kent says:

    i am mark.have aspergers. i get your blog.

    YES,YOU CAN FEEL BEAUTIFUL AND STILL HAVE ANOREXIA OR BULIMIA .HOW many times a day have you been making your self sick..i myself used to be very Anorexia.IF YOU WOULD LIKE A CHAT

    E.MAIL mkentdad12@outlook.com

    very very well done for talking about it.i am here if you would like a chat

    mark________________________________ > Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2013 16:43:31 +0000 > To: mkentdad12@outlook.com >

  2. The way I view my ED, I have thoughts and feelings, and so does he. Those days that I feel ugly and fat and terrible – that’s him talking. The days where I feel beautiful, well, that’s all me.

    The further I get into my recovery, the more days I can hear my voice over ED’s. I don’t think feeling beautiful means you don’t have an eating disorder… I think it just means your voice is gaining strength over his.

    Congratulations 🙂

  3. I know exactly how you feel. I had an eating disorder around 2 years ago for a year and a half. People started to notice my weight loss but I never noticed it, which was why it continued. I have kind of picked up the eating disorder again, but not as bad because I have gained the weight back. Looking back, I was never happy with my body when the disorder was severe, but I did sometimes feel beautiful because it meant I was losing weight and getting skinny. But now that I have gained the weight back, I realize that I would give anything to be that skinny again, because I look beautiful and healthy and happy in those pictures. And now I don’t.

    Keep working towards loving your body, I know you can do it. Its going to be a long, hard road for me as well, but hopefully I can make it.

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