I’ve been trying to take care of myself and be fit since graduation. For the first time in four years I’m back to a healthy weight and I feel energetic and fab. The last time I was at this weight I had a really terrible experience, and I hope through sharing it other people won’t put up with the bullshit I did.
The last time I was at this weight (125, if you must know) I was working at a warehouse, lifting and moving heavy boxes, bins and materials all day. I had been pudgy when I started the job, but by the end of the summer I could feel muscles all over. It was amazing.
When classes started again I started getting compliments, and it felt good. It felt good because I honestly felt good. It was the first time in my life I was eating well and working my body. I was finding joy in going to the gym.
What could possibly bring me down from this body-positive cloud? Cruelty. Cruelty from someone I thought was a friend. A couple of weeks into the semester many friends came up to me, concerned about my physical state, rather than complimentary. I was confused.
They were concerned because this so-called-friend had been telling everyone that I had an eating disorder. Though she had spent all summer observing my healthy changes she began this rumor when the semester started, when other people started taking notice.
One person actually came to me on the verge of tears, so terrified by the rumors this single person was spreading.
I couldn’t believe it. Why do that to someone? Why go out of your way to make them feel badly about their body? I couldn’t believe that a woman would intentionally try to bring down someone else by using an eating disorder to put a negative spin on a positive change. If she had been concerned for me she would have come straight to me about any condition she thought existed.
My warehouse job had shifted my hours when classes started, so I spent less time at work, and in the gym. Eventually I lost a lot of my muscle and gained a lot of my weight back, but the more lasting, hurtful, impression from my last golden days as a fit person were tainted by the fact that many people thought I had an eating disorder.
I’m reflecting on this incident now because I am finally back to a healthy weight and diet. The exact weight I was when someone felt the need to tear down my body-positive state.
The bottom line is: if you think a friend is indeed suffering from an eating disorder DO NOT go behind their back. If you want to help don’t start rumors. There are numerous on-campus resources and free community programs you can refer someone to. Those same services could even help you figure out the best way to approach talking to your friend.
DO NOT be the person that tears down someone else because of jealousy. DO NOT tear down someone’s body-positive state because of your own insecurities. DO NOT be that person.