[note this post is not directed at any particular person]
There are many people I have implied this to, and perhaps one or two that I have stated it clearly and explicitly. I had an eating disorder. The specific behaviors that were involved were irrelevant, what matters is that it existed, and it consumed a vast amount of my life. Everyone experiences these things in different ways, but for me fighting the thinking that brought me to my disorder is a daily battle. On the bright side, most days I win that battle.There are more of us than you think, the 1.7% of the population that suffers from Anorexia and/or Bulimia are only the tip of the ice-berg in terms of the spectrum of disordered eating.
There is a lot of shame associated with struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating. We are often considered self indulgent and attention seeking, and the way these conditions work is heavily misunderstood. So talking about it is important. My disorder was something very real and it has shaped nearly every aspect of my life. It was not something I could just snap out of.
So here is the thing. It may be an unpleasant or uncomfortable truth, but the way you talk, specifically, when you talk in certain ways about food and your body, it directly hurts me and people like me.
You may not have the intention to hurt the people around you, but intention is not magical, and once words leave your mouth you have no control over what people hear in them. When you talk negatively about your body, it encourages me to feel negatively about mine. When you talk about the food you eat, its calorific value, whether it is good or bad, that kind of thing, it encourages me to evaluate my food choices in a way that is not healthy. This makes my daily battle with my disordered thoughts so much harder.
It is a radical thing in this society to talk about food and bodies without making value judgements. It is even more of a radical thing to consider how the things that carelessly come out of your mouth will effect the people around you. If someone is willing to tell me at a party that they like Auckland, but there are too many Asian people there, I highly doubt they are going to consider how any of their other words are going to hurt people.
Is snarking on your own body and diet really that important to you? Is it worth not only affecting yourself negatively but everyone around you? Do you really want to contribute to the the very things that can destroy the life of someone like me? It is such a little thing to change the way you talk about your own body in public, but it has the potential to create such a positive change for the better.
Can you imagine a world where snarking about bodies and food was not the norm? That would be an exponentially less stressful world for me to live in. It begins quite simply with each of us opting out of those conversations.