1. Your clothes feel tighter and you find yourself having to squeeze into items that used to fit perfectly.
2. You refuse to buy new clothes because you insist it’s just a temporary situation.
3. Until the day you actually pop a button or tear your jeans.
4. Going shopping is like walking through the pits of hell as you negotiate a range of sizes to figure out what you actually are.
5. And it can be really depressing when you don't fit into the size you usually identify as.
6. Plus it’s so much harder to find clothes that DO fit you now.
7. You feel self-conscious about your appearance and actually kinda hate the way you look.
8. And you feel so guilty about that because you believe everyone should love themselves no matter what.
9. But it’s not exactly easy to do that when you don’t ~feel~ like yourself.
10. Mirrors are a reminder that you look different, so you avoid them.
11. Between that and the random array of sizes in your wardrobe, plus your general discomfort with your body, getting ready every morning is like a waking nightmare.
12. It can be more difficult to do things you used to do really easily.
13. You get a shock when you see a new photo of yourself and hardly even recognise the person in it.
14. You dread catching up with people you haven’t seen in awhile because you think they’ll only see the weight.
15. And your worst fears are realised when they actually comment on it.
16. You feel like everyone judges you on what you’re eating.
17. And basically everything you do (or don’t do).
18. Because people make assumptions about your weight and it hurts.
19. Well-meaning friends and family give you tips on losing weight, and it just makes you want to cry, because it’s like you’re not good enough as you are.
20. And it's especially frustrating to hear when losing weight is not necessarily straightforward or even a solution.
21. You become acutely aware of your own body and just how much space you take up.
22. It can make you incredibly uncomfortable in your own skin. You start to carry yourself differently, hunched over as if to protect yourself - and hide yourself.
23. You get so self conscious you just avoid social situations or basically anything that requires leaving the comfort of your home, where no one judges you (except yourself, of course).
24. The worse you feel, the less you feel worthy of care, and you stop doing things that are good for you - or deliberately do things you know are bad for you.
25. Food is simultaneously a comfort and an enemy. You develop a complicated relationship with it where once it was simple.
26. You get into a vicious cycle of feeling bad and then doing things that only make you feel worse.
27. Between other people’s judgements and the judgements you inflict on yourself, you feel like your weight is a constant presence looming over your life, literally weighing you down.
28. You get mad at society’s screwed up attitude to body shape and weight.
29. But when you talk to someone who feels the exact same way, some of that weight comes right off your shoulders.
30. You realise you definitely aren’t alone.
31. And there’s so much more to you than what the scales say.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, here are some organizations that have trained support staff that you can call:
The Butterfly Foundation (Australia): 1800-33-4673
National Eating Disorder Association Helpline (America): 1-800-931-2237
Binge Eating Disorder Association Helpline (America): 1-855-855-BEDA