Being born in a generation between the end of landlines and the beginning of technology with the arrival of new smartphones, the digital world, and social media, I’ve learned my lesson the hard way. When quarantine was first imposed, I used to do nothing other than stay on my phone.
The ophthalmologist will talk about the eye problems I will probably develop due to excessive screen time. Teachers will focus on the time wasted and amount of lost time of study it might have caused. Parents will say that it’s inadmissible as it is unacceptable to tolerate such changes over the years and the introduction of the new digital tools to their lives.
However, I want to take you with me into how I used to spend endless hours on social media.
Through the Discover button on Instagram, the more you research a specific topic or particular posts, the more related results will start appearing in that section without you even searching for them.
It all started when I was initially researching healthy foods for weight loss purposes, at a time when my nutritional knowledge was very limited. I used to be sure that healthy meals were the answer to your “what will make me thin” question. Little did I know that healthy meals include several high-calorie foods that will eventually get you fatter when not eaten in moderation. I then decided to upgrade the quality level of my research, diving into low carb and low calories meal recipes. Carbohydrates were the enemy for me; I was practically sure that they are the reason for my weight increase over the years. Low-calorie foods that were sometimes non-nutritious were my go-to meals. I dropped a few kilograms at that time, only for me to regain them all in just a few weeks.
Next came the phase when I started to hear that dinner is what makes you fat, that eating at 8:00 pm rather than at 8:01 pm will make all the difference. That drinking water and lemon and some special kind of teas were the solution if you wanted to attain your weight goal. Some dietitians used to say that you may eat as much as you want and whatever you want but you only need to stop having the disastrous dinner, drink magical tea herbs and lemonade before going to sleep. This is supposed to help you drop 15 kilograms in two days. One dropped kilogram per day seemed fair to me at that time.
Educating myself on nutrition and sustainable strategies to lose weight was the best thing I ever did – and somehow the death of me as well. I struggled for approximately a year with dark days. Some might look at me and tell me that there is a worse situation someone could cross paths with and that I shouldn’t be complaining. They would tell me to be thankful that this is my only problem. However, someone who has never experienced such situations will never be in a position to talk about this delicate subject. They will never understand the shades of darkness it could lead you to, nor the depth in which it can make you drown.
Overeating, I’ve been there.
Calorie obsessing haunted me too.
Scale addiction, don’t worry I know how it feels.
Resuming my whole year, I had a hard time. I used to wake up everyday and measure not only every gram of meat and bread I had eaten, but also every cucumber or even lettuce leaf. I used to count my calories on my Fitness Pal, an app that has helped many lose weight. For me, it has been the worst part of it all, because my head misinterpreted the results and went down a spiral of calorie obsession. I started starving myself if my tracking was exceeding my daily allowed intake, only to find myself overeating when my calorie intake was crossed over. I would regret my act and yet repeat the same cycle all over again. I was in a labyrinth, I had many ways towards recovery but I was just lost and desperate in the simple mindset that I wanted to lose more weight.
Sometimes, the time when you think that you are in control of everything in your life is when you have little to no control over your situation.
Until then, I thought that my knowledge was enough to let me have the biggest control over my situation. I was so wrong.
Being aware of what’s happening to me was the first step in my path to recovery; admitting that I was in control if I put my head to it was the second one.
I gathered all my courage and talked to my closest people and the ones that really care about me. That’s when I had been shown again that the ones that truly love you will give your story the right amount of importance. Talking could be your best answer, because exposing people to your story puts them in a position to give you the best advice out of ration.
After listening to their precious advice, I finally accepted that weight loss isn’t linear. If I choose to take a diet break and maintain my weight over several months, it doesn’t make me a failure. It proves that I’m only human and that my road towards reaching my goal is full of ups and downs. It took me a lot of effort to stop trying so hard to lose weight and just listen to my hunger cues and nutritional needs. And who knows? Maybe a few months later, when my relationship with food will be repaired, I will be able to continue my journey.
“I am beginning to measure myself in strength, not pounds, sometimes in smiles.”
-Laurie Halse Anderson
I wasn’t diagnosed with an eating disorder, however I have experienced some of its symptoms. To everyone struggling with and lost in this depressing labyrinth, the people that care about you and I can be your light at the end of the tunnel. Let them enlighten your path because you deserve to have control over your situation again. You deserve to be heard and not be treated as if your problem isn’t important. You deserve recovery. You deserve to draw your path again to get out all safe and sane of this perturbing labyrinth.