I think a lot of people are feeling overwhelmed right now. Maybe even a little hopeless. These feelings, more than any others I know, tend to sort of permeate the air – they’re catching; they spread.
I’m feeling hopeless today. I really am.
I had a conversation last night with someone about diet. The more we got to talking, the more I realized, this person – this seemingly happy and cheerful person – has an eating disorder. She’s fooling herself into believing that she’s finally found a miracle food plan that works! But – she’s hurting her body.
And she has no idea.
I thought about it all night, and all of today. I can’t get it out of my mind. We live in a society where fad diets (namely, diets that cut out complete food groups [excluding sugar]) as miracle life cures. There are fad diets that cut out fruit; some that cut out all carbs; all animal products; even all white foods.
It struck me as so very painful, because it’s just normal. Almost everyone I know is either on a diet, or has been on a diet, or is on a diet and doesn’t even know it. The restrictive diet has become their lifestyle – and that lifestyle is now disordered eating.
To be clear, I am NOT talking about healthy eating habits – this is a sustainable lifestyle choice, and can only improve your energy and overall health.
I am talking about restrictive diets – things that eliminate major, important food groups. Like healthy fats, like healthy proteins, like healthy complex carbs. They can’t last forever, and when they stop lasting, it’s either because the person’s body just can’t take it anymore and begins craving the nutrition it’s not getting SO badly, the person must give in. (Often plaguing that person with guilt and self-hatred – “How did I let this happen? I was doing so well!” But rest assured – YOUR BODY KNOWS WHAT IT NEEDS!)
And sometimes, it ends only when that person dies – like Steve Jobs, for example, who famously died of Pancreatic Cancer (one of the ultimate, horrific side effects of the Fruitarian Diet.)
This all comes up so painfully for me, because I KNOW this pain. I was bulimic growing up and anorexic for much of my 20s. I know this pain, and you do, too, whether you’re aware of it or not. It’s a collective pain – a collective sickness – that in hundreds of not-so-subtle ways effects us all.
More than ever, I want to help people – which is why February 5th I’m launching a Kickstarter for my book, Call Me Perfect. It’s book for kids and teens on body image and self-love. I won’t talk about it much here, because I’m sure by the end of the campaign, you all will be simply sick of hearing about it.
But god, I hope it helps. I hope it’s huge. I hope every kid in the world can read it. Because this pain? This collective need to be perfect (i.e. thin)? It is literally killing us.
We’ve got to make this stop.