After the Chuseok holiday, you scroll down your Facebook feed and all posts you see are different diet methods and workout videos that will “help” you lose weight after eating great foods with your family. Going to school is already hard enough – but you see advertisements of diet products and slim, “perfect” celebrities that shame you for the way you look. Plus, everyone you meet is asking if you put on some weight over the holiday. It’s starting to get annoying.
So you decide to go on a diet.
As a hardworking college student, you do not have the time to go to the gym and workout so you eat a little less. After a couple of days of eating less than how much you would normally eat, you drag yourself up to the scale and see the numbers that reduces all the qualities of a person that you have into a two-digit number. You’re shocked. You can’t weigh this much. That’s unacceptable in this society for a female to weigh this much. So you don’t eat at all—and when you have to, you just throw it all up. And just like that, you are a victim of eating disorders.
Eating disorders come in various forms and targets various people. Most people do not acknowledge that they are suffering with such illnesses. The most common type of eating disorder is anorexia nervosa. People with anorexia view themselves as overweight, even if they are not. They tend to constantly monitor their weight, avoid eating foods or severely restrict their calories. The major symptoms are the relentless pursuit of thinness, the unwillingness to maintain a heathy weight, a heavy influence of body weight on self-esteem, and an intense fear of gaining weight. But because these characteristics are found amongst almost all women around the world, it is difficult to distinguish if it is merely a willingness to lose weight or achieving thinness. Another major type of eating disorder is bulimia nervosa. People with bulimia often eat large quantities of food in a relatively short period and relieve the guilt of over-consumption of food by purging. Purging is mostly done via throwing up, laxatives, fasting, and/or excessive exercise. These are not phases or trends that a person consciously chooses to take part in.
Seriously, if that sounds like you, go seek help. The first step of overcoming eating disorders is to recognize that it is a disorder. It is not as easy as it sounds, but there is a reason why there are professionals waiting for you to reach out and ask for help. Starving and throwing up are not trends, or what the “cool” people do. Just because celebrities eat three pieces of kimbab a day and exercise excessively does not mean that you can. Just because you see images of people who have succeeded losing massive weight by taking diet pills does not mean you have to. Accept your body as the way it is because as long as it functions fine, you are good. It does not have to look a certain way. It is not a difficult sentence – but not that many people actually acknowledge the weight of the sentence. Do not put yourself at risk by pursuing unrealistic ideals of body image. Here is some good news though: there has been an increase of number in the exposure of plus-size models on mainstream media, which is great. In a society where looks are very important, not-thin models breaking the ground rule that models have to be bony-thin. If they can go against the current of having to be thin, so can you.
Love your body. That belly fat you have? Or that thigh gap that you don’t have? Who cares. You are still beautiful. All body types are beautiful. Just accept it as it is because there is not a single part of your body that needs to be changed.