This post was written by co-blog manager & co-chapter leader of Project HEAL NYC Emily Costa
I was at work today eating my lunch at my desk and I glanced to my right where there is a stack of magazines directly next to my food.
“Up Your Ab Game”
“Slim At Every Age”
“Burn fat faster – and smarter”
“7 tips to a flat stomach”
“What’s REALLY Widening Your Waistline”
Like an automatic reflex, I went to grab the issue on top of the pile and put my fork down. Without even much effort, my mind started to race thinking about what I had eaten earlier this morning and the calories in the delicious salad I was eating. I started questioning myself – could I go to the gym for a little bit longer today? What should I have for dinner?
I stopped and very quickly slapped myself back into reality. I don’t need to up my ab game, I needed to stay in line with my recovery.
Before we move on, I’d like to make it known that I don’t usually have Shape magazines just hanging out around me as I eat. I actually happen to be a student at a fashion school in NYC who currently works as a Fashion PR Intern. Go figure right?
So I spend half of my time advocating about eating disorders and recovery. And the other half working with fashion brands and magazines.
I would be lying if it weren’t affected by this stuff. I mean lets be honest, I have size 00 dresses to my left and a 2016 beach body guide to my right.
But to be perfectly clear, I don’t think the fashion industry or publications are to blame for my body insecurities and the eating disorder I’ve worked very hard to overcome. My eating disorder had a significant purpose in my life to fulfill emotional needs I couldn’t deal with. But as a young woman in society – it would be hard to say these brainwashing standards of beauty don’t bother me.
Yes I’m in recovery and I can now see through the bullshit of these words and images – but I’m not invincible. I still have to remind myself that those “fresh slimming recipes” and tips could easily land me back in a full-blown relapse. Maybe that’s not the reality for everyone, but it is for me.
I mean hey, I still cringe when people talk about their new diets. I still get uncomfortable when people body shame themselves or others.
I still am a work in progress. But my skin is a lot thicker than it used to be.
I don’t feel the need to succumb to these external pressures of society that tell me I’m not thin, strong or sexy enough. I am me, and isn’t that the best thing I could be? I don’t need rock solid abs or a recipe for a slimming green juice to be the best version of me. I need my recovery to be the best version of me.