Today I want to address a different side of body issues: those of us who work to gain weight, not lose it. I have always been pretty small… okay, a frigging beanpole all my life. It’s been a pretty sensitive issue for me too. I still remember some awful girls spreading rumours I had an eating disorder in Grade 8 because I didn’t finish the weird food on my plate during a field trip (I’ve always been picky with food, so I got extra bread instead). So, yeah, I’m skinny. I think it is extremely important to stress that every body shape, size and type comes with its own benefits and difficulties. I’m very uncomfortable with the hyper-sexualisation of my body type. And it’s even harder when people assume you should be grateful for it. So here’s my experience, along with some tips for anyone who has trouble eating at times.
Firstly, a distinction must be made. I am not a medical professional, and I do not have anorexia nervosa, the eating disorder. In this posting I am discussing methods of coping with stress or depression-related appetite suppression, also known as anorexia. Anorexia is a symptom in which a person experiences a loss of appetite. This can be caused by everything from stress to medication to significant emotional loss. It is even used to describe the experience of ‘fullness’ after a large meal. If severe, it can also be a symptom for more serious medical issues, including anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa is a serious medical and psychological disorder characterized by compulsive dieting and weight loss, body image issues and issues of control. For more information there are a variety of professional resources available on the web, and if you think you may have anorexia nervosa or any form of serious eating disorder, please, please see a doctor or at least tell a close friend or family member about it immediately.
Here’s my story:
Entering high school I had just had a major growth spurt. In gym class, we learned about BMI indexes, and I struggled that year to have my weight catch up with my height. I exercised more to build up muscle mass, and by the end of my first year had put on ten whole pounds to clock in at a decent 108lbs for my now 5’5” frame. Over the next four years, I gradually filled out to hover around a healthy 118lbs. Although my activity level decreased somewhat in the latter years as I weaned my body off a jam-packed dance schedule, my metabolism was still going quite strong. And thanks to an endearing first love who taught me to embrace all parts of my body, I was doing pretty damn well on the body image scale. I knew I looked good, and I liked that I was healthy. I was secure in my place in life and my high grades had opened up a wonderful new world of academia. And then I came to university…