The Number

Miraal Halim

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People’s lives have been ruled by a single number for too long. It’s time for that to change.

 *Trigger Warning this article includes talk of anorexia and bulimia which is a very sensitive topic to some so please be advised. 

   The number. “I wish I was that size.” The number. “You don’t look like you have an eating disorder.” The number. “Go eat a burger, you look like a stick.” The number. The minute that you checked the number on that scale and you didn’t like what you saw everything changed. 

  From there on out everything was about your weight and looking a certain way; probably an Instagram model to be exact. According to eatingdisorderhope.com, about 10 million females and 1 million males in the US have suffered from some sort of eating disorder to lose a few pounds.  

   These eating disorders include, but are not limited to, anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia is having a loss of appetite for food or just refusing to eat. Bulimia on the other hand is where you do eat, but you then force yourself to throw up or purge. It feels like you failed at anorexia so this is the next best thing. The “best thing”, the “only option” people are so desperate to lose weight to fit into society’s beauty standards that they will essentially kill themselves to be “good enough”. 

   Anorexia is the disorder that everyone notices. If you’re out with friends and get something to eat but you don’t get anything, they notice. When you stop coming down for dinner using the excuse “I’m not hungry” your parents notice. They don’t say anything because they want to see if something’s really wrong, or if they’re just overthinking it. Bulimia on the other hand is harder to notice. They don’t stop eating, they just don’t keep it down. They eat dinner and lunch with friends. It’s just as soon as they’re home they will force themselves to puke. They can’t stop until everything’s gone and if they don’t purge, it’ll drive them crazy. 

  A big thing that people don’t understand about eating disorders is that it’s a mind game. It’s not a weight disorder; although weight is a part of it, it’s an eating disorder. People are terrified to eat for so many reasons: one of them being weight. They can’t understand that those models that they want to look like so badly eat at least three times a day. They don’t understand that it’s ok to eat, and it’s ok to gain a few pounds as long as you’re taking care of yourself. 

   The worst part of it all is that the person struggling will most of the time deny that they have any sort of eating disorder or symptoms of an eating disorder. They will deny it up until the moment they are walking into the treatment center. Even then they’ll deny that anything’s wrong. They’ll say things like “I’m fine” that person is most definitely not fine. That four letter word is never used in the way it’s supposed to; that word is a lie and a cry for help.   

   People need to understand that it’s ok not to be ok. Not everything in your life is going to be rainbows and daisies all the time, and that’s alright. What’s not alright is acting like you’re ok when you’re not. When you have acknowledged that something is wrong but won’t do anything about it, that is not ok. If you are struggling in any way shape or form –maybe you’re developing an eating disorder or maybe it’s something completely different– you deserve to get help. You deserve to get the help that you need if you’re not ok. Talk to a parent, counselor, family member or even a friend; just don’t bottle it up. I’m proud of you, you’re doing so amazing, remember your worth. Please remember to eat and drink something today.