To The Girl Who Has An Eating Disorder, You Are Beautiful

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sad woman sitting on steps hands on face

By Ashley Allison

I recently hung out with a friend with whom I’ve grown up.

As we were talking, she mentioned how difficult she finds it to see herself as anything other than “not thin enough.”

It broke me inside as she’s skinny, and even if she weren’t, it wouldn’t make her any less beautiful.

RELATED: 3 Reasons Poor Body Image & Eating Disorders Often Go Hand-In-Hand

We have grown up in a world that teaches women how to look from a young age.

We’re told that if we’re not within a certain size range, we aren’t good enough. That even if we’re too thin, we must maintain our looks to avoid rude comments.

I’ll be the first to admit it’s hard for me to accept that I will probably never be size 6 or 8, which I was years ago.

I have curves, I don’t work out regularly, and food is just too delicious.

So does not fitting into that crop top that my friends can make me any less beautiful? No.

To the women who feel they must purge after eating or excessively exercise to maintain what they believe to be healthy, I see you.

RELATED: My Best Friend's Bulimia Destroyed Our Friendship

It feels ironic when someone tells me they think I’m so “pretty” when I’m 2-3 times their size.

Of course, it goes both ways as I envy them for looking that way as well.

As someone who works in healthcare, I’m very conscious of what can happen when someone decides to make drastic lifestyle changes.

I’m all for changing to a healthier outlook, but not at the cost of your well-being and body dysmorphia issues.

Please believe me when I say you are enough just the way you are.

It’s not fair what we put ourselves through as women.

This problem isn’t limited to women, though: Many guys feel they aren’t physically attractive enough.

The lifetime repercussions this has on our mental state are apparent but not discussed as no one thinks that far ahead when they begin developing an eating disorder.

To the girls who feel they won’t be able to break this vicious cycle, take it one meal at a time.

RELATED: 7 Most Hurtful Things You Could Say To Someone With An Eating Disorder

Your body is meant to protect you. It’s capable of withstanding so many things we put it through.

However, it was not meant to be depleted of nutrients, ending up fragile because we don’t feed ourselves.

Of course, you never intended on this being your lifestyle. After all, no one plans an eating disorder.

I’m sure, as a child, you were happy and never thought twice about how you looked in the mirror. But all that changed when someone said something harsh enough for it to stick.

It’s time to reconstruct those destructive thoughts we have in our heads.

So no matter how silly it may sound to you, you’ll believe it in time.

You are beautiful, you are loved, and you matter. Always.

If you or a loved one are struggling with disordered eating, contact the National Eating Disorder Helpline’s toll-free phone number: 1-800-931-2237.

RELATED: 10 Critical Lessons I Learned From Binge Eating Disorder Treatment And Recovery

Ashley Allison is a nurse, author and writer for Unwritten who focuses on relationships, health and wellness, and family. For more of her content, visit her author profile.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.