The benefits of the atypical anorexic

So last night I had a good old rant about how I was annoyed that I have never looked like the ‘classic anorexic’. It felt good to get it out of my system, however silly those thoughts are.

Then this morning I was just out for a gentle run in the rain in my local park on top of a hill with stunning views and I thought…hang on, there’s probably a flip side to that, surely there has to be something good about being a healthy weight? This is what I came up with:

I get to run. This isn’t about calorie burning for me, it’s about being able to stop on the top of the hill, look across the valley, take a deep breath and think that I’m lucky that my body lets me do this. If I was severely underweight running would just be a form of torture. Plus I love my social running with my club, if I was I unhealthy they wouldn’t let me run with them.

I get to be at university. I know of two people at the moment who are out of university because their bmi is too low for them to be there. My PhD is taking long enough with that happening!

I get to work with children. Being severely underweight would result in referral to occ health who would probably sign me off. I love my job and would hate that.

I can look after my cousins. I’m really close to my cousins and we have a delicious new baby who I get to see when I go home. There is no way my aunt would let me mind him if I were really ill.

I have a relationship. For sure we have our ups and downs, and ED is definitely responsible for some rifts, but we have fun and I am loved and get to love. When ED is all consuming there is no room for anyone else.

I’m fertile (hopefully!). I have a fairly regular period. I will hopefully get to have children some day. Not everyone wants this, but I do, and being a healthy weight allows that to happen. 

I have energy. Sure some days I am exhausted and run down but I have enough energy to do the necessities like breathing, self-care, walking places and then still some left over for things like fun with friends, running club, reading etc. Energy is a precious commodity when you’re severely underweight I imagine.

So, while a part of me may always resent that I was never thin enough, another part of me knows that being a certain weight isn’t a badge of honour; it’s a thief of joy, it’s isolating, it’s exhausting, just like all EDs are. Also it’s genetics, my set point is just always going to be higher than I like, I can’t keep fighting that. 

There’s my rational thought for the day/ and it’s only 7.15! 


10 thoughts on “The benefits of the atypical anorexic

  1. I really enjoyed reading this! That was always my validation was that I wasn’t emaciated and itty bitty. I used my running as an excuse for why I was “healthy” though (ex: “People who were ACTUALLY sick, couldn’t run), so be mindful. I too love to run though, and that was brought to my attention, that if I was at the weight I wanted, I wouldn’t be physically able to run.
    I also worked with kids for years, and was fearful that I would pass out and leave my kids unattended, or that I wasn’t able to play soccer or kickball with them.
    Just because someone is at a lower weight, does not mean you haven’t struggled and suffered just as much as they have!
    Trust the Process!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad to hear that you love running for the views – so do I! And if you get a nice clear thought/ lightbulb – what a bonus! Keep up the good work. I suspect that you have the body of a recovered anorexic. Your mind hasn’t quite caught up yet- but it’s well on the way๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š it’s so lovely to hear you sounding so positive and making good progress.


  3. I can totally relate. I have been dealing with anorexia for many years, and I also resented that I did not become “as thin as I could have,” especially compared to other sufferers. I was underweight, sure, but I was not emaciated and therefore not thin enough or sick enough to deserve help. My life had fallen apart, but I still craved that badge of honor for being an emaciated anorexic. But I like what you said, even though I wasn’t as thin as others, I still couldn’t really do anything like run. You don’t have to be thin to be suffering! And thanks for giving me a new perspective. Take care! ๐Ÿ˜Š


  4. xxx mqr you’re my hero for being so courageously honest about your feelings – especially when you talked a few posts back about being jealous and unable to connect with how a different blogger was trying to support you because she was thin; a case in point that this MENTAL ILLNESS (I capitalise for my own benefit because I enjoy validating it as not being measurable in terms of weight loss) is as Isolating and punitive as you know it is. There is the illusion of a barrier between You and Them but its an illusion and it only serves to keep you isolated, angry, frustrated… It takes up so much energy and attention… Over the course of my experience with it – I’ve been visibly underweight and also extremely disordered at a normal weight. It was indeed the case that people treated me differently when I was visibly underweight but then I felt REALLY angry and resentful of being treated ‘normal’ again when in my head and feelings I was not. I’m just saying this because I don’t think its helpful to deny that people do judge each other on appearance and how we are often conned into judging ourselves on how we look too. It is so dear to my heart though, and no exaggeration MQR I think our life depends on our ability to listen to how we are feeling, trust it and articulate it. We and others are wrong dot com when we equate looking ill with being ill – its a mental illness which attacks our mental energy, time, self-esteem and the more people who know that the better. So thank you as ever for speaking out


    1. I’m really struggling with seeing it as an illness at the moment but it is something my lovely counsellor keeps repeating so between you and her I need to trust the wise people around me not the horrible voices in my head. I’ve a lot of reframing to do if I’m to view it that way, but I’m trying to be patient and give it time. Thanks you for always being so lovely, you’ve no idea how much the support means x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. X I do have some idea because I really value the support from you too! Totally listen to me and your counsellor over the ed voice!!! We are in touch with reality and the ed voice is not !!! The reality is you are a human who deserves care and freedom to live the life she wants xx keep trusting yourself and keep the faith in your wise, patient, joy-loving self ๐Ÿ™‚ xx you’re a star MQR xx


  5. ps! i often also have these real lows after breaking new ground in the ‘thought’ department – and maybe the negative feelings you were stormed by, even though they were inflamed by seeing that girl in the park – maybe they have their roots in an internal back-lash against the new healthier, pro-MQR thinking? maybe it was the eating disorder feeling like you were getting away and re-igniting all the neuronal patterns and flashing all the lights and going all out to try and win you back – but you didn’t get lost in ‘casting aside the waves to look for water’ you know that the waves were water all along and that is part of why you are AWESOME!!!


  6. you said in one comment: “It sounds a bit needy”

    That never once entered my mind, assuming you are talking about your post. What did come to mind about that moment is the innate ability we have to discount anything good we are achieving. Perhaps you can’t see your progress or the inspirational aspect of your writing but I do so I want to honor that in you, at least till you can honor that part of yourself.

    in your post you said: “Energy is a precious commodity when youโ€™re severely underweight I imagine.”

    It is in any addictive behavior whether underweight or not. Eating disorders are not exclusive to this and underweight anorexics don’t have the corner on it. Normal weight and overweight bulimics experience this as well. Purging takes a huge amount out of the body. Restrictive behavior in normal weight anorexics is also exhausting. Being under-nutritioned is physically debilitating, emotionally taxing and mentally challenging. It’s unbelievable how much energy it takes to keep up with obsessive thoughts.

    You are doing wonderful!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s