I got called 'healthy' recently. This is the first time this has ever happened to me and I don't like it. She said 'you look like you've been eating better' and 'you don't look sick anymore.' These are not positive things to me, these are all very, very bad. These are all three triggering phrases and terms that you probably shouldn't say to someone with an eating disorder.

The word 'healthy' to me does not mean what some people may believe it means. To me, 'healthy' is telling me that I look big. That I look like I weigh an average weight. I have 'meat on my bones.' When somebody tells me I 'look healthy,' the image of myself morphs into an even more warped out disturbing version of my former self. I no longer just look chubby, now I have to look like an average, fat American. I look like I eat fast food every day and ice cream before bed. Now I have big wide hips that can't fit in jeans without making a huge muffin top. I have giant bags of fat hanging off my chest. I have multiple chins when I smile. I have big thighs that chafe each other.

If you tell me I 'look like I'm eating better,' your intentions may be positive and complimentary, but to me they aren't. It makes me think I look like I eat some 2000 calorie diet to everybody around me. I don't want people to think I eat all day long like some normal person. I don't want them to see me eat. I don't want to look like I eat, period. If I eat, it means I'm fat. I've failed yet again. If I look like some food loving fatty, people will ask me to go to fast food places to eat with them. They'll offer me pizza and cookies and hamburgers.

When she told me I 'don't look sick anymore,' that blew my entire world apart. You mean to tell me I've been walking around this whole time, hoping that I look like I've lost a few pounds after starving myself and cutting myself for eating, only to actually look like I have fat dripping off every bone in my body? If I 'don't look sick' that means I can't feel my ribs or see my hipbones. It means I have to get periods and make babies. It means I have to be some normal, average, mediocre person.

On my body, healthy is not thin. Eating better is not skinny. And not looking sick must mean I'm really, really fat right now. This has honestly distressed me so much that I have no appetite. Every food in this house is repulsive. Every calorie terrifying.

I do not wish to look 'healthy.'
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1 Response May 22, 2012

My heart goes out to you. I know exactly what you mean, as I'm sure every person in this group does. It all seems so silly, yet makes perfect sense to us. My hope is to someday want what is healthy, and for others who struggle to want the same.<br />
With love and support,<br />