First of all, as we watch the video, we notice that there’s no spotlight on Iris and we begin to understand why more when she continues to talk about all the struggles she’s faced with issues surrounding food and body image. I think it was very clever of her to have no spotlight so that the crowd could not instantly judge her appearance and weight.
Judging people instantaneously is a huge cause of these eating disorders arising. Iris talks about the fact that she felt judged and that she had to lose weight in order to fit in and do the things that she saw others doing. As you read this, you realise this is unfair, yet you still judge. As do I. We all do.
Iris talks about the fact that during her university years, she started running a lot, and she’s proud of those achievements. She says that she convinced herself that her relationship with food was better because she was eating three meals a day. This is very interesting to me as I feel that I’ve definitely done this before. When you work out so much, you physically can’t last on 700/800 calories a day, so you have to eat more, which is fine because you’re working out so much. But then on rest days, you’re not working out as much so you can get away with only eating 700 calories, right?! NO.
I went through a similar thing as Iris when I was very skinny. I was very strong at my skinniest, because I lifted a lot of weights, and I was very proud of that. I can’t deny that it felt good to see the amount of weight I was lifting grow and grow with each week. However, I thought my relationship with food was fine because of course I was eating. I had to eat more because I was doing more and using my muscles more. But, if I didn’t do cardio one day, I’d eat less. You don’t deserve to eat if you don’t do cardio, of course…
She also talks about the variety of eating disorders that aren’t talked about in schools, or in general. Everyone knows what anorexia and bulimia are, but what about the other issues that girls face? These are just two eating disorders from a huge number of problems that everyone faces when obsessing over image or food and fitness. And just because someone isn’t diagnosed with an eating disorder, that doesn’t mean these issues aren’t real. People need to be more cautious about the types of issues people can have, and because someone doesn’t typically ‘look anorexic’, that doesn’t make it ok to assume they’re fine and love themselves.
Remember that everyone is fighting their own battles and undermining someone’s issues can cause a lot of damage to someone’s mental stability. Every issue is important and it’s hard to be perfectly aware all of the time, but attempting to put yourself in someone else’s shoes helps me a lot. Also, when dealing with someone with any type of mental issue, including any eating disorders, the internet is a great source of information. There are tons of websites on how to deal with those dealing with these issues so there’s no longer an excuse to be ignorant.
Perhaps this isn’t very interesting to most people but that doesn’t matter to me. If I’m having a bad day in the future or if one person reads this and can relate to this discussion, it will be worth it. It’s so easy for us to judge people from the second we see them in the street, and so easy to compliment or insult people due to their appearance. Why can’t we compliment people based on their personality or their qualities?
Since watching that video, I’ve been making more of a conscious effort to compliment people more. Sometimes on their appearance yes; your makeup looks nice today, I like your outfit, I like your hair etc. But also compliment people on their qualities; I love your happiness, I think you’re very intelligent, I think you’re a good person. I know I’d much rather receive a compliment about my personality or a quality that I hold than one based on my appearance. So perhaps in the near future, try to switch the way you see other people to their qualities rather than their appearance, I’m sure it will be well received.
And if one person carries out that task, we’re a tiny step closer to a better world.
So, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and if you’d like to read any of the other posts in this A-Z blogging series, here’s all the links:
L: Leaving Aix