Who Would You Be

And as much as disordered eating is physical thing, it is even more a mental thing.

If you find yourself very attached the the idea of being _______________ “perfect”, “thin”, “skinny”, “beautiful”, “healthy”, “powerful”, “glowing”, etc.

Or if giving over to normal eating is too hard because you feel like in the process you are losing control of whatever word you insert above, do this exercise:

Take your word from above, whatever the thing is that you are petrified to lose or lose control over, that thing that you ACHE for. The thing that you feel would make everything RIGHT if you could just have it.

Then ask yourself, Why do I want to be ________________

Imagine your life that way. Imagine how you would look, how you would dress, what you would do, how you would feel, how you would BE. Imagine it in great detail and write down at least 10 specific ways YOU would feel different. Take your time with this, and don’t edit. There are no right or wrong or petty answers. Some may be brilliant and insightful and some may be silly. Write as much as you want. Fantasize. Imagine. Have fun.When you have your list, look at it and go over the items. These are the things that you really want, more than the word in your fill in the blank.

Then decide if any of those things you can go for now and be now, without worrying about getting to that ached for perfection first. Then make a list of the ways you could make those feelings and new ways you would be happen now: today, tomorrow.


What we really want, what we really think skinniness or beauty will give us, is happiness.

We really just want to be vibrant and awesome and authentic and happy. We want great friends, we want to laugh, we want to speak our truths, we want to give our gifts, we want to be heard and special and alive. Being pretty or skinny or buff or “in perfect health” or “powerful” are all just things we imagine will get us what we want: happiness. But I swear to baby jesus and abraham and a rubber urban outfitters statue of buddha: it will not.

You can become society’s definition of gorgeous and be more miserable than ever. In fact, that happens more often than not, because what you were going after doesn’t come with anything real except more self-criticism, and you’re still relying on their approval. Perfectionism has no stopping point.

Do it NOW. Make plans for tomorrow to do all the things you say you’ll do once you become _____________________.

I promise you that is the only way to really live.





  1. morning_glory says:

    Beautiful but…how? You say all these lovely things and I so want to believe you and maybe half my head does but I just can’t take that leap of faith. Do you actually live that way? Do you actually believe all that? Because I know in myself that I give all sorts of lovely speeches about those exact same ideas but don’t follow any of them. I just want other people to.

    I am writing this in an agony of disordered freak-out after eating out with my family and therefore having dessert for the third day in a row, a dessert which happened to have lactose, which I am learning I am semi-intolerant to, so my stomach is swollen and unhappy. So I don’t really plan to eat dinner, but I know I’ll eat something, and feel shitty all evening, and it’s all such a mess, and I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m so ok most of the time until I’m suddenly just not. And having beautiful ideas about how I want to live just doesn’t cut it when I’m miserable and suffocating with guilt.

    • C says:

      I actually do live that way now. It is not a magical world where nothing goes wrong. It is not a life where I never worry or envy about looks. But my belief that looks and weight do not measure value and abilities and worth, outweighs the fear that I am only important if I conquer food/body/weight.

      Thinking about the women you know who are not the “ideal” but are dynamic and amazing and beautiful in their own right is proof. And with that proof you can believe it, and with that belief you can continue to work towards living and feeling that way, if it is something that is important to you! 🙂

  2. Ann B says:

    Yes, I am learning every day to remain calm and Fuck It when it comes to looking in the mirror and seeing a short woman shaped like a little teapot, Reminding myself it’s OK to recognize hungry and eat promptly…whatever is available and sounds good at the time. Not counting the calories or macronutrients. Remembering I’m worth it to get something to eat at the drive thru to eat on the trip home, instead of waiting to eat at home an hour away. It’s OK to buy a size larger jeans than I bought 2 months ago which was a size larger than two months prior to that. If I look better in the larger (drapes well) then I still look my best no matter my size. To be 50 pounds fatter than when I stopped dieting at 30-40 pounds from goal.
    If it takes 2 years before I start to lose weight naturally, then so be it. If I never lose it, I’ll learn to live with it. May need my arms lengthened if I get any rounder, but I’ll manage, as they don’t do that surgery…Ha!
    I’m letting the body perfection go (it is unattainable because the goal line keeps moving) and getting on with life and creative endeavors.
    Thank you for the article…it is on target.

    • C says:

      Beautifully said! I promise you, you are beautiful inside and out no matter what the “ideal”. Living your life is a beautiful, attractive thing.

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