Alex's Answer

I'm unhappy with my body

Your Question

I am extremely unhappy with my body and want to start starving myself, but each time I try I just, breakdown and cram on aload of sugar. I feel so guilty after that I make myself throw up after. I want to stop but I also want to have a flat stomach.

Answer

Hi there, you are very welcome to Ask Alex. Thank you for reaching out to us.

It’s scary to tell someone what has been going on for you, so you are very brave to take this step. You have told us that you are reduce your intake of food, then you binge on food, and afterward, you have feelings of guilt and throw up this food. We are glad you’ve told us what is going on for you, and it is a positive step that you want to stop. We have some information on our website about eating disorders that may help with how you are feeling and your behaviours: www.childline.ie/eating-disorders.

When we go out into the world, we are often bombarded by media, and the images we see are often not accurate. Though they look realistic, most images are edited and airbrushed, making it difficult to distinguish what is real and what is fake. In reality, bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. It’s important to remind ourselves that our bodies are only one part of who we are. Think about what you value in your friends. Is it their physical appearance, or is it something different, like their kindness or how they make you laugh? It’s easy to compare ourselves to others and strive for a specific body type, but often these behaviors are detrimental to our mental and physical health. Try to notice when these thoughts are arising. Is it a specific time of day, or is it more sporadic? Try Catch it, Check it, and Change it. Once a thought arises, notice it. Check what type of thought it is. Is it helpful or harmful? Would you say it to a friend? To change it, try to replace it with a more positive statement that you would say to a friend.

It is normal to have negative feelings about our body sometimes, especially with the influence of social media, but when there are behaviors such as restricting food or purging, it’s important to talk about how you are feeling to a trusted adult. You have a right to be happy and feel safe, and you have the right to be listened to and be heard. This adult could be a parent, guardian, teacher, friend, or school counselor. It is important for your mental well-being that you get the help and support that you deserve, and even though it can be very difficult, it can be helpful to talk about it. Your GP is also there to help and can refer you to other support services that could help.

You do not have to go through this alone. There are organisations that can offer help and support to you. One such organisation that specializes in eating disorders is bodywhys.ie. This website may help you understand what is going on for you. You can look through their information, and they may offer you direction on how to avail of supports.

If you are finding it hard to talk to those in your life whom you are close to, you are very welcome to chat with the Childline Team by phone on 1800 66 66 66 or through Live Chat on our website www.childline.ie. Childline services are free and confidential and are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Thank you for reaching out to us. Take care of yourself, and please reach out for support soon,

Alex

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