Want To Help Someone Who’s Struggling? Here’s What To Do (and what NOT to do)

You don’t look sick, though. Maybe you should try eating vegan, and it will help you feel better about yourself.

I can still hear the words ring in my heart like I hear the sound of my alarm every morning. I heard these words when I was 13 years old and had finally reached out for help. There I was, finally being vulnerable and open about my struggles with food and body. I was finally sharing my deepest insecurities with an older adult.

This person’s response shook me to my core. These words changed the way I thought about myself, my body, and food until I was 28.

The sad truth

I didn’t want to develop an eating disorder or hide my body for years. I didn’t want to judge myself based on what I ate.

Sadly, in this society, people seem to think its okay to judge others based on how they look and what their food choices are.

It’s like we have this weird unsaid excellence that has silently and internally been agreed upon based on how we choose to eat or workout.

I just want to point out that you are not a better person because you eat “whole, clean, or unprocessed”. You aren’t a better human because you eat paleo, vegetarian, or vegan. And you aren’t a better person because you choose to eat low carb, high carb, low fat, high fat, no sugar, or junk-free.

You are a beautiful human.

The awesome truth

Your worth is not defined by what you chew on. It’s not defined by how your body looks, what size you are, or what your outer appearance says about you.

What is it defined by? It’s defined by how you feel, your character, what your thoughts are, and what you do with your life. What you eat actually doesn’t have a lot to do with it. 

People that truly matter in your life and want the best for you. They don’t care how you look in a swimsuit. They don’t care what you eat or how you work out, and they don’t care about what new diet fad you’re doing.

What they do care about, however, is what’s inside.

They care about the memories you make with them.  No one wants you to struggle with an eating disorder or food and body issues.

Sometimes I think back to that day. Would the course of my life have changed if that person asked, “How do you feel? Are you okay? How can I help?”

I will never know for sure. But what I do know is when someone who looks up to me reaches out for help, I should ask more of those questions. 

Image: @vinaysomanna

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