I stumbled across a Netflix movie called To The Bone. It stars Lily Collins who plays a young woman struggling with anorexia. After trying numerous in-patient treatment programs, her step mother finds a new radical doctor, played by Keanu Reeves. Lily’s character, Ellen, begins this new in-patient program lead by the radical doctor which takes place in a house with five other woman and one man all struggling with eating disorders of some kind.
If you have Netflix, I highly recommend this movie. It is very raw and emotional at times. It really hit home with me on many levels. Ellen is fixated on counting calories and exercising. As are the other patients in the house. Food can be an addiction but unlike drugs or alcohol, you can’t just stop eating. If you do, you will die. And this movie really brings to light the seriousness of anorexia and the impact it has on not only Ellen but her family and even the other patients in the house.
I read an article on the actress Lily Collins. She struggled with an eating disorder years ago. She shared that she had fears she could digress if she chose to play this role. She had to keep reminding herself daily that they were paying her to play a role and not to look skinny. She said as it turned out, it was very therapeutic to play this character and she was glad she took on the role.
Food is on one side of the addition spectrum. Weight loss can also be an addiction. In the thick of my early years with Weight Watchers, I traded food for activity. I couldn’t eat and I didn’t know what I should do with myself, so I exercised a lot. When Kenyon worked the night shift, I would be at the gym exercising for hours. I just didn’t know what else to do. Weight loss consumed me. Counting calories (points) and thinking about food was a constant. I would often have my meals planned out and pre-tracked for several days in advance. Kenyon tells me now it used to drive him crazy how I was always thinking about what we were having for dinner the next day when we hadn’t even had breakfast today.
Addiction can take on many forms and sometimes you don’t know how to reach out for help. This image of what you should look like or what weight people tell you that you should be starts to take over. It is exhausting trying to please everybody else. Eating disorders are no joke. If you think you need help, please reach out to somebody. Even if it is finding a counselor you can talk to. Learning to love yourself takes time. Be patient and please treat yourself with love.