National Eating Disorders Association

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Old photos

I’m sitting in my room right now looking back in my trip to Canada last August and I am seeing myself in these photos but it isn’t me? The way I see myself now is just not who I actually feel I am. I know this doesn’t make sense but when I look at the old photos I was smaller, and happier, and I just feel joy when I look at them and when I look at myself now or photos now I want to hide and delete them. I don’t feel like I actually am reflecting who I want to be as a person.

I just don’t know how to find happiness. How do I loose weight but not too much weight. How do I find my true self without losing my whole self in the process.


Hi there. Regarding seeing yourself in old photos, I understand. I have been all different weights and thought with all my life that if I were only thinner I would be happier. Well, when I was in the midst of the anorexia or even just trying to be a certain number that I thought would keep or just make me happy, I realized it wasn't true. I was more depressed, more thinking about death on a daily basis and more miserable than I am now at a higher weight than I ever thought I would settle at. There is this awesome picture of my Mom and me taken at one of those kiosks and we were making funny faces and having fun, something I never did. Looking back at the photos now makes me sad as I looked like I was dying. I probably was. This is a very sensitive topic as many of us have the misconception that eating disorders are about food and weight, and while this is true at some level and one I could never understand when I was told it really isn't the main issue, it truly isn't. What you are asking is how do I find me. You apart from what you weigh. We are so much more than what our outward appearance shows. I know society places such an importance on looks, no doubt, and as a result there are so many that are unhappy because of how we look or what we weigh. This is so sad because the collective us are so much more beautiful than any scale could ever say. It is important to find your significance in who you are, not what you weigh. I know, easier said than done, and it may take a while for you to get there, I know it took me way too long. For me, I have a solid faith in knowing that my identity comes through who Jesus says I am. I also know that how I love other. I how I take care of my dog and care for her and love on her. The love and care I give to my clients. Knowing that I need to look outside of myself and find who I am in other than outward appearances. Don't get me wrong. I know it is important to take care of ourselves, to do personal care, dress well, carry ourselves well. But it really goes deeper than that. Can you identify anything in you that you like? That you do well? That you enjoy doing? What makes you you? You may have to think about that for a while as it isn't really an easy question to answer. I KNOW what it is like to look at pictures of me at all weights and some even today when taken on my dad's phone and I am like...delete that I look terrible. I am not saying I do not have issues with how I look in pictures and have questions about body image. I would be lying if I said it never bothers me. Sometimes it does. But I do my best not to define me. For years therapists would say the stupidest things like, eating disorders are not about food. I would be like, huh? How do you mean, it isn't about food. That is all that it IS about. But with perspective behind me some, I now understand what they were saying and I actually believe this now. It is just like any other addiction, to drugs, shopping, alcohol, fill in the blank. It is about trying to stop pain, or memories. Or learning how to live. Not easy things. So I want to encourage you to, well, you said the pictures don't reflect who you want to be as a person. May I ask how that is. And then, how do you want to be as a person? What do want to do, to be like, what are your ambitions? Do you have dreams or visions for what you want to do with your life that has nothing to do with food. These are some thins to think about. I know this may not be meeting your needs as a response to your post. I am sorry if it isn't. I just want to let you know you have value. You are important. You were created for a reason. See if you can figure out some of these things. I hope this helps. Take care.

iwanttolive and I am


Hi, iwanttolive. Since you mentioned some concerning thoughts in the past, we just wanted to post up some resources in case you or anyone else on the forum needs them. Crisis Textline: Text "NEDA" to 741-741 or www.crisistextline.orgSuicide Prevention Lifeline: Call (800) 273-8255 or IMAlive: Call (800) 784-2433 or www.imalive.orgDial Help Inc: Call (906) 482-4357 or Text (906) 356-3337 or Please take care!

You are more than how you look

I understand what you're saying and I also agree with what I want to live said. When I was at my thinnest I was more depressed than ever before. I was more miserable at my skinniest weight and yet I kept thinking that if I got thinner I would be happier. It wasn't until I went into treatment that I was finally able to say to myself that who I am is way more important than how I look or what I eat. I also have been able to tell myself that I am not my shape or size. I am still me no matter what shape or size I am. I don't know if this will help you but I hope it can at least get you on the right track to finding out who you really are and not being so focused on how you look because that is not who you really are. The person you are on the inside as what really counts and I'm sure you know that and it does not have anything to do with how you look on the outside. It never has and it never will. That's the eating disorder lying to you if you believe that in any way. Try to hang on to the knowledge that Your Heart Makes You Who You Are not your body.