A battle with a mirror

“Quarantine 15 is the new freshmen 15.”

“Due to coronavirus, my summer body will be postponed until 2021.”

“If you haven’t lost weight all quarantine, you can only blame yourself. There’s still time to make all the changes you need.”

As I read those tweets, I found the small voice in the back corner of my brain that I thought was gone repeating the same statements over and over again.

“They’re right, you know.”

“You should be doing better.”

“Put down the cookie and get on the treadmill.”

I tried ignoring it the best as I could, but as someone who struggles immensely with body dysmorphic disorder, I could feel myself desperately wanting to sit in front of my childhood bedroom mirror and dissect everything I found wrong with myself.

My face.

My arms.

Everything.

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health disorder that forces an individual to obsess over an imagined or slight “flaw” in one’s appearance.

Each day of quarantine, I have to remind myself that I am doing my best.

Even if others try to remind me I’m not.

While being healthy is really important and we should be striving to eat well-balanced meals, these tweets are not promoting a healthy lifestyle. There is nothing healthy about diet culture, a set of beliefs that equates thinness to heath and moral virtue.

We are living in a time when things are rapidly changing, and for some, eating their favorite comfort foods may help soothe their anxieties about the uncertainty of the following months.

For those like myself who are living with disordered eating tendencies or an eating disorder, this time stuck at home surrounded by posts on social media pushing us to eat less and promoting fat-shaming may be major triggers that may be impossible to avoid.

During this time, instead of restrictive dieting, we should be focused on eating well-balanced meals that provide enough macronutrients and vitamins in order to fulfill the needs of our bodies. Listening to our bodies when they need nourishment is self-care.

The last thing we need to be worrying about while stuck at home is diet culture’s idea of a summer body, because last time I checked every body is a summer body.

Our fatphobic society tries to ingrain into all of us that gaining weight is bad, but if you survive this pandemic, you will have done better than others – even if you gained a few pounds.

To those publishing tweets concerning weight gain during quarantine I get it – you think you’re funny or inspirational to those who are dieting.

But when you went to hit tweet, did you think about the impact your tweet might have?

The impact on the senior in high school who uses eating their favorite comfort foods to deal with the anxiety of online classes and losing some of the most important days of their lives.

The impact on the individual who lost their income due to COVID-19 and are worrying if they will be able to pay their rent.

The impact on the girl who is so desperately trying to love herself no matter what she might tell herself otherwise.

To those who are struggling with their body image or mental health after seeing posts concerning weight gain during quarantine, please be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can in circumstances we never imagined to find ourselves in.

And finally, just eat the damn cookie.