Dear Nicole Arbour,

I'm sure most of you have either heard of or seen the video that YouTube "comedian", Nicole Arbour, posted this week.

If you haven't, here it is (*trigger warning*):

When she was called out and temporarily banned on YouTube for this video, she responded on Twitter by saying:

“Wow, I'm the first comedian in the history of @YouTube to be #censored There are graphic videos about murder and torture, but satire is."


I don't know about anyone else, but I was only able to get through the first three minutes of this video before turning it off.

Before I get any further into this post, I want to establish that this video is not satire. If you're making someone or an aspect of someone that they can't necessarily change the brunt of a joke, it isn't humor. If you're laughing at someone else's expense--it's bullying (intentional or not).

No one has the right to criticize, laugh at, or make generalizations about another person's body.
We're all fighting battles that no one but ourselves can see.

Additionally, words and actions--even those which are intended to be "satirical", always have consequences beyond their original intentions.

When I was in high school, I played on a competition soccer team before and during my eating disorders. While I was experiencing my binge eating disorder (and while at my highest weight), I can remember struggling to get my jersey and soccer shorts on my body--since I had bought them when I was anorexic, for games and practices. Because my thighs touched (I also want to clarify that having thighs that touch is not a bad thing), my shorts which were already too small would get stuck between my legs as I walked or ran. Not only was it uncomfortable, it was embarrassing.

It was a constant reminder of my weight.

One day at practice, one of my teammates noticed my shorts getting caught between my thighs as we walked off the field for a water break.

With other teammates around her, she stopped me, pointed my shorts and said:

"Hey Alyson, is your crotch hungry? Because it's eating your shorts!"

As everyone around her laughed, I fought back tears and tried to laugh along.

Although she thought what she said was funny, I went home and cried afterwards.

Then I binged,

And hated myself even more than I already did.

I'm sure that she didn't realize how little control I had over my body size at that time or even the extent to which her words hurt me.

She didn't know how humiliated I was about the fit of my uniform on my now bigger body.
She didn't know that I would gorge myself multiple times a day until my stomach couldn't take it anymore, in order to forget how much I loathed how I looked.
She didn't know that I was on the brink of an emotional breakdown.

But, she did know that I was fat.

Although I haven't experienced fat-shaming to the extent that I know others have, I know that fat-shaming is a real thing. I've also noticed that those who tend to say it doesn't exist are usually the same people that have never been a victim of it.

They haven't gone home crying after having their weight made fun of at school.
They haven't had to worry about exercising or eating in public.
They haven't been labeled as a fat person, rather than just a person.

Fat-shaming is a prevalent aspect of our culture.
And contrary to what Nicole Arbour thinks, there is no such thing as "good" fat-shaming.

Fat-shaming doesn't "help" anyone; it usually makes things worse for those dealing with weight issues by intensifying "bad habits" and shattering already fragile self-esteem.

Or, it can cause people to lose weight through desperate and unhealthy means (eating disorders) because they've been told to hate their bodies.

It's also important to note that societal perceptions of health aren't always healthy either.

Why are we so quick to condemn those who are fat and praise those who are skinny, when being skinny can be just as harmful and deadly (if not more so--trust me, I know) as being fat?

Being overweight isn't healthy, but that doesn't mean that it isn't okay to be overweight.
You are not less of a person if you have fat on your body.
And you are not joke or something to be satirized.

We are all entitled to respect and happiness regardless of our weight; fat does not eliminate a person's humanity--even if you're included in the "35% of Americans that are OBESE".

Yes, we all are given one body; but your body doesn't have to be perfect in order for you to appreciate it.

Body positivity isn't about loving being fat or loving having fat, it's loving who you are regardless of fat, disabilities, or whatever traditional beauty standards state.

It's about not taking your body for granted by letting the opinions of those around dictate your perception of yourself and your self-worth.

There are so many more things I could say in response to this video, but I probably should end this post here before I say something I regret.

I don't know if there's a solution to end fat-shaming, but I think that having a greater degree of sensitivity and acceptance towards others is a good place to start.

And as for Nicole Arbour and those who agree with her,

Ignore them.
They're a joke.


Lately, I've been stressed out.
Okay, that was definitely an understatement.

Lately, I've been REALLY stressed out.

Between Type 1 Diabetes, work, career decisions, and every day life, stress has become almost second nature to me.

Which is more terrifying than it sounds.

In the context of my life, stress has a direct tie to disordered eating and depression.

When I was in high school, I was severely stressed out (and consequently depressed) to the point where I contemplated suicide on a daily basis.

Along with that, I ate food incessantly to forget about the world around me.
It was a coping mechanism which later became my second eating disorder and eventually resulted in my third.

I binged on food and too often, I eventually found my head shoved inside of a toilet in the hopes of helping my body forget the pain I had just put it through.

For the longest time, I was afraid that this is what the rest of my life would consist of.
Bingeing, purging, hating myself.

Wanting to die.

I couldn't imagine a life outside of my eating disorders--I couldn't see an end to my pain.

(As I'm typing this out, I realize that the words on this computer screen will never adequately explain or express how dark of a time that was for me.  I guess we never fully comprehend anyone's sadness like we do our own. Words can only describe the big picture of life-- they're shallow. Life is too deep and our experiences are too intricate to be defined by letters on a page.

But, hey. We can still try.)

Throughout all of the recent stress, I've found myself reverting back to small binges and urges to run to the bathroom and throw up... even on an empty stomach.

When I've looked in the mirror recently, I've started to see the darkness of four years ago watching and waiting from behind my eyes for the perfect moment to come forward again.

I think that's the terrifying thing about allowing yourself to step into the world of eating disorders, even if it's just for a moment, it's nearly impossible to leave.

I don't mean for this to sound disheartening or dismal. You can be cured from an eating disorder, I've done it--but it wasn't easy. When I get stressed out, I don't binge like I used to and I don't allow myself to go any further than kneeling next to a toilet--but the fear of having an instant of weakness and losing ground I've painfully gained is tortuous.

I once read that we fear most the things which we've already experienced.
And I know that to be true.

I've been through Hell, and I don't want to go back.

In all honesty, I have no idea where I'm going with this blog post or why I decided to take such a intense spin on my experiences.

I guess I'm worried about more than just myself.
I know what it's like to walk a path that you never wanted or intended to take.
And I don't recommend it to anyone.

If I could talk to myself in high school, I would try my hardest to stop her from starting her first "diet".
I would try to convince her to find help sooner.
I would try to tell her that she is beautiful at any weight.
I would try to persuade her that her stress would just be for a moment.
I would try to make her understand that not eating, eating too much or throwing up what you eat doesn't solve anything; it makes everything worse.

It makes every harder.

It makes everything scary.

Maybe this post is my open letter to any woman or girl who is contemplating taking on an eating disorder or already wading through one.

To all of you that this applies to:
Stop while you're ahead.

If you feel like you're in control of your disorder, you're not.
If you think bingeing while you eat, restricting what you eat, and throwing up what you eat aren't eating disorders, they are.
If you believe that your habits won't have any lasting effects, they will.


If you feel like you're alone, you're not.
If you think you're a failure, you're not.
And if you believe that you can escape, you will.

Whenever I find myself inching back into my old habits and mentalities, I have to remind myself that I am better than this--stronger than this.

I am not weak because I have a weakness, I am strong because I am constantly fighting my weakness.

Additionally, having an eating disorder doesn't mean that you're weak, but eating disorders do require strength in order to be overcome.

So please, be strong sooner rather than later.
Be strong now, so you don't have to be strong later when you can barely find the strength to lift your head out of a toilet bowl.

It can be done, but it's much harder that way.

And much more stressful.