Royally Incomplete is the first book from TheInBetweenQueen, and it focuses on her eating disorder recovery journey. Her pen name comes from her perspective that “Health is not a destination, and at this juncture, I am still in a vastly expansive in-between.”
Each chapter focuses on a different issue or part of her story, and is followed by reflection questions, along with food for thought tips and some photos of her journal.
The author describes a pattern of disordered eating that began at age 7. At age 17 she was diagnosed with binge eating disorder, along with depression and anxiety. Her eating disorder also involved periods of restricting, excessive exercise as a compensatory strategy, and strict monitoring of calories consumed and burned. She explains how a sense of not being enough and taking on other people’s problems contributed to the use of bingeing as a coping mechanism.
She described how Overeaters Anonymous helped to some extent but overall didn’t work for her eating disorder. “The OA ideal of “weight restoration” through abstinence unfortunately strengthened my fear of fatness, and strengthened our society’s fear of fatness in me.”
Accessing treatment was impossible because of her weight, and “the idea that as a fat person, if I restrict and over exercise that I’m just being ‘health conscious’ is the exact reason why I was never deemed ‘worthy’ of treatment, despite my absolutely disordered behavior.”
She addresses topics like thin privilege, the damage done by the media and diet culture, and the dangerousness of the moral dichotomy that labels food as good or bad. She writes that “fat is not a bad word”, even though it “has the connotation of being morally equivalent to bad, undisciplined, lazy, out of control.”
The author points out how easy it is not to notice young people developing eating disorders, since gaining weight is considered maladjusted while losing weight was seen as the answer to all problems.
For the author, self-care and intuitive eating were important elements of her weight restoration. She has also found speaking up about her illness helpful, as “Telling on my ED is what makes it less apparent, less functional-and ultimately, makes me stronger.”
The book includes a recovery bill of rights, and ends with a list of recovery resources.
I liked that Theinbetweenqueen brings a strong voice to this book. There’s nothing glossed over and prettified, and she doesn’t hesitate to call BS on societal ideas of fatness and what that represents.
This book is a great choice for anyone interested in eating disorders, body positivity, or the problems inherent in diet culture.
Originally published at https://mentalhealthathome.org on August 28, 2019.