A weighty post (about learning to love yourself where you’re at)

If you are triggered by topics such as weight gain/loss please don’t read this topic. Also, the subject matter might be slightly contravertial – read at your own risk.

Recently I’ve had a recovery englightenment, or rather I’ve seen a topic in a new light – and that topic is my  weight and the way I see myself.

I vaguely remember a time where weight wasn’t an issue for me. I was a slim child/pre-teen, so up until the age of 13 I really never gave it much thought. Nuttella and limitless white bread for breakfast – don’t mind if I do. Frenchfries and burgers for dinner, followed by cheesecake for dessert – don’t mind if I do. The meaning of the words “fat” and “calories” were an obscurity to me, in fact I enjoyed surprising others with just how much I was able to fit into that little body of mine. And life was pretty great that way.

Teen years, whe I started going through puberty and my body started changing – that’s when I started thinking about my weight. In the beginning it really wasn’t a big deal – I embraced the weight gain and my womanly figure. It wasn’t until people began commenting about my “weight gain” and how I should be dieting/exercising that I started worrying about it – and it was a downward spiral from there.

I started listening to diet tips and trying to diet (the typical ones where you quit after a few days). Then things got more drastic with crash diets and strict exercise regimes. Then came a time I gave it up all together, and tried to accept myself where I was at. Then I got into an unhealthy relationship, and really started getting “serious” about my diet, until it spiraled out of control into an ED. The rest I’ve talked about in earlier posts (you can read about it here) so I’m not going to discuss that issue.

The underlying reason for my weight lost attempts was low self esteem and body image. When I was in a place where I felt loved and accepted for who I was, those negative voices faded a bit, and my weight became less of an issue. When I was in a place where I felt unloved, unwanted or somehow inferior – I focused more on trying to change those negative aspects – all in an attempt to somehow feel better about who I was.

On the flip side of the coin – since my long recovery journey I’ve had to face the issue of weight gain several times. Sometimes I saw the need for it, other times I didn’t – but during the last year or so I definitely have. I wasn’t happy with my bones sticking out everywhere, or looking like a 14 year old girl instead of the 19 year old woman that I am. Especially now, I can hardly walk past a mirror without shuddering – it’s not a joke. And I always looked at that as a good and motivating thing – something that will push me forward

On my last trip to see my doctor (who, contrary to my first impression of her, might be the most supportive person in my life right now) we talked in depth about my health and what’s important for me to do right now. She said that aside from my low weight and acid reflux – there’s nothing seriously physically wrong with me yet. But she also said something that surprised me a bit. After telling her how much I hate the way I look right now she said – “You need to accept yourself where you are at right now, before you start trying to change yourself. Yes, you DO need to put weight on, but when you look in the mirror learn to love who you see. Weight gain shouldn’t be about self-hate, but about self-love”. This shocked me because I expected her to say  – “Yes, you look skeletal. You need to pack on the pounds to look normal again”.

This isn’t to say I think that weight gain for people in recovery should be an aspect that is pushed aside – especially for people at very low weights. But the underlying attitude shouldn’t be the same as the one that fueled your ED in the first place – of self-hate and loathing. When forced into hospitalized weight gain, I learned to hate food and weight gain, because of the way it for forced upon me. Even if I saw the reason for it, the fast pace it was forced on me became just too much for me to handle. I couldn’t start being asked by everyone – doctors, family members, friends several times a week “So, how much weight did you gain?”. There was so much focus on it, that I felt it almost defined me, and I didn’t want it to. I think a much healthier attitude is to  accept yourself as  you are, where you are at right now and start to make the changes for your health. Why? Because you recognize the need for change, because you love yourself and your body enough to do what is right. It may take a while, but be patient and consistent and treat yourself well.

I think the same thing can be related to weight loss as well. In order to do it in a healthy way, crash diets and quick fixes aren’t really an option – but small steady steps towards developing new and healthy habits will get you where you need to go. In the meantime we should all accept ourselves where we are at – today, flaws and all, because that’s what makes us beautiful and unique.

What are your thoughts on the matter? 

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5 comments

  1. This is a great post and something that every women or girl could benefit from: accepting themselves right where they are now, instead of doing it when they get there. It seems like you have one awesome doctor! It’s nice to have someone who you can talk with and who is supportive. Keep up the good work girl 🙂

  2. Yes! I agree with this. You can be weight restored but if your body image and self-love is still rock bottom, you are effectively only at the beginning of the battle. When I began recovery, I recognised the physical damage and weight gain, while difficult and really hard at times, wasn’t the hardest part of the process. You put you finger on it precisley. Food stopped being a method of self-hate. It became a means to an end for a long time in recovery. I had foods I avoided still, but I didn’t abuse it anymore. However, my mental state in terms of how I saw myself and felt about myself stayed in ED mode. It took a long time to change that because of the weight restoration and the fact that I didn’t know how to think any different anymore. How could I possibly respect what I’d become? You do need to be patient with yourself and help yourself adjust mentally at each stage. I made the mistake of ignoring the mental damage and it made the recovery process a lot longer in the end. That being said, weight restoration is very important too. If you go too slow with that, then you get bogged down and stuck in a rut with it. It’s a balance to be struck! 🙂 Keep going strong beautiful lady! You deserve it! 🙂

  3. I completely agree. This is something I had realized very early in my recovery and focused on a lot. I knew that the weight gain was going to happen whether I wanted it to or not so I put all of my energy into getting a better outlook on myself and my body as well as how I was as a person, because that was the most important part. If I was going to be okay with the weight gain I had to be okay with myself as a person and it took a while before I was able to be okay with gaining weight as a relation to myself as a person if that makes any sense at all.
    Stay strong girl!


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