When I was toying with recovery, the reasons holding me back were really very silly and made no sense. I see this now, but back then they were very real to my eating disordered mind. Why was I so opposed to gaining weight back? Why was I so afraid?
Sure, I had the nagging feeling that we all seem to have: That we’ll gain forever, in to infinity and become morbidly obese. My clear thinking self knew this wouldn’t happen, the real Kathryn knew that when she was eating as she pleased, moving her body in any way she pleased and living life fully, she maintained her weight effortlessly. Our bodies know what they’re doing, they know what size they are healthy at and they will do everything to maintain this. This is called the body weight set point. This is something we will get in to in future posts.
So what was it that was so scary about gaining the weight? About being size x? Well, first, there was my fiance. What if he didn’t find me attractive anymore? What if he no longer wanted me? Then, oddly enough it was his and my family. What would they think of me for gaining so much weight? They’d talk about me behind my back and make fun of the fact that I had let myself go. I was so skinny for so long that it’s pretty much what I was known for and, actually, envied for. Which now, disgusts me.
I can remember every single time I ate something that anyone thought was “fat inducing,” I would get comments like “YOU’RE going to eat THAT?” and with looks that just screamed “someone’s going to gain that butt back.” I felt shamed every time I wanted to recover. Every time I wanted to challenge fear foods.
Then I worried about my customers. You see, I own a cafe and for years I’ve been the skinny baker/cook who can “eat whatever she wants and never gains an ounce” (yeah, right). I thought they would think less of me for embracing my natural shape.
Then I realized how ridiculous that all was. I realized that if my fiance, who calls me the love of his life every single day and treats me like a princess didn’t love me anymore because I chose to recover, then he never loved me. And, frankly, he could leave. He could go find someone else who would rather suffer for the rest of their life. Suffer both mentally and physically.
I decided to tell my family to stop making me feel ashamed about my food choices. I told them that I was tired of being unhealthy, miserable and, well, tired. I was tired of being hungry all. the. time. and I was tired of fighting my body. I was going to eat whatever I wanted, when I wanted and my body was going to become it’s natural shape once more. I was going to feel energetic and strong and healthy again. I was going to love life again and their opinion on how I looked didn’t matter.
Then I realized that my customer’s opinion of me also didn’t matter. Know why?
This is MY body. MY life. I choose how I live. I choose how I eat, I choose how I move my body, I choose when I rest and I choose to live in the happiest, healthiest way possible. For me. It’s MY body that would suffer with osteoporosis the longer I went without a period. It’s MY body that was always tired. It’s MY body that never had a sex drive, desire to live, or happiness. It’s ME who suffered with depression and ME who had stomach pains and nausea every day. Not anyone else. If my body settled at size x or size y, that’s my body’s choice. My body reflects the life I am most happy living.
I enjoy having a drink once or twice a week. I enjoy going out to dinner with friends and my fiance. I enjoy burgers and pasta and steak and potatoes. I do not enjoy salad unless it’s ceasar. I love bacon. I love banana bread with butter. I love fruit with cream and chocolate. When I’ve worked really hard all day, I enjoy listening to music at night, peacefully on my couch with or without a glass of wine and some cheese. I love yoga, hiking, walking, volleyball and tennis. I also love lazy sundays where I binge watch netflix all day. Vegetables hurt my stomach unless they’re well cooked and I can’t eat a lot of fruit. I thrive on dairy, carbs and fat. All the carbs. My body was going to settle at a point that I was able to live this life. It wasn’t going to look like I spend time in the gym lifting weight because, well, I don’t. It wasn’t going to be super lean and perfectly toned because that wasn’t healthy for my body. I wasn’t going to exercise to sculpt my body. I was going to do whatever made me happy in every moment of everyday.
I’m not saying this was easy. Believe me, it was rough. I fought my ED mind all day every day. But as the weight went on, it got easier. The healthier I got, the more my ED died. The more nourished my body and mind were, the less dysmorphia I experienced. As I healed my brain, I saw myself for what I really was. I learned to love myself and I didn’t need anybody’s approval because I approved. I approved of me. I WANTED to put more weight on and with time, my body changed to reflect my lifestyle. It settled in to my shape, the shape I always was, and it was and is beautiful. I didn’t gain in to infinity and you know what?
My fiance is more attracted to me than before. It was all in my head that he would think less of me. In fact, he had wanted me to gain weight for years. He was over the moon. He got the old Kathryn back and he loved her even more.
My family thinks I look fantastic and are very happy that I am healthy again. Now, there are members in my family who are disordered themselves… and for that I feel sad. I’m sad for them. And, when they ask me what I ate for dinner and I happily say a burger and caesar salad, a hard cider and topped it off with some chocolate, and they look at me with alarm and proudly say that they ate bowls of vegetables and a piece of cheese, I feel sad for them and then carry on with my day.
My customers? Well they didn’t even notice much. They just thought I looked better and better.
Did any of that matter? No. If anyone didn’t approve, I didn’t need them in my life. Neither do you. You don’t need anybody in your life who disapproves of your body, your choices or your life. We get one life and one body. We all deserve to live in a way that makes us happy, healthy and fulfilled. Whatever size that may be. All sizes are beautiful. you only have time in your life for people who support you and make you feel amazing no matter what. It’s you who feels all of the negative sides of your eating disorder. It’s you who suffers the most. And YOU deserve life. A long, healthy, happy life. You are beautiful, no matter what size or shape your body is.
That’s all for today, guys. I’d love to hear your thoughts.