themighty logo

Gaining Weight in Recovery When I Don't 'Need' To


I have been in recovery for almost two years, but this past week has brought on a new situation: gaining weight when I don’t “need” to.

For some individuals just starting out on their journey with recovery, it’s necessary to gain weight. I did need to gain weight to reach my body’s happiest and healthiest place. I am fortunate enough to see a dietician only about every six weeks now to check in and so she can monitor my weight. In all my sessions in the past year or so that I’ve been seeing her, I’ve been told I’m maintaining my weight and that’s that. I’ve definitely had urges to lose weight, but overall I’ve been good about saying no to those thoughts.

Today, I received the feedback that my weight had gone up. What? Why? After all this time? Immediately, my mind started having all these thoughts. Am I just going to keep gaining weight now? Can I no longer trust my body? What am I doing? How do I lose weight now if I’m in recovery? I don’t need to gain weight. Maybe I should start going to the gym again even though I hate it. Am I out of control? Help!

I can’t tell you exactly why I gained weight; there could be a million reasons. Weight typically does fluctuate, could have been the time of day, it’s close to my time of the month, hormones, water weight, a billion possibilities. And yet my first thought was to question whether I could still trust my body to tell me what it needs.

This experience has definitely tested me. I thought I would just always maintain my weight. But the fact of the matter is, bodies change, and my body knows more than my mind what it needs to do. Nothing good has ever come from me listening to what my mind says about my weight. So despite all of these thoughts today, I am writing this while eating my dinner and will fight the thoughts that say I should now lose weight. I know I have a tough time with body image, and I know my body is the single element in the world that cares the most about me. It carried me through so much mistreatment,
and it will carry me through this. Maybe it’s just temporary, maybe this is the
new norm, but I am choosing to say: “Dear body, I trust you.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by iVangelos