How I'm Learning to Accept Gaining Weight in Eating Disorder Recovery
Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741.
Staring at myself in the mirror, sitting cross-legged on the floor trying not to be distracted by my body, I am debilitated by loneliness once again. All I want to do is crawl into a ball, cry myself to sleep and disappear for a while. All I want is to escape the voice inside me calling me fat, ugly, disgusting, worthless and fat, fat, fat. I want to be a “normal” person again who isn’t consumed with thoughts about weight, but instead has thoughts about friends, success and dreams for the future. Yet, as I sit in front of the mirror, all I can think is how gruesome my future may be if I don’t lose weight. All I can think is how weight and food will never stop torturing me.
Even in my process of recovery, the voices of Ana (anorexia) and Mia (bulimia) never seem to quiet themselves. I’m terrified of falling back to Ana once again. It’s as if Ana and Mia cannot quite decide which one should claim their territory over my body. It’s as if my mind and body has become a game board where Ana and Mia are the players and they take turns making their moves until one of them will destroy my soul altogether.
Sitting in front of the mirror, I can’t help but feel completely hopeless. How will I ever love myself if I just keep getting bigger? How could I possibly love myself at my current weight? Worst of all, how am I supposed to continue to make it through life, day by day, just trying to survive and ignore the thoughts of food and weight that are always consuming me? What kind of a life is one only dedicated to eating or not eating, losing weight or hating myself for gaining weight?
I’d be lying if I said that, suddenly, as I stare at myself in the mirror, all of the answers to my questions became clear and I suddenly can accept the idea of gaining weight or intuitively eating. I’d be lying if I said I suddenly discovered how to love myself, regardless of my weight. Trying to decide how to eat and when to eat are still constant thoughts that are always at least in the back of my mind.
Perhaps experiencing weight gain is not a loss, but instead another challenge to stretch our comfort zones and demonstrate the endless amount of strength we have inside of us. Struggling for self-acceptance only grows our ability to reach true recovery. After all, many of us carry the weight of depression and self-hatred every day. Surely, we can destroy the self-hatred and depression. Any amount of weight is healthier than the hatred I subjected my mind to every day. As incredibly hard as it is to accept, I am not my weight — as much as Ana and Mia would like me to believe I am. I have so much more to gain from recovery, even if a few extra pounds has to come with it.
As I write this, I still struggle with the weight that has collected on my body. Yet, I also can’t help but notice the tiny spark of light that exists within my eyes, as if a small part of me is begging for recovery and self-love. No matter how hard, this is the part of myself I need to nourish. Despite what Ana and Mia would like me to believe, I deserve more than they have to offer me. I have to keep fighting in spite of them, even if that means accepting a few extra pounds, because I am more than my weight. The burden of self-hatred and depression are so much heavier than any amount of weight I could possibly gain in recovery.
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.
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Thinkstock photo via Grandfailure.