Over the past year I have been in body depletion, heart stopping, high risk of death mode and back. That is the beauty and bizarre nature of recovery. One month you are dying, the next you are learning to live. Weight restoration is often a part of this process. It is hard not only physically, but mentally to accept the change that a person with an eating disorder fought tooth and nail to control for months and maybe even years. Well, today, I am taking a stand. No more talk of weight gain- not how much, not how little, not even how long… Let me tell you why.
Weight restoration can be terrifying
I was contacted by a fellow warrior about the discomfort of weight gain over time -even in recovery. She was blessed with being restored enough to gain back her period, and a joyful step forward turned quickly into an apprehensive fear. Her eating disorder voice snuck in and told her that the amazing regaining of health and body function meant that she had “gone too far”. Remember, folks- the eating disorder voice can sneak in at any moment and turn something beautiful like a family meal, a walk with a friend, or a natural bodily function such as a period from a sign of health into the black hole that you worked so hard to crawl out of. Here is the honest truth that I want every warrior to hear:
Weight restoration is not about gaining weight- it is about gaining life.
Let’s be honest… if a person is in the position that they need to restore weight of ANY amount, than there is no way to set a base number at that said person’s lowest weight. When I was fighting my nutritionist on “what my base weight” should be, she asked me a profound question: “Brooke, as an adult (since I suffered since the age of 15 with eating disorder behaviors), do you have any clue what you actually weigh? I mean, truly? Without restriction, purging, or exercise? Be honest. You have not a clue where your body wants or needs to be.” Boom. She got me. I did not know where my body wanted to be weight wise because I always decided for it.
I had to come to terms with the face that I had to let go and let my body be.
Now, when I am asked my lowest weight or how much I have gained in weight restoration, I simply say, “I am who I am.” Those numbers are so meaningless compared to the life I gained. Those numbers mattered at one time, but I am happy to report that they no longer plague me. I can walk by a scale without jumping on. I can look at my body with pride and gratitude, not with disdain and distrust.
Recovery is possible, warrior. It is possible indeed.