“Weight Restored” Doesn’t Mean I’m Better From My Eating Disorder

eating disorder - image of female leaning against a wall covered in graffiti, she has long hair, a hat on, and is wearing a hooded sweatshirt and glasses; she has a serious expression on her face; she is show from the waist up but is leaning against the wall

Throughout my life, I’ve had to “weight restore” on multiple occasions. It was always the same story. I gained weight, only to lose it again by reverting back to the eating disorder.

Just because someone is “weight-restored” doesn’t make them recovered.

Someone might be “weight-restored,” and coping with disordered thoughts in silence. They might believe that they aren’t “sick enough” because they don’t match the stereotype portrayed in the media and diet culture. I know because I felt this way.

I didn’t “look” like I had an eating disorder

My senior year I went through anorexia recovery treatment for the first time. I experienced extreme hunger, intrusive thoughts, compulsive and restrictive behaviors, the whole nine yards. But the thing that always got me was the thought that I wasn’t “underweight” at the time. So I couldn’t possibly be sick. I didn’t believe I could have anorexia if I didn’t physically look like the “stereotype.”

But let me tell you this; the thoughts are what come first. The thoughts precede the “look.” And the sad reality is, a majority of individuals don’t seek help, or are told they aren’t “sick enough” until they are visibly “sick.” All according to what? The number on a scale and a BMI chart created by an ASTRONOMER. Yes, the other symptoms play a role too, but weight and BMI hold the most power. 

“Weight restored” does not mean your eating disorder is gone.

I personally am not a fan of the term “weight restored” when it comes to eating disorder recovery. The term “weight restored” is a relative term. It’s attaches to it the idea that, when someone falls within the range proclaimed by a chart, they are “recovered.”

But here’s the kicker; despite a medical professional telling someone they are of a healthy weight, they may still experience all the same physical symptoms that they’d had before. They may still feel extreme hunger. And they may still be afraid of weight gain. They may still be “underweight” for their OWN body.

Guess what- our own BODIES are the only things that know what the term “weight restored” means.

Our bodies are the only things that know what our natural weight set points are.

This is why, despite being “weight restored” according to a chart or scale, one may still experience an abundance of physical symptoms that classify as an eating disorder.

You can’t tell if someone has an eating disorder by the way they look.

This is a big reason why I have a bone to pick with diet culture and eating disorder representation in the media. Being sick should never be a look. Those who struggle should never have to feel as though they have to “validate” their illness. They should never have to feel suppressed by a chart or a scale, or by someone telling them what is best for THEIR BODY. 

You can be “underweight” at any weight. And you can be malnourished at any weight. If you aren’t where your body is genetically programmed to be, your body will fight to get there.

You were created with so much intention and purpose and BEAUTY. Don’t fight it! With time, you will get to where you’re meant to be. Things will regulate. They will get better. I think you’re beautiful, and I know one day you’ll see it too.

“Weight restored” is a relative term

I used to use the term “weight restored” when talking about my recovery from an eating disorder. I put so much power and emphasis in my weight. What I thought it would be. Where I “should” end up based on charts I’d been shown in health class after health class. And doctor visit after doctor visit. 

From the moment we enter school, (maybe even before that) it’s engrained in our heads that health is a “look.” That health is defined by the number we see on a scale. And somehow, it got so incredibly twisted and contorted that many of us tie our worth to said number. 

I “weight restored” by the BMI chart standards a bit ago. But I was not “weight restored” according to my body. There was much restoration left to do. In fact, it hadn’t even started. There is so much more that we can’t see. And much of said restoration is just as much mental as it is physical. 

Rather than striving for “weight restoration,” I seek nutritional rehabilitation and food freedom from the eating disorder. I prefer these terms as they are much less tied to weight.

Because weight does NOT define me. Neither does an eating disorder.

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  1. says: Lizzie

    This article made so much sense to me. Reading this was a light bulb turning on moment. You have described me to a ‘T’. Thank you.

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