Especially if you’ve been suffering for a long time, it can be incredibly hard to go from extremely thin to a healthy weight.
Most of the time a healthy weight feels ‘fat’ and ‘uncomfortable’ and even like you've failed,’ when in reality, it’s a wonderful accomplishment.
So why is this?
Well, gaining weight is one of the main fears for anorexics so this would make sense; getting to a healthy weight can come as a ‘bad’ thing for us.
I know, when I left treatment at my healthy weight, I felt worse that when I went in at a dangerously low weight. And I think I know why this was.
I had been at the same low weight for about three years so I was used to seeing myself as that weight and that size. I was used to feeling a certain way within this thin body I had created for myself. So when I started gaining, I felt as though I was twenty times bigger.
It’s just like anything we change in life. If it’s something we’ve lived with for a long enough time, when we try to change it, everything is going to feel different and foreign, and most of the time, it’s going to feel unnatural to us.
Because I was so used to being at an unhealthy weight, when I reached my healthy weight, I didn’t know what to do. Everything felt so unnatural for me. It was as if I was transformed into someone else with a whole new body and I hated it.
So this is where the whole accepting a new image comes into play.
In order for me to heal and recover, I had to accept the weight gain and ride it out long enough to feel comfortable again.
Change is not going to be easy at first because we are not used to it, that’s why they say it takes at least thirty days to change a habit. It takes time to get accustomed to a new way of living and thinking.
And the same goes for recovery weight gain.
We must accept that we no longer need or want the body we once had when we were sick and learn to see a new image for ourselves.
We must learn to view ourselves in a different light than when we were sick.
We are no longer living in that old body anymore, so we must let that go and appreciate this new body we have.
I know this concept isn’t an easy one to accept, especially in the beginning, it can feel so overwhelming and scary that you just want to go back to what you’ve known, but when we can learn to be patient and ride out the uncomfortable sensations, accepting becomes easier, until we finally feel at home in our new bodies.
Some of the tools I used in order to make this transition easier were:
Journaling and writing down my feelings.
Reading positive books and stories.
Looking at photos of myself before and seeing how sick I looked.
Knowing that going back to treatment was not something I wanted to do.
Focusing on how the food was nourishing my body.
Playing with my dogs.
Talking with my mom.
Wearing clothes that fit and were comfortable.
Realizing that in time I would be okay.
Realizing that my feelings would not last forever.
Remembering why I wanted to recover.
Positive collage posters about recovery.
Remembering the things I wanted to do now that I was healthy.
Realizing that the weight would redistribute and feel more natural with time.
Talking back to Ed.
Knowing that I was stronger now.
Realizing how much more energy I had now.
Finally being able to find pants that fit and looked good.
How did you deal with your weight gain? What helped you?