I have always said that in disorder, sickness grows in the dark. Knowing that this is my experience and belief, when I am quite, my eating disorder is raging beneath the surface in the depths of my mind like a storm building on the horizon. I hear the rumble of you are not good enough in the back of my mind long before the full blown ED brain takes the reigns and commences control of my behaviors and actions. I am still in control when I hear that distant rumble, but if I don’t sound the alarm when it starts, the whirlwind of my disorder can sweep me off my feet before I even have a chance.
I have had this experience with my old weight rules recently, and as I need to sound the alarm on myself, maybe you can use a siren, as well.
When I was deep in my disorder, I had a weight that I could not and would not exceed. If I was getting close to this number on the scale, I would use disordered behaviors… ANY disordered behaviors to see that number get back down to a “safe range” (eye roll inserted) for my liking. Well, when I went to treatment, although I did not know how much I weighed, I had done my research with weight restoration, and I had an idea of end weight goal; and of course, it was well over the allotted amount of space I had always allowed myself to take up in this world… So, after months of fighting and griping, I allowed my weight rule to go up to what the doctors were saying would be the best chance of me being recovered…. But a new rule was silently put into place at this point. Sound familiar?
Although I knew I wanted to get better, my rules for my weight have silently still been in place. I maintained the new allotted weight requirement for a good six months into my recovery, and then I began to gain weight. I know this because I had to buy new clothes, my body was changing and developing, and I felt more energy and strength, as well. Nothing bad, nothing drastic, just new. And I am not sure about you, but new to me can be frightening. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a routine blood-work check-up… Although I did a blind weight check (when a person does not look at the number on the scale), when the sweet nurse handed me my paperwork summary of the visit, there it was. My weight in all its glory staring back at me on the paper in bold print. My heart sank. I was well over my post treatment weight rule. Well over.
This hit me hard. Super hard. I didn’t talk about it to anyone, I crumpled the paper, and shoved my feelings in the back burner of my mind to fester and smolder for months. Now, in full blown summer vacation/bikini mode, my insecurities are rearing their ugly heads. Instead of owing my body, I am feeling shame. Instead of enjoying the ocean view, I am checking to see if I have gained another roll. Instead of playing the waves with my kids, I am contemplating what others may think of me as they walk by. One word to describe those thoughts and feelings: miserable.
So as I sat in silence, my husband called me out, and we finally spoke of the dark place I had allowed my mind to wonder. We brainstormed reasons one cannot put a cap or limit on weight, and I would like to speak them to you and also to myself:
1. You are human, not man made.
Duh- it seems so simple, but why do we hold our animate beings to inanimate standards??? All living things fluctuate, grow, evolve, change… why would our weight not do the same? I was born six pounds… thank goodness I have grown since then!
2. Nature is on a constant cycle- so are you.
The moon goes though phases throughout the month, and I bet no one ever judges it. A flower blooms and wilts in its own time, not ours, yet we give it sympathy and grace. The cycle of nature is beyond human power, and our bodies are a part of that cycle. Enjoy each season as it comes. Our bodies are no different.
3. Every body is beautiful. Period.
Sitting on the beach, looking around, I saw all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages of human beings enjoying the day. I thought to myself, what a blessing to have so much diversity in this world. How boring would it be for us all to look perfect? And what is perfect, anyway? I know my perfect sure looked different than my husbands. No one way, shape, color, gender, ANYTHING is perfect, and the sooner we embrace that within ourselves, the sooner we will get to share our light with the world.
After further conversation, a little bit of reality check, and much needed letting go, I came to the conclusion. I need to love more and fear less. My body is not something to fear, it is something to embrace at every shape and stage. My body is not something to shame it is something to show gratitude towards and appreciation to. My body is not something to regulate, it is something that will be a vessel for me on this journey through life… and I better treat it well so that life can be one filled with joy, happiness, and health. Weight is irrelevant to joy. Weight is irrelevant to health. I need to start living those beliefs, not letting rules hold me back from joy. How about you?