For as long as I can remember, I've had horrible body image. I remember sitting in my fifth-grade classroom looking over at my friend A and thinking to myself that my thighs were fatter than hers. Fifth grade, how sick is that? I swear that my parents didn't do this to me - my mom has told me a million times that I'm beautiful, but never emphasized physical appearance as an important part of my character. Regardless, I grew up with zero self-esteem and decided that being skinny was the answer.
So on the surface, at least, my eating disorder has always been about feeling fat and wanting to lose weight. Of course the perfectionism and anxiety and OCD tendencies have factored into it, but primarily I've just felt ugly and fat and thought that being skinnier would change that. And for some reason, no matter how physically crappy and exhausted and sick I've felt, the thought of being fat seems worse. My dietician and I once compiled a pros and cons list of weight restoration, and there was literally ONE con: bad body image. I know all about body dysmorphia and that I'm probably more critical of my body than anyone else would be, but feeling fat is real. And it sucks.
Anyway, I think that one of the major reasons I've been so resistant to weight gain is because my body image is so terrible that in my mind, it outweighs all the other negative aspects of having an eating disorder. Heart palpitations? Whatever! At least I still fit into my skinny jeans! Of course, I conveniently ignore the fact that my body image doesn't ever improve no matter how low my weight gets.
But recently, something has shifted in my head. Don't get me wrong - my body image still sucks. But for the first time, I'm feeling like there could be something more important: health. Not in a hokey, love-your-curves rah rah rah! kind of way, but in a real, intrinsic, deep-down way. Basically, I'm sick of being sick. I don't want to be tired and hurting and miserable all the time. I don't want to be worried about what will go wrong next. What kind of life is that? I'm so young, my body shouldn't be falling apart like this. I want to get up in the morning and be able to do whatever I want to do - walk, run, bike, swim, veg on the couch, bake cookies, anything. Right now, I can't, and it hurts so much to realize that.
Maybe, finally, I'm getting past this paralysis over weight gain. True, my therapist may have more or less required it by making me sign a contract, but maybe I'm finally doing it. As a matter of fact, I'm drinking a Boost at this very moment. (But ew, don't get the vanilla, it's disgusting.) I hate that it took this long, and I hate having to admit that everyone around me was right all along, that I don't know best and that I do need help, but being healthy and getting a life back is worth it to me.