Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Growth Charts

My dietician has been bugging me to have my pediatrician fax over my childhood growth charts for months now. Whoops, I kept forgetting to do that... Anyway, she thinks having my whole history will give her a better idea of where my final weight needs to be. Luckily, I had the same pediatrician from birth to age 19, so all my height/weight records were in the same place and it was easy to track them down once I actually remembered to do it. J and I went over them in my appointment today, which was pretty interesting. I basically tracked right along the XXth percentile for both height and weight as a kid (not counting the awkward pre-puberty growth spurt when I shot up in height and became this insanely awkward, gangly string bean child with oversized hands and feet for a year or two). Then puberty came and I had a small bump in weight, followed by the massive drop-off in seventh grade when my ED first started. I got back to my previous percentile line by high school, and stayed around there until my next big weight loss in college.

A couple good things about seeing my historical growth trajectory laid out: (1) It gave me further evidence that I am not, in fact, a blubbery obese whale. From a strictly medical sense, I have never been overweight in my life, and I weigh less now than I did at 13. In fact, I was at my lifetime high weight at 17, and have been well below that number ever since. And (2) It showed me that my body clearly wants to be back on that XXth percentile line. My weight was unbelievably consistent throughout every period of my life where I was eating sufficiently and not overexercising, but it's been a while. Gaining the weight that J wants is not going to put me into Fatty McFatso category; it will simply put me right back where I should be.

Some bad things: (1) J thinks I may have stunted my growth, since my height dropped off when I was 13, right around when my ED first started. Now, I might have just stopped growing then naturally since I'd first gotten my period a year earlier and was basically done with puberty anyway, but my height percentile from ages 2-13 show that I should have ended up a couple inches taller than I am now. No way to know for sure, I suppose, but I've gone through several long stretches with irregular/no periods, and have had osteopenia for years now—neither of which bodes well for my skeletal health. J mentioned that girls can really only grow bone until age 21...and I'll be 22 in less than two months. (2) It gave J further ammunition to insist on more weight gain. The initial target I've agreed to, and am sort of starting to accept in my head, is still below that XXth percentile line for my age and height, and is still below my lifetime high from almost five years ago when I was a healthy and happy high school junior. (3) I am so.not.okay with the big numbers. It doesn't make it any easier that I used to weigh XXX lbs at 17, because I felt fat when I was 17! I wasn't actively anorexic at the time and my weight was perfectly healthy (not underweight, not overweight), but I still hated my body with a passion. Of course I've felt fatter at lower weights while being devastatingly disordered in my thoughts and behaviors, but still. Not looking forward to going back there. Gaining weight sucks.

Other than that, J was chipper and lovely as always. She even gave me permission to eat ice cream sundaes with every meal if I feel so inclined!


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  2. Definitely take her up on the ice cream sundaes offer! When I had to leave high school for some time several of my closest friends knew the real reason why. One of them asked in amazement "So you just get to sit at home eating all day?!" They thought it was the best thing they'd ever heard!

  3. Really interesting about tracking the growth curves! I'm glad it was a helpful exercise for you guys to do to allay some of your fears about the gaining. It's still hard, no doubt, but it sounds like it was somewhat reassuring that J is just trying to return you to the healthiest state for you. I'm sure the "big" numbers do seem really scary, and it's hard to forget how you felt at age 17, but I also know you've been working sooooo hard at recovery, and hopefully your brain will have a healthier outlook as you continue to get closer to a healthier weight. Just a thought. You've conquered (or at least survived) a bunch of really hard fears (fear foods, exercise, eating out, and plenty more), and you should be so proud of that! I really believe in your ability to do this too!

  4. Oh interesting, I've never heard of a dietician using that approach before. I bet is kind of cool to see "historical data" about yourself.

    I think seventh grade is a pretty common time to stop growing. I definitely haven't grown since then...but that is also the year that my ED start. So I guess I'm ruled out as an anecdote. I've often wondered how tall I'd be also, in an alternate EDless universe. How does your height compare to the other women in your family? Also, is your shoe size pretty typical, or larger, than for someone of your height? Okay I'm off on a scientific interest tangent on height now and am missing the point.

    Question: does your D take your mom's weight into account at all when estimating your target? I've had more than one quiz me about my mom's body type in trying to figure out what my target weight should be, since XXX pounds doesn't look the same on all body types.

    Ultimate point: scuffles about goal weights, are stressful and frustrating. But remember that you have professionals, who have worked with a ton of people of all body types, and hopefully they know what they're talking about. Also, Alie makes a good point that your mind will likely be calmer and better equipped to handle things as you get healthier and healthier. They're not out to make you fat or uncomfortable...another thing to keep in mind is that 17 is a much different age than you are now. Even though you were done growing, you were still essentially a kid, and a woman's body carries weight much differently than an awkward teenager's will. My hunch is that even at the same weight your shape may very well be different and will lead to less "omg I'm fat" feelings and more "wow having a bit of curve in the right places isn't bad" feeling.

    Alright that was my "stick with it, it's not so bad" segment, which is all true. But it's also true that this is hard and frustrating and a bit scary, and I'm sorry that you're dealing with it right now. Hang in there, because after all the amazing work you've put into recovery, you deserve to get 100% of the potential benefits, nothing less.

    1. Hi Cammy—J did ask about the heights of everyone in my immediate family. I'm definitely not freakishly short compared to them, so it's very possible that this really is my natural height and I just stopped growing early-ish, sounds like you were similar. My feet are pretty big, but my mom and I both have super long, skinny hands and feet, so that might just be a genetic thing too. J also asked if my parents were normal weight (they are), but that was pretty much it regarding their body types. Goal weights ARE frustrating, but I guess it's good that I have that age 17 weight as a reference point. Thanks!