Monday, September 2, 2013

The Weight Cure Revisited

I wrote this post more than six months ago about the mental/emotional improvements I had noticed from weight restoration, and I thought it was time to take stock of how things have been going since then. First off, I suppose I wasn't totally weight-restored at the time of that post, because I have gained another X (more than 3, less than 10) pounds since then without really trying—aka without increasing calories. My weight definitely started to level off after a period of steady gain sometime last winter/spring, but has sort of drifted up to where it is now—definitely a lifetime high, but not massively so. I am solidly in the "healthy" category according to any BMI or ideal body weight chart/calculator. No idea what my body fat percentage is (my old dietician used to measure it), but I would imagine that it is healthy as well.

For the most part, I am still pretty relaxed about food. Well, relatively relaxed. I'm probably more uptight and rigid than most normal people, but still more relaxed than I've been for several years. I eat a healthy but not huge amount of calories a day (yes, I still count calories) and eat a pretty limited range of foods; but again, for me, it's a huge improvement. I eat bread, vegetables, eggs, meat, dairy, nuts, granola bars, cookies, juice, etc. I'm not really opposed to eating any specific foods, but am more just conscious of how things will fit into my self-imposed schedule and calorie limit. I have no real problem eating in restaurants, and am getting better at being spontaneous about it.

My body image is, oddly enough, not a huge source of angst for me. I honestly don't even think about it that much. Maybe because I'm just finally getting used to being this size. It helps a lot for my weight to have finally settled somewhere rather than seeming to climb indefinitely. Even if I'm not super happy or comfortable with the higher number, it's so much easier to cope with a static weight than a constantly moving target.

As I'm writing this, it occurs to me that my eating disorder is, and for the most part always has been, primarily numbers-focused. I have always counted calories and tracked my weight obsessively; I realized years ago that my own perceptions of my body size were skewed, so it was better to rely on the scale than on the mirror. Even now, being at my highest weight ever, a number that once would have sent me into a tailspin just thinking about, I'm okay with how I look. Not thrilled, but okay. And it isn't really on my mind that much. The only thing that really still scares me is the number on the scale going up; even if you told me I'd look HOT with another X lbs, I'd still freak out about the number. No idea why, just the way my brain has been programmed.

I think the best/most significant change I noticed over the past year was ironically a subtle and gradual one: just a general loosening of the reins. I still think about food and weight probably more than the average person, but it doesn't dominate my thoughts by any means. The other health stuff has sort of drowned it out in some ways, but I also feel like gaining weight has let my brain off the hook a bit. Just knowing that they will get fed sufficiently and consistently seems to have made my brain and body settle into less of the fight-or-flight-mode and more of a roll-with-the-punches mode. And it may sound insignificant and lame, but that small shift has totally altered my perspective on almost everything.


  1. I could have written much of this post. It's funny, as you say, that the fear of weighing more can be totally detached from any thought of physical appearance. My younger sister, who's in high school, weighs about 10 pounds more than I do at the same height, and she looks curvy and awesome - a lot better than I look, I think, even though we're both inside the "healthy" BMI range. And yet if I were to wake up tomorrow 10 pounds heavier, I would totally and utterly FREAK. Why? 'Cause this illness makes me a lunatic, I guess. (Similarly, I'm 100% convinced I would healthier and happier if I gained just a little more weight, but I absolutely positively can't bring myself to make the changes that would actually make that happen. Yes, yes, it'd be great to gain 4 or 5 pounds, I tell myself, but maybe half a sandwich would be better than a whole sandwich for lunch, or maybe I'll just wait until dinner . . . )

    Anyway. I don't want this comment to become a novel, but briefly: YES about the numbers. When I first got sick, I counted calories without even connecting food restriction to weight loss - I just got "addicted," for lack of a better word, to trying to lower that calorie number every day.

    Sorry for making this comment all about me! I'm really glad you're in a good place with this stuff, Kaylee.

    1. this illness has made me a TOTAL lunatic. And yes! I'm the exact same way—even if I knew I needed to gain weight and was willing to do it, I would still have major trouble going through with the actual motions of eating more food, cutting exercise, etc. Very weird how there can be such irrational disconnect, but somehow our brains justify it.

  2. i cannot wait for this day. you deserve this peace xxx

  3. I loved hearing this and also relate!

  4. So glad you've felt that shift from "fight or flight" to "roll with the punches" -- it's beautiful, isn't it?

    It's funny, but I've had very much the same experience as you in terms of "the weight cure." One of the ways I can tell I'm falling out of my healthy range (which is way higher than their stupid 18.5 BMI) is when the thoughts become more obsessive. Seriously. People think I'm crazy when I say this, but I swear I'm not.

    Have you had a similar experience?

    I'm so glad you're enjoying grad school!!!


    1. It IS beautiful! I can't speak to the experience of falling out of my range yet because my weight is still kind of bopping around trying to find that exact sweet spot, but for me I noticed a major drop-off in obsessiveness as my weight climbed out of the sick range, past the borderline-okay range, and into a more solidly healthy range (which yes, is higher than the 18.5 BMI for me too!). I think a lot of it had to do with my brain getting used to eating regularly and sufficiently and building new habits and though patterns, but that wasn't able to happen until it got well-nourished enough to see straight, if that makes sense.

      Thanks and I'm glad school is going well for you too! best of luck Jess.