I wrote this post over a year ago and then this follow-up post last fall about how weight gain had done WONDERS for my crazy anorexic brain, and how maybe this whole not-being-a-skeleton thing wasn't so bad after all. Well, I figured it was time to take inventory again and see how things really stand for me, recovery-wise. Some of this may not be news to those of you who read regularly (WHICH I KNOW YOU ALL DO), but it still helps me to go over it so bear with me.
My body image is good. Not great, but good. Considering this is my highest lifetime weight, considering I weigh double-digits more now than I have for most of the past five years, having "good" body image is a small miracle. I don't LOVE my body, but I appreciate it and I respect it in ways I never have before.
The big obvious change since my last Weight Cure post is that the pelvic nerve pain, which they told me over and over again was chronic and incurable, has largely been alleviated (thank you, Dr. A and your magical fire cream). It's not completely gone, and I still have iffy days and weeks here and there, but the overall quality of life improvement has been dramatic. So, it's a lot easier to appreciate my body when it doesn't seem intent on making my life miserable. But what I've learned over the past several months is that my body doesn't want to hurt me; it wants to just BE. And by forcing it to run X miles every day on YYYY calories, or forcing it to wait Z hours between meals even when it's hungry, I am only making it harder on both of us.
The exercise piece is still a struggle. Remember my recent scare when the running started to get out of control? Well, as soon as I got a handle on THAT, I started biking too much. And had another uptick in pain. So I'm back on self-imposed exercise restriction this week, limiting myself in time and intensity, at least until my pain levels go back down to baseline. I told you guys I wouldn't get it perfectly the first time, and apparently not the second time either, but I am trying.
In terms of intake, I've bumped up my calories a tad over the past couple months. I am also working on redistributing them a bit better throughout the day, so that I eat more earlier on when I am actually hungry as opposed to saving up until the evening, when the thought of stuffing in enough food to meet my target is totally unappealing. This is still very much a work in progress. Variety is still so-so, which is as much a product of my complete and utter lack of interest/ability in the kitchen as it is residual ED-ness. That's not to say I am no longer rigid about food; I am. I still don't like restaurants. I still count my calories, and I still largely choose foods based on their caloric content. But the anxiety associated with all of the above is much reduced from six months or a year ago. I haven't weighed myself in over a month, and I don't miss it. Never thought I would be able to say that.
This has all been a gradual process - there was no Recovery switch flipping. It has been months of trying and messing up, and then trying a different way and messing up a different way. But each time, I've gotten back on my feet, dusted myself off, and found myself a little further ahead than I was before.
So here's the thing: I don't love my body, but I appreciate and respect it, and I am beginning to accept it. I never really understood what that meant before - to accept your body - but now I think I do. It means to have a baseline level of comfort with it; to know that if you treat it right, it will respond with health and energy. But that health and energy are not a given. That health is something to achieve and maintain, not something to ignore and throw away.
I am beginning to accept that I will never weigh double-digits again. I am beginning to accept that I cannot lose weight and be healthy. I am beginning to accept that the health consequences of losing weight are far more terrible and unbearable than facing the discomfort of weight gain. This used to be an impossible dilemma for me: that I could either be in pain, or be "fat." Now, this dilemma seems ridiculous. Now, I have accepted that I can be healthy or sick. And I choose health.