Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Glimpse at Thoughts From the Non-ED Mind

So maybe you know I was feeling kind of down about my body after it went through such an obvious change (read: weight gain) during my week at the beach, but after a few days I’ve sort of accepted the fact that I may be buying more pairs of pants and shorts in the next few months than I have in the rest of my life. I realized that this really is what I want, and if I have to live with a body I’m not necessarily comfortable in, then so be it, it’s better than living with an eating disorder that would just as soon see me dead as see me eat what I want or miss a day of exercise. So I put together a little list of discoveries I’ve made so far, some inspiring, some less so, and some...well, some are just there. [[[Guys, you might want to skip to the second one, consider yourself fairly warned.]]]

  • Bras suck!! I haven’t worn a bra for almost a year now, and before that it was just little sports-bra things from the kids’ section and too loose to even count. I have to admit that having boobs for once in my life does have its appeals, but honestly I’d trade them in if it meant I never had to wear a bra again. And that’s after only two days wearing one!
  • Stopping exercise did not make me balloon out of control. And it took actually doing this to realize it. No matter how many times people told me, I did not believe them. So I’m not really expecting this observation to convince anyone that stopping exercise is OK, just adding my voice to the many already out there. :)
  • I am hot! Literally. Last night I turned the AC down an extra 5 degrees (to 60) and I still sweated! Not drenching the sheets like some people report, but I have noticed that I’m warmer than I used to be and, in a lot of cases, warmer than other people--which is a totally alien experience for me.
  • It’s MORE possible to feel attractive in this body than my old one. At my lowest weight, I never liked the way I looked. It wasn’t that I thought I was fat, necessarily (although I did and still do have an obsession with my stomach popping out...). In fact sometimes I scared myself just by looking in the mirror and seeing what stared back. But yesterday I had some moments (when I was wearing loose shirts and couldn’t see my belly) where I actually felt kinda sexy. :)
  • I have changed, but not as drastically as I expected, and I even like some of these changes. I mean, just look at the difference.

On the left, I’m at my lowest weight, the day after I broke down and decided to recover. The middle picture is about two months later, before I quit exercise completely; and the one on the right is from two days ago, after I came back from vacation, starting my fourth week of MinnieMaud--ironically, taken in the fitness center in front of the scale; it felt kind of good to go in there and not be drawn by either that or the machines! (BTW, that week at the beach was consistently eating 4,000++ calories.) Point is, I look a lot better now. Sure, if I was wearing a tight shirt I’d also look a lot more pregnant now, but that’s temporary and I’ll take it.
  • It’s hard to take compliments for compliments. For example, when people say you’ve “filled out.” Or they say you’ve “done something about it,” meaning the best, as in you didn’t fart around whining about needing to gain weight but being so so so scared and not doing anything about it. (Which I did, to some extent.) Or even--at least in the two days or so after I made the decision to follow MinnieMaud--saying you’re “a twig.” That was probably the worst. It put the focus of what I was giving up on my skinny identity--rather than the death grip my eating disorder was (is) determined to keep on me.
  • You’re not “fine” when you look fine and BMI is crap. I am probably a “healthy” BMI right now. If I passed somebody on the street it probably wouldn’t even cross their mind that I have an eating disorder. But I do. Recovery is not just about the physical repairs, it’s about the mental healing that needs to take place as well. BMI has nothing to do with anything; if you’re “overweight” and you’re healthy, well, you’re not overweight! Likewise, you can be in the healthy range and experiencing all the side effects of anorexia if you’re starving yourself to get there. Your body gets to decide if you’re healthy, not some stupid system society uses to label people based on weight.
  • The saying, “You are what you eat” has a whole new meaning. And I kind of like it. That would make me very young at heart, warm, sugary, sweet, cheesy, slightly inappropriate at times (I’m thinking Clusterfluff here...), gooey, and...buttery? I don’t know if those last two are desirable traits, but the rest of it sounds OK. Much better than the dull shell of a person I was during the depths of ED.

So there you have it. I hope I helped someone. I’m sure there are more that I’ve missed and more that I’ll discover along the way. And I’m also sure I’ll have days where I need to come back and read all of these over again to remind myself to keep going. But right now, I feel like I am getting some idea of what life is like thinking with my own brain, not letting ED do it for me. In the meantime...I’m going to eat!
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