Eating Disorder, Recovery

A Recovery Nightmare

What happens when someone in recovery is terrified of gaining weight and sees someone who recovered and did just that?
You get me.  

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There is something with which I’ve been grappling for several months now, this idea that people in recovery do not want to hear what I have to say because I am their worst nightmare.  I am the woman who entered recovery and has gained a solid amount of weight as a result.  My natural set point is much heavier than what is remotely deemed acceptable by society; to the point where even I wouldn’t have listened to what someone my size had to say about recovery when I was in the disease.  Why?  I wouldn’t have been able to see beyond the body size to listen to his/her story.

When I was in the disease my goal was to eat as few calories as remotely possible to sustain life.  As a result, I went through periods where my body weight and size were much smaller than they are now, and yet I never “looked” like I was ill.  Well, except for two truly memorable times when, looking back, I’m amazed and grateful my body didn’t give out on me.  My body, my set point, were always heavier than a “normal” or an “average” woman for my age and height.  That was invariably how God designed me…and I loathed it.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t still struggle to accept this fact every now and again.

In fact, just today I was reflecting on this, as I recounted why I haven’t bothered finding a medical doctor in Charleston.  When we moved from Ohio last year, I had an excellent eating disorder treatment team that I knew I could lean on to not judge me for my body weight or size.  My doctor never belittled me because I am technically obese, she knew the struggle through which I walked and understood my body was trying to find its way. I fear the judgement of others.  I can speak to myself in very realistic terms: I starved myself, purged, and overexercised for 16 years; wreaking havoc on my metabolism and body.  Knowing this began when I was barely a teenager, my body never had a chance to mature and grow, or figure out the true weight and size it was meant to be.  I jumped in and tried to hijack my body to manipulate it into what I wanted it to be.  Ultimately, I sacrificed my body and my mind in order to live in fear of the judgement of others and living to please people.

Often, the eating disordered part of my brain still speaks to me and tries to tell me that no one can see beyond my body.  What I have to say about my 16-year struggle, and the never ending road of recovery on which I walk, will fall on deaf ears because of my size.  When someone with anorexia or bulimia sees me, s/he sees a nightmare: a woman who is overweight as a result of recovery.  The positive is, I recognize that is my eating disorder speaking and not me.  My reality lies with those who never fit the strict diagnostic criteria of anorexia or bulimia, according to the old DSM, but still struggled and felt unworthy of treatment because of weight and size.  Just like I had to convince myself (with some help from TJ) that my life and body were falling apart and I needed help, I learned that I was worthy of love, respect, and self-acceptance.

My body might be someone’s worst nightmare, but it is my greatest reality.
Every day I wake up I am reminded that I am this size because I chose life.
I chose to fight for my life by choosing recovery.

Walking in recovery means walking in this body, at this size, knowing I am healthy despite what society says.  No, you won’t catch me romping around in a bikini at Folly Beach this summer, but more power to the women society labels as “plus size” who are comfortable enough to do so.  Sometimes, I am just grateful to be walking around without a stress fractured pelvis, heart palpitations, and an extreme dissatisfaction with life.  Other days, I rock this thing called life and love the body in which I am living.
So, sometimes I see myself as a nightmare and other times, I see the reality of a life being lived in recovery–an ever-present struggle between fear of judgement and a disease, and being who I was meant to be–regardless of size.

With Body Love,
Lane

Appreciation, Body Acceptance, Body Appreciation, Body Image, Body Love, Body Shape, Body Size, Eating Disorder, Emotions, Encouragement, Exercise, Faith, Feelings, Friends, God, Gratitude, Hope, Joy, Love, New Year, Postpartum Body, Recovery, Social Media, Uncategorized, Weight

New Year, Embracing My TRUE Self

As 2015 finds its exit tonight, it leaves me with many memories, lessons, and victories.
It is also setting me up for success and realistic goals for 2016.
So bring on the new year!

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What a year 2015 has been!  I’ve learned more about myself in this year than I ever thought possible.  I didn’t know it was possible to be as happy as I have been and I am elated to discover I can continue to live my life this way–this happy.  Happiness is a choice and I am going to keep using my “wise mind” to choose to be happy just like I continue to choose recovery over relapse.  That being said…

So long, 2015!  Let’s review what you taught me: 

  1. I love the color PURPLE.  Seriously, purple is my color. Can’t. Get. Enough. 
  2. The lotus flower is pretty much my power symbol and represents my journey toward self-acceptance and self-discovery.  Just as the lotus flower must come up through deep, dark mud to bloom and become beautiful; the journey I have walked in recovery has turned me into this beautiful, blooming woman.
  3. Recovery, true recovery, is 100% possible!  Before I always thought people who wrote books about being completely recovered were full of poo but as I’ve walked this road for the last year I have come to understand I, too, can be completely recovered.
  4. I’ll let you in on a little secret…I’m kind of a hippy at heart. 
    1. I LOVE yoga, meditation, hemp products, and fair trade clothing
    2. Side note: favorite fair trade clothing companies: Soul FlowerFair IndigoOka-B, and LulaRoe (softest leggings ever)
  5. I love writing.  Kind of obvious but I didn’t realize just HOW much I love writing until this year.
  6. I enjoy burning incense and using essential oils.
  7. I CAN survive without knowing my weight.  Give it a try…I am certain you have it within you to survive without knowing that number, too!
  8. My clothing size absolutely does not matter.  It doesn’t determine my worth or whether or not people like me.
  9. I LOVE BEING A MOM.  Best. “Job.” Ever.
  10. I can appreciate my body and show it love…even when I’m struggling.

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I would say that is a pretty good list of self-discoveries I made in 2015!  I look forward to putting those discoveries to use in 2016.  For once my goals for the new year have nothing to do with worshipping the gods of thinness and everything to do with embracing my true self.  Curious?  Check them out!

Goals for 2016:

  1. Improve my daily body image.  While my body image is leaps and bounds beyond where it was at the start of 2015, I still have a long way to go.  Poor body image is everywhere and we are taught to dislike what we see, so working to change that will take time but I’m willing to put in that time. 
  2. Cease eating disorder treatment.  Not because I am ready to throw in the towel but because I obtain sustained recovery and no longer need treatment services.
  3. Yoga, yoga, yoga!! The movement I once found “worthless” has become part of my life on a (near) daily basis.  I’m ready to commit to my yoga practice more often and deepen my understanding of self through that practice.  (Hippy, I know.) 
  4. Finish the Beautiful Body Acceptance book I started a few months ago.  Writing a book is serious work; especially when my toddler comes first!  (Writers block is serious stuff, too.)  Hopefully I can carve out more time to work on writing it in 2016! 
  5. Grow the BBA “brand” this year. BBA is still a baby, my (second) baby, and nurturing this blog and book are on my list of goals.  I want more people to see their beauty and begin the journey of body acceptance! 

I hope you take time to reflect on the lessons you learned in 2015 and set goals for 2016 that don’t worship the gods of thinness and weight loss.
Set goals to embrace your true self and let your happy shine! 

With Body Love,
Lane