Recovery has been a lot about having this blind faith that eventually all the uneven weight gain will redistribute, my body will learn how to regulate itself properly, and my hunger cues will normalize. But I’m one of those people who has a difficult time working towards a goal if I’m not exactly sure what it is.
Yesterday I was scrolling back through my photos out of a wave of nostalgia, and came across several pictures in which I am a healthy weight. Though I never want to know exactly what I weigh again, nor do I see any benefit in anyone knowing this number (it just invites in all sorts of negativity), I am aware of about what my weight set point is. For anyone who’s new to this sort of lingo, a weight set point is the ideal, natural weight that your body is able to maintain through homeostasis and such when you lead a healthy lifestyle. This weight differs for everyone; two people who are exactly the same height could have very different weights, just as two people who are exactly the same weight could have very different heights. A lot of it is determined by genetics, but what it really comes down to is where your body wants to be. Because as I’ve mentioned before, your body is an exceptionally smart machine. Given the proper nutrition and a safe amount of exercise, combined with no other unhealthy habits, it is capable of maintaining a steady weight.
This is a concept that has always baffled me. My weight has sort of yo-yo-ed over the past few months. The idea of maintaining a weight is frightening for two reasons: one, because I can’t really remember what that feels like, and two, I don’t really like the way the weight feels and looks right now. I know that I am weight restored; that was the goal of the residential program I was in. Once I was weight restored, they sent me down to partial. It’s been about two months since I stepped down. And unfortunately, uneven adipose tissue deposits can take over six months to normalize. So I’ve got a long road ahead of me full of discomfort and dsymorphia, which is why I’m going to have to work extremely hard to avoid using behaviors and listening to my eating disorder voice.
But as I said, I was looking through my pictures, and came across several where I’m at a healthy weight. And in all of these pictures I have a beaming smile that reaches my eyes; you can tell I’m happy and confident.
This made my goal so much more tangible and real. It gave me something to work towards, and it also reassured me that it is a potential reality. Provided that I stay the course, I will attain this level of confidence and happiness again.
Look at the girl in these pictures. She is vibrant, she is joyful, she is content. I want to be that girl again. I want to be the girl who wears whatever she wants and grins as wide as she can in pictures. I want to be able to go out and enjoy my time with my friends doing whatever it is I feel like doing. I want to have new experiences and try new things without my eating disorder or my irrational fears getting in the way. I want to be able to enjoy exercise again without it becoming an unhealthy habit. I want to be able to live my life free of my anorexia.
And I know I can be. I just have to keep taking one step forward at a time.