Sunday, 12 July 2015

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Gaining weight after an eating disorder

I'm not referring to the period when you're being re-nourished because you are underweight because of an eating disorder (there will be a post about it at some point). This post is about gaining weight once you're technically recovered from an eating disorder.

I tend to think that it is nearly impossible to ever get rid of an eating disorder. You may have healthy eating habits and at some points maybe not even worrying about your weight. 
I tend to see it this way: the eating disorder is a little voice in your head that tells you mean things and how to eat and to adopt unhealthy lifestyles. When you recover you don't eliminate this voice, you simply learn to ignore it until you even forget it's there. However, on your bad days that voice may sound louder than other times and you may find yourself worrying about your body image and not knowing why.

One of the most basic things that they tell you when recovering from an eating disorder is: stop worrying about your weight and in order to do that stop weighting yourself. This obviously depends on the individual and once recovered some are able to see their weight and not be affected by it. I, for example, am not one of those people. I know whenever I know how much weight I'll be affected by it. If I'm told by the doctor that I have lost weight I'll be extremely happy. I pretend that I don't feel anything about it because I'm technically 'underweight' even though this has been my healthy BMI all my life.

When my psychiatrist told me last week that I had gained 2kg I got very upset. Yesterday I had a bad day and I was obsessed with it for the whole day. I was having a bad day and the thought that I had gained weight took control of my mind.
My therapist once told me that when I focus too much on my body image it's because I'm trying to look away from what the real problem is. Focusing on food or body image can be a way to escape another problem. And as long as we don't fight that we can't focus on what the real issues behind it are.

Seeing this with a perspective it is a lot easier to get to these conclusions. However I am well aware that on bad days it is extremely hard to take a step back and realize that we might be giving too much importance to something that doesn't really have it. We need to try and remember that our weight is not as important as we think it is, and try to take away the power that our eating disorder has over us. As long as we have a healthy lifestyle there's no reason to worry about our weight (you can check this with your therapy to see if you're doing it right).
If you start having negative thoughts about your body image or weight definitely let your therapist know.

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