National Eating Disorders Association

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jbusani
New Here! Feel like my journey to recovery has paused

Hi All,

I'm new here on the forum and wanted to post to get some perspective about my thoughts recently.

I have suffered from a very difficult relationship with food since the age of about 13. Since that age, i've spent periods of my life dieting (going to slimming classes with my mum, signing up for online programs, trying fad diets), thinking that I needed to lose weight. I was never "stick" thin, but I always thought "if I just lose a bit/if I just tone up/if I just had a bit of a flatter stomach...then i'd feel comfortable". I've spent as long as I can remember thinking that I'm not good enough yet - instead of enjoying my life, i'd been sitting there, pre-occupied, tense from worrying about what I looked like, and dizzy from not taking deep breaths due to anxiety it was causing me.

At the age of 22, while visiting the doctor about the anti-depressants i'd been on/off for since 16, my doctor referred me to an eating disorder support service. I thought I always had an issue with food, but I didn't think I had an "eating disorder", especially as I thought there's nothing wrong with me, I just "can't lose weight and it's MY fault, no wonder i'm a bit out of control". I never realised that my relationship with food and my body could actually be the source of my difficulty.

Now in my mid-20s, I've found my time at the support service has been positive (1 yr talking therapy, 1yr occupational therapy, and now monthly support groups). I haven't stepped foot in a slimming group in over a year and i'm off my anti-depressants thanks to my doctor's support (I realised that my mind needed care and attention through therapy (rather than meds) to change its patterns). Getting help from professionals has the been the best choice i've made.

However - (of course there was going to be a "but", because no process ever runs smooth), i've run into a lot of anxiety recently wondering about the direction of my progress. Despite now refusing to diet ever again (I will not go back there), it's hard thinking positively about what i'm achieving and i'm terrified i'll again be driven to restrict my eating in some way.

My actual weight seems to be the No. 1 pain-point. I've always been in the healthy range up until I started therapy, where I began to stop dieting, and now I am at a higher weight. While i've been thankful for less mental pressure, and more "free" feelings towards food (less of the good/bad labels I used to use), my mind is still pre-occupied with my weight and "feeling fat".

Now my weight is technically over the recommend amount, I feel scared and confused of how recovering from an eating disorder and reaching a healthy weight can go hand in hand. While i've maintained my weight for 1yr now, I'm terrified that i'm not reading my scales right (I weigh once a week as was recommended to me, to show myself that I can maintain my weight WITHOUT dieting), and i'm even more irrationally scared that my therapist was maybe reading different results out to me this past year, so that i'd think I was maintaining my weight.

I'm looking for advice about how reaching a healthy weight can be possible after/while in recovery for disorderly eating.

_admin_moderator
Hi jbusani!Welcome to the

Hi jbusani!Welcome to the forums! Just so you're aware, your post has been edited slightly to remove mentions of specific numbers that may be triggering to other users. You can review our community guidelines here: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/forums/community-guidelines Thanks, and continue posting! 

s.boewer
I relate

Hello- I really relate to your struggle with the negative thoughts and obsessing over weight and body image. The thoughts were the last thing to go for me in my recovery. It took me time to retrain my mind by using positive self-talk on a daily basis. Those negative thoughts were active in my mind for 34 years and it was no easy task letting them go. I found a book of positive affirmations and slowly reprogrammed the way I think by replacing the ED thoughts with the positive affirmations in my book. I wrote in my journal daily and kept a gratitude list every night to keep me focused on the good things in my life. I worked the 12-steps in a 12-step support group which also helped to stop the obsessive thoughts. Honestly, it has only been five months that I have had real recovery from all of the symptoms of my ED, and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. My negative voice went away rather fast actually which is partly due to therapy as well. Hang in there and just keep at it because it takes time. I hope you try positive self-talk if you aren't already because it really helps. Glad you posted:)

jbusani
Thanks s.boewer!

Thanks s.boewer! It's good to know I'm not alone when it comes to wondering where my recovery is going.

I really do try and practice good self-talk because I now do truly believe that being kind to myself will make me happier and healthier.

Do you have any advice on how to tackle getting the "weight" issue out of picture or less strong? I think I've got a lot of the process right, but my motivation is still a bit corrupt - i.e. still thinking about losing weight as the end goal, or feeling inspired to do everything "right/perfect"...

I look back and see now that I was not overweight for all those years I restricted, but now I medically fall into an unhealthy category (not just a little bit), it's hard to put aside the element of weight/physical health. A lot of sadness comes from having not reached out sooner for professional help to tackle the mental side - if I realised my eating was disorderly sooner, I could've prevented physical effects on my body, such weight gain.

I can work on my mental health every single day, but the urgency to address the physical health feels stronger.

_admin_moderator
Medical Signs and Symptoms

Hi, jbusani, since you mentioned feeling dizzy we just wanted to post up the signs and symptoms of a medical emergency. The following are just some of the signs of a serious problem that demands immediate medical attention:• accidentally or deliberately caused themselves a physical injury• become suicidal• confused thinking and is not making any sense• delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (experiencing things that aren’t there)• disoriented; doesn’t know what day it is, where they are or who they are• vomiting several times a day or has uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea• experiencing dizziness or fainting spells• too weak to walk or collapses• painful muscle spasms• complaining of chest pain or having trouble breathing• blood in their bowel movements, urine or vomit• a body mass index (BMI) of less than 16• an irregular heartbeat, and fast heartbeat, or very low heart beat (less than 50 beats per minute)• cold or clammy skin indicating a low body temperature or has a body temperature of less than 35 degrees Celsius/95 degrees FahrenheitOr any other serious medical concernsIf you experience any of these, we highly recommend seeking medical attention as soon as possible. Another option is 911.

chunkymonkey68
Life is So Chuck Full of Mini Pauses Unfortunately......

Mine had tons of mishaps, slip-ups, and pauses during my earlier days while both dieting, attending grad school and involved in a sexually active dating relationship as well....

My ex-lover always seemed very concerned about my nutritional intake. I, on the other hand, was in grad school and too overwhelmed with courses, projects, homework as well as community internship jobs.

I never even weighed myself when I was involved in a dating relationship, and yet it seemed weird that the boyfriend seemed to be trying to control my body w/ nutritional re-feedings.

Every date was about eating out at all the local cafe's and restaurants that he could coerce me into going to with him....

I actually didn't even have a measuring tape. However, I was into sports such as lap swimming and weekend gymming too.

I was so busy that my appetite was kind of numb to any nutritional needs or special needs that I might have needed to pay attention too.

I am so thankful that my life isn't quite so overwhelming any more. My life now is filled with w/ boring routines and rituals.

I wish you luck in your ED recovery too.

ashwoodmargret
BMI is faulty

Hi,

First of all, congratulate yourself on working so hard towards recovery! Overcoming an ED is so challenging and you should be SO proud of yourself! I am so happy to hear about all your progress. However, as you mentioned, the road is not over. They often say the first stage of recovery is weight restoration, or for others, getting to a healthier weight for their bodies. Afterward, comes the mental work and re-thinking. I know how hard it is when you feel you look or act a certain way, and how it can put you in a bad mood. It is super hard to feel "fat" as you put it. But, fat is NOT a feeling. I would encourage you to delve deeper into your thoughts, your life, and behaviors to understand what if making you "feel fat." I am almost certain there is something else occurring in your life that is making you "feel fat." I would encourage you to go deeper.

At this point, it is extremely important you see a therapist. While I am not a Doctor, I would encourage you to seek out as much professional care as possible. Recovery cannot be done alone and it takes a lot of time and effort to change thoughts, but it can be done. I would encourage you to write down your thoughts throughout the day and track when you feeling sad, hopeless, anxious, or depressed and begin noticing patterns.

Also, consider that BMI is extremely faulty! If your body is working, you are getting your period (if you were born as a biological female) and can eat to satisfaction without worrying or thinking about food, that is great! Society places so much value on thinness instead of health. Try to appreciate your body every day for all it does for you! I am sure you are a beautiful person inside, and out. Stay strong!

s.boewer
Hi

Hi again, I'm glad you are already changing your mind-set to the positive and working so hard on your recovery. I completely agree with the post just before this one, "fat" is not a feeling, it is a judgement. It was the number one go-to for me when anything else surfaced, like sadness, loneliness, disappointment, jealousy, or any other number of feelings I didn't want to feel. My knee jerk reaction was always, "I feel fat", as if feeling skinny would make the other feelings better some how, or not matter. I had to really examine my feelings and get to the core issues to move away from the idea that being at a lower weight was the answer. I restored my weight with a lot of days of anxiety and doubt, but in time I let go of my unrealistic beliefs, and now truly accept myself at a weight that is a little more than I ever would have been at in my ED. I struggled for years thinking that recovery meant getting "fat" and learning to live with it somehow. I was wrong in so many ways, because recovery did not cause me to gain huge amounts of weight, and it was about so much more than learning to deal with being "fat". It was about healing from emotional trauma I endured at different times in my life, and had nothing to do with my weight. I now have realistic fitness goals, and my primary concern with my body is making sure it remains healthy. I hope you keep processing your feelings in therapy, and keep moving forward in your recovery, and remember it takes time. I hope you will write again and give updates on how things are going> Take care:)