Eating Disorder Recovery and Being Overweight
At the end of April, I went swimsuit shopping for an upcoming trip to Vegas with my partner and his family for his birthday. To say the least, I was embarrassed about how I looked. For the past couple of years, I’ve struggled with my weight and how I feel about myself. In middle school and high school, I had bouts of bulimia and anorexia. Bulimia was much more prominent for me, along with binge eating. So realizing in the Target dressing room that I hated how I looked because of my weight was pretty terrifying. My first instinct was to immediately start limiting calories and if I ate something “bad,” there was a war within myself to decide if I should purge or not.
After about two weeks of that, I realized that I was once again going down a mentally and physically destructive path and that I had to change course before I went too far and hurt myself. I started researching healthy and effective ways to lose weight but was discouraged to find that many of the “health” websites advocated anorexic behaviors like obsessively counting calories, replacing meals with water, or exercising until you drop from exhaustion.
After combing through the BS and consulting with my doctor, I made the decision to eat small meals and snacks six times a day while also reducing the amount of sugar and empty carbs I consumed. I combined this with doing cardio exercises and weight training at home and I was actually surprised at how fast I started seeing results.
Not only was I visibly seeing the pounds shed off, but I also started feeling happier and more energized. Climbing hills, sprinting, and even carrying in groceries from the car was much easier. Then, despite my early 6 a.m. alarm, my need for caffeine to make it through the morning decreased to the point where now I don’t even have a cup of coffee a week.
While I am very proud of the progress I’ve made, the hardest part of all of this has been not slipping back into my eating disorder. While I may not be acting upon disordered behaviors, the thoughts can still be very present. A friend of mine recommended the Recovery Record App to me, and it has been such a helpful tool in my journey. It gives me a visual track record of my eating habits, as well as helps me keep my disordered thoughts in check.
Many people have tried telling me that if I really had an eating disorder, I wouldn’t be overweight to begin with. Eating disorders manifest themselves in a variety of ways, and eating disorders don’t care about your gender, background, weight, or body type. The most important thing I will tell anyone is to be comfortable with how you look. I was not comfortable, so I am working to change that in healthy ways.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, don’t be silent. Seek help and support. There is a whole community for people who are recovering from an eating disorder, where people can find resources, personal stories, and advice. Eating Disorder Hope is a good place to start.
© 2018 Loxley Jones