Although eating disorders are a mental illness, as I get closer and closer to weight restoration, I cannot help but think about the physical aspects of my recovery. I am just about to enter the healthy weight range, although it is a few pounds off being weight restored.
It’s also getting closer to summer, where we are bombarded with the idea of ‘summer/bikini bods’ (it’s been said a million times, but if you have a body, congratulations… you have a summer ready body!). When I saw a nutritionist back in March, she said that I would probably want to get my ‘summer body’, although in a different way to what the media forces down our throats. She suggested that it would be not feeling paranoid about my underweight frame whilst wearing a strappy top. Not only that, but she suggested methods of controlling my weight post restoration in order to maintain my ‘perfect body’. Honestly, I was horrified, particularly as she herself had anorexia in the past. Something tells me that the control that she kept preaching was a sign that she had not completely overcome her illness.
Yes, I have to admit that I hated the way my body looked when I was at an extremely low weight. I was so self-conscious of my legs especially, and desperately wished that I could hide them. People would very noticeably stare at my legs when they walked past, and often give me a concerned look. I was stuck in a cycle of hating how I looked, but being too scared to gain weight.
But I didn’t just hate the physical aspects of being underweight. I hated the brain fog, the lack of energy, the chest pains, the missing periods, the bones stabbing into whatever I was sitting on…
My ‘perfect body’ is no longer something physical. It’s no longer wanting toned arms, abs, and collar bones sticking out. It’s no longer looking at photos of other women and thinking of them as ‘body goals’. My ‘perfect body’ is one that has the energy to sing, to support me when dancing and performing. It’s one that can carry me around cities as I walk around discovering exciting new cultures. It’s one that can menstruate, produce laughter, concentrate, and regulate my body temperature. My ‘perfect body’ is one that can function most optimally, regardless of whether that means being above society’s ridiculous thin ideal. My focus on what is important to me has really shifted and become clearer during my recovery. Learning what I truly value has been an extremely crucial part of the past few months, and is something which I believe has helped me come along as quickly as I have.
I’d be interested to know
- what you value the most?
- how you intend on making the next steps to full recovery?
- your favourite Ben and Jerry’s flavour (for scientific purposes ;))