Yes, you read that correctly.
Yes, I wrote that correctly.
I am going to STOP WAISTING MY TIME.
Even though it’s been incredibly low on comments here lately, I just need to write it down. So, here I go.
Number = year, S = summer, W = winter. That means this is a 5-year overview. Before = a stable BMI18, I Always hovered around the same weight as a teenage girl. I had lost a miiinor bit early ’08 due to exam year, stress and too much partying. The post 13-S? Ha……… Let’s talk about that for a moment.
I have no idea what my weight is right now, so the BMI20 is my guesstimation. It might be 21 to be honest. I don’t know, and I don’t care. Plus, does it matter whether it’s a 20 or a 21? Both are healthy, and both are a lot more than I have ever been. It’s also both double of what I once was. Yeah. I halved myself, and then doubled myself. Both weight as well as BMI wise.
I haven’t been on a scale since………… I wouldn’t know! Honest to Lord, I can’t remember the last time I actually weighed myself. I have never owned a scale in my life, but when I moved back in with my parents (Autumn ’10, now you can guess why that was judging by the graph above), I had access to a scale again. Thats when I managed to get hit my most ultimate low (winter 2010). Yeah, me and scales aren’t buddies.
When I went to the ER that cold January morning, I wasn’t even weighed. My father was furious, but hey, it’s not like they needed a scale to see that the girl standing there wasn’t exactly a healthy weight. Nothing much you can do to hide the fact your half your healthy weight. When I enrolled into the local eating disorder facility, I was supposed to be weighed every time. They didn’t always do so, because sometimes I wouldn’t let them (I felt so humiliated, being ordered to take off my clothes and step on a scale in a cold, dusty bathroom with a double lock on the door in their facility), much to the dismay of my father again, but alas.
Weight became something to be obsessively focussed about, and this didn’t start being a thing until I decided I had to gain it. Weight, ironically, was never an issue until the moment I had to get it back on. At the clinic, they taught me to set myself goals. All these goals, however, were weight-related. I got myself a present (ridiculously expensive perfume) when I hit a certain mark. That mark was what I thought would be my ‘perfect weight’. Never mind that it was a BMI16, but that’s where I thought I would “naturally balance out” (ha, ha). And the facility agreed it was a lovely goal. But then again, they never took me seriously anyway.
My point is, that my recovery was all focussed around weight. All my goals, all my slip-ups, everything that was monitored by a psychiatrist and a nurse, everything I had ever put on paper with them as guidelines; everything was weight-related. And my eating disorder had never been about weight!
This is (part of) the reason why therapy never worked for me. If your eating disorder doesn’t focus around weight, how can weight function as the centre and the measurement of your recovery from it?
Exactly, it doesn’t.
I waisted my time. I wasted my time on measurements. Of body-size, body mass, weight etc.
I left therapy after a few months. I hadn’t gained an ounce in the entire period. None. I had gained a few kg before I entered, and gained everything else after. But this also means that I had lost all faith in professional help, as well as I had never really gotten to the core of what my eating disorder (and thus it’s ‘fix’) was all about.
The past few months I have been actively trying to let myself eat without set rules and limits. No, that is not the same as bingeing. Yes, it did involve a lot of bingeing. But hear me out.
Eating without set limits and rules means learning to no longer fear foods. Mind you, I didn’t really manage to do so until I had FULLY stopped any form of restriction/compensation. None! But even then, a meal plan which tells you what and when to eat doesn’t tackle the fears and the varieties. So when I had managed to eliminate compensatory behavior, and after I had reached a BMI20, I opened the floodgates
of hell. Kiding. Sorta.
It means some days I eat nothing but junk. Some days, I eat a lot of junk in one go and that’s it. And some days, I eat none. And that’s no longer because I read that ‘your body will balance it out naturally’, which my mind would then interprete as ‘today I will not crave anything chocolatey because I already had some yesterday’. I just went with what was réally going on instead of forcing the craving (or the lack thereof) on myself.
It took a giant leap of faith. And a change of mindset from my parents too. Whereas before, they would clear the house before I came, or come barging right into the kitchen if I was there for longer than two nano-seconds, I asked them to just leave me be. Yes, the beginning mostly meant I had to eat everything in sight, or at least have a few bites of everything in sight, so I could ‘get it out of my system’. Because if there was food I hadn’t tasted before/hadn’t tried this time/hadn’t allowed myself since forever/caught my attention/caught my craving or whatever, I couldn’t ignore it and go do something else. It would continue to plague my mind until I had found a way to sneak it out and eat it in secrecy, or if I couldn’t find a way to do so, wait until I got home and then all hell would break lose because I felt like ‘I had denied myself something’ and be damned my body would make up for it by eating everything else it could get its hands on. But believe it or not (don’t worry, I didn’t believe this either), there is this point where your head doesn’t instantly goes bananas the second there’s a bar of chocolate in sight. Or a 2liter tub of ice cream. Or your mother’s weekend load of sinful shoppings.
I know right?
Now, the disclaimer is; I am not even halfway there yet. I still binge. I still try to ignore cravings sometimes. I still am a walking mess of a recovering eater. But SO much has changed since I have granted myself the permission to JUST.EAT. Whatever. Whenever. Not ‘never too much, mostly greens’. Or, ‘until your full’. Or, paleo, primal, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, flour-free, liquid only, ehhh whatever. NONE of that any longer applies. I have full permission to go with it and see where it will take me.
And just try to make sure I don’t go absolutely NUTS in the process, I have finally acknowledged I
might need a little help. So, I have made the first steps in that process too.
PS; I would like to make clear that I DO NOT THINK that BMI’s are unimportant. I know a few (?) of you disagree on this, but I think that most of you will know it ís indeed incredibly important once you get to a (stable) healthy 19/20++ (PLUS PLUS) BMI. My focus, my energy, my ability to comprehend and respond and feel free of ED-thoughts and behaviors changed dramatically since then. Also, the no-restriction and no-compensation rule is KEY in here as well (hence the ‘stable’ part). Not just stable monitoring-wise, but also stable intake and mind wise. I promise you (yes, I think I really do promise you), when you reach a stable, healthy weight without purging/restricting/compensating, you’re entering a new world (again). Paradigms shift y’all.