Diet Season and Eating Disorders = My Hell
This time of year is extremely triggering for me. Having dealt with an eating disorder and messed up eating disorder brain for the last 35 years, this time of year is a sea of anxiety. Let’s call it what it is, a shit show in my brain right now.
Two years ago, I embarked on a weight loss journey that I thought would be the end of my weight struggles. I followed the diet plan like a champ and lost 40 pounds. First time in my life that I’ve lost that kind of weight and I was soo excited! I had finally conquered my eating disorder and weight issues. Check that box.
Uncheck that box – I was wrong.
Yes, I lost the weight and yes, I gained it back. Besides the extra weight I’m carrying, I ‘m also carrying a tremendous amount of shame. Shame for not keeping it off and shame for making a big deal out of losing it. I feel exposed. I feel like a failure.
Losing weight is a bitch. Losing weight with an eating disorder – even one in a shaky remission – is a crazy, hair on fire bitch.
Outside of the obvious issues losing weight, I also had problems with the super low-calorie weight loss plan I went on. Besides losing the pounds, I also lost about half my hair and messed up my hormones. According to my functional nutritionist, I was starving myself. My body finally had enough and when I started adding in calories for maintenance, my body held onto them like a sinking ship.
Having struggled with an eating disorder since I was in middle school, means that I’ve spent most of my life obsessed with my weight and food. What I eat, how much, what I weigh, what I should weigh, what my BMI is, how many calories are in that, is that low carb, – this is just a running daily commentary going on in my brain.
I honestly don’t understand what it would be like to have a quiet brain. Doesn’t everyone’s brain think about their weight, food and number on the scale constantly? Doesn’t everyone have anxiety over all of this from the time they wake up until they go to bed? I hear the answer is no, but that seems hard to believe.
I have a couple of different goals for myself in this New Year. Yes, I want to get healthier and stronger. It’s not so I can rock a string bikini again, but for my overall health. I also know that to get to that point will most likely be more therapy focusing on my eating disorder brain. I heard someone call it a hungry brain. I hate putting a food term with my brain, but maybe that is legit.
And my big goal – one that has eluded me so far – to make peace with food, hunger, my body and the # on the scale. It’s a lofty goal, because I also need to lose weight for my health. How do you lose weight for health and not become more obsessed? I’m not sure, but I’m willing to let go of what I thought I knew and move forward into a deeper curiosity and openness to learn.
If this time of the year is hard on you, I got you. You are not alone. I would be kinder and gentler to you than I know I am to myself. I would remind you that we’re learning, a work in progress and may be on this journey the rest of our lives. I'd tell you what I've learned and that is there are no quick fixes and no easy answers. I’d also tell you to stay off social media- comparison is the stealer of joy and it’s damn triggering. I'd tell you what I'm trying to tell myself.
I will share with you that I’m still in the messy middle. Still. I thought I was on the other side, but I’m not and I’m trying to be okay with that. I’ll keep sharing my messy middle story in hopes that it helps someone feel a little less alone.