Saturday, January 5, 2013

Facing the Fear of Weight Gain

Just wanted everyone to know I make a pretty good discovery at the end here :)

So first, let me ease all your fears....there will be no specific numbers in here, there will be a Freedom Friday Part 2 posted later, and I am hoping so more motivational posts can come soon. But right now I need to post what is good for me. I need to post the honesty and truth of recovery and today for me....that revolves around my fear of weight gain.

I have made two big strides today. Two items I usually tear and leave behind portions on I didn't do. I have this new app on my phone that is a countup instead of a countdown, and today is going to be Day 1 of no tearing. Gonna see how long I can go for. But here's the thing. It was a horrid struggle to eat these things and I wanted to know why?

Well after a lot of thinking and talking (okay, texting) it out...I realized it all comes down to this dang fear of weight gain I have. I understand I can't lose weight, because that's dangerous for me...but my mind is wrapped in this theory that I can maintain my low weight and be fine. Here's the reason. I got my labs back and they are completely normal. I have no problems with my bones (no osteopenia or anything). The only thing is my low body temp, low pulse, and low blood pressure...but I figure those aren't so bad. Also haven't had a period in a few years, but you never know that could come back. Okay....so maybe I'm not the example of perfect health...but nothing seems that alarming.  So what's wrong with where my weight is now? Why can't I just be allowed to maintain and not have to deal with this fear of weight gain? Why can't I just stay this low weight?
This is how I feel being underweight
 protects my heart. 

I don't know the answers to the above questions other than the fact that my team won't let me. So knowing that I am underweight and everyone wants me to gain weight....why can't I just gain weight and accept it? There are people out there trying to lose weight who would kill to be in my position. And, I mean I don't mind the way I look at a slightly higher weight, and I did have a brief moment where I saw my true size and got scared....but still I don't want to gain weight. I guess it all comes from being obese in childhood. In my mind, being underweight protects me from all the emotions I felt then.

People can't pick on me if I am underweight. They can't call me things no child should be called. They can't post signs on my back that say "Wide Load." They can't use words like knives to shred my heart, my soul, my being into tiny fragments. I don't have to feel the pain, I don't have to spend night after night crying, I don't have to worry if people think I'm fat (though I still do).

I guess that's what I'm scared of with gaining weight is what others will think. What will they think during the process? Will they think I have no control over food? That I'm disgusting? That I need to stop eating? I mean when you are the RA for a residence hall that's ALL GIRLS, you constantly have eyes on you and your body it seems. So what will my girls think? I mean I have been open with them that I am gaining weight....but they don't know the real reason why. Still, I wonder what they will think as I expand and get bigger and bigger.



And then there's the fear that it won't stop. That I will overshoot where my nutritionist wants me. That somehow I will end up overweight and then I will have to go back to restricting all over again. But if I get to stay underweight, my mind tells me I won't have that worry. But then again....I'm always scared of gaining which makes me still use some restrictive behaviors and constantly worry about food...so how am I any better off?

Another weird fear I have realized behind this gaining weight is that it won't take as much intake as it did before. I know...strange fear for an anorexic right. But I am just scared that I will get to my set weight and have to be constantly scared of eating too much and have to maintain a small intake in order to not gain weight. So being underweight gives me a buffer. Somewhat of an excuse to be able to eat more if I want. Granted I never do even when I want to...but the option is there. But if I gain weight I feel like I lose that option....that freedom of sorts.

And then there is the fear that it won't be controlled. That in a few weeks I will be at my goal weight when it is supposed to take around 6 months for me to do at the rate I agreed to. But what if it all just happens too fast and bam! I'm at my goal weight and people are looking and wondering what the hell happened. In my mind they will be thinking all the horrible things I already think about myself.

Search For Escape

As you can see the fear is overwhelming...and I doubt I'm alone. I've been surfing the web and reaching out to friends of mine in recovery to see how to make the fear go away so I can recover and the same response came. The only way to get over the fear is to start the weight gain process. It's not going to go away, you just have to feel it and push through. Then you start to realize people are HAPPY you are gaining weight, you feel better, the obsession with food becomes less, you feel more freedom to eat, and it happens in a controlled manner.

Well that's not the answer I wanted so I kept looking and looking. Trying to find one tiny scrap of evidence that I can make this fear go away and THEN start to gain weight. The internet was no help, all of my friends in recovery said weight gain leads to fear lessening. So I did the next best thing and went to my old journal. My mind told me this fear wasn't here when I was in treatment. So I read my old entries....well let me tell you the fear was there. Honestly it was there till the end but a little less...and want to know why? Because I gave into the plan and gained weight. Any time I would act on my behaviors the fear would get worse. If I found out I lost weight the fear of gaining would come back.

So I guess it's time I stop looking for the answer that is staring me in the face. Reality is I have to feel this fear, sit with how uncomfortable that is, and gain weight. True, I could maintain my weight, but I would lose my team, still have doctors telling me to go to a hospital, and some people tell me I would die. Even though I don't feel I would, I guess the sure way to prevent the death is by gaining weight.

I can spend the rest of my life putting all my energy into avoiding this fear and trying to maintain my weight and feeling the constant fear of my weight increasing or I can spend these next few months uncomfortable and fighting this disorder. Feeling the fear and anxiety, shedding a few tears, and gaining weight. Then I will get to my healthy weight and never have to worry about it again. I will be able to do whatever exercise I want to. I will be able to go to a doctor and not be scared of being sent to a hospital. I will be able to tell other people that gaining weight and recovering outpatient is possible.

I guess when I put it that way....well gaining weight seems a lot better than staying where I am. Gaining weight means an end to the anxiety, freedom from the fear of the hospital, staying in school, becoming an inspiration, letting others know recover is possible. Maintaining my weight means not having to feel the fear of actual weight gain yet living in constant anxiety of the idea of it, being scared of food, possibly dying, always being told I need to be in a hospital, and honestly I would eventually probably end up in a hospital where I would have to gain weight and wouldn't be able to leave or do it the way I want Yep....gaining weight looks pretty damn good right now.

So for any other people who are on weight restoration....let's agree to face not run from the fear. Let's grab hold of our inner strength, and grab hold of each other and fight this fight. Even if you aren't on restoration, take any of your fears. Facing them could bring relief....but running from them just seems to bring exhaustion. So today I am gonna take a step into the fear instead of turning away...anyone want to join me?



3 comments:

  1. I'm so close to tears at the moment.... this is the most beautiful thing I've ever read. It hits me deeply becasue I am living with this fear right now, and after reading this. I know what I need to do to live again.

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  2. I will proudly join you in your endeavors.

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  3. This is truly beautiful... Truly something amazing! Thank you for sharing this- I am at a very similar point in my recovery journey- and this really hits home for me.. I wish you so much luck and send lots of blessings your way! You CAN do this, and you will :) one step at a time! Thank you again beautiful soul!

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