FAVORITE THING EVER, RIGHT?!?!?!
Lol. You don’t even have to be an eating disorder sufferer to hate weight gain. Our society has created such a negative stigma around it, acting as if it something only to be lost as quickly as possible. Why on earth are we celebrating weight loss, no matter someone’s size, but never weight gain? Why is one change in the body celebrated, but the other detested? WHY ARE WE EVEN LABELING CHANGES IN OUR BODIES AS GOOD OR BAD?!
But I digress.
When I went to Carolina House, I knew that weight gain was going to be apart of the process. But I highly underestimated how much of the process it would be.
It was a long two months as I painfully endured each meal plan increase, each dessert snack, and each [blind] weigh in. I was terrified of gaining weight. Everything in my head screamed no. I thought that weight gain meant zero self-control. I believed that I deserved my own version of My 600 Pound Life.
But eventually, I got over it. Or so I thought.
When I left Carolina House, I didn’t know my weight. I knew I had gained weight, but I had no idea how much. I was fine with not knowing my weight. I had just gone two months without seeing the number and I was loving recovery, so why did my gravitational pull to the earth matter?
Fast forward to the first day of college classes.
I was sick. It was horrible. I felt like I was dying and all I wanted to do was run home to my parents and lay on the couch forever and ever, but I was at college and had to go to classes and be a grownup. Being the very adult person that I am, I went to the nurse on campus. She took me to the back, and like any normal doctors office, she had to weigh me.
*panic sets in*
Me: Can I weigh backwards so that I don’t see the number?
Nurse: Sure, of course!
Nurse after weighing me: Great, you weigh ___!
In that moment it literally felt like I had just been punched in the stomach by a sumo wrestler. My ears started ringing because I did not expect to hear that. Everything after that was kind of a blur. All I could think about was the number that the nurse told me.
After my appointment, I began to become obsessed with my weight. I followed my meal plan and ate all my exchanges, but I begged my dietitian to give me a decrease. I was obsessed with not gaining any more weight. I didn’t care about losing weight, I just didn’t want to gain any more. I wanted to maintain.
It took me a while to realize how disordered that thought process was. I thought I was being reasonable. I thought I was being “healthy” (let’s just laugh at this for a second, ok). I was telling everyone around me that I was perfectly okay with my weight, I just wanted to be sure that I didn’t gain more.
But my mind was being so controlled by my eating disorder.
WHY did it matter if I gained more weight? Why did I care so much?
Because Ed cared.
I shouldn’t care what the number is. There’s no part of me, Sarah Beth, that sees my worth as synonymous with a number. That’s only Ed who sees it that way.
So who freaking cares if I gain a pound or two over my weight restored weight? I’m going to eat my meal plan how I want to eat my meal plan. And sometimes that means having a spoonful of peanut butter as a protein instead of 16 almonds. I’ll eat a cookie for a starch instead of 8 saltines if I want to. I’ll eat what I want to.
And let’s just be honest here. Eating does not mean weight gain.
Let’s say it again.
EATING DOES NOT MEAN WEIGHT GAIN.
I have to continually remind myself of this one. I feel like if I eat all of my exchanges, that I’m destined to gain weight. But it doesn’t work like that. If I eat all of my exchanges, I maintain my weight. I don’t magically gain five pounds overnight.
That’s something my eating disorder always liked to tell me. If I ate one meal, I’d regain in one night all the weight that I had lost over the past year. Eating disorder logic, y’all.
You can eat cookies and not gain weight. But if you did, what does it matter?
It doesn’t matter.
It never has, and it never will.
That dang little number on a screen does not matter at all.
So if you’re like me, and you’re afraid of gaining weight past your maintenance weight, don’t be.
It doesn’t matter.
You are worth more than anything a three digit number could ever tell you.