I am so much happier and healthier 20 pounds heavier than my disordered weight. The original gain flipped me out because I gained so suddenly, 40 pounds in a year. Then I continued to yo-yo diet for many more years because I thought dieting was going to solve everything. It just kept me trapped.
Right now, I know that I'm not at my smallest or lightest adult weight. I'm capable of maintaining a much lower weight...if I want to deal with gnawing hunger, to have no energy for my workouts, to be cold all the time, to have the room turn purple and spin when I move fast, to be depressed and moody all the time, to have my joints hurt, to be socially isolated, to have muscle cramps and tremors, to not poop anymore. It's like, wooo! So glamorous!
Of course I don't want that back. I love my muscles and curves. I love being strong, healthy, well rested, confident, peaceful. It's not just my body that has changed, it's my entire thought process. Disordered, desperate fearful thoughts produce one kind of body - a frail, miserable, unhealthy body. Treating myself with kindness and respect produces another kind of body - a strong one that can run and jump and play, sleep like a baby, digest anything, and be at peace in the world.
I've been thinking about what life was like at a higher weight since I mentioned it in Jess's journal. Of course, I'm still at a much higher weight now than at my most disordered, but I've spent years at weights quite a bit higher than this. The most important realization is that my life didn't cave in like I thought it would. Nobody rejected me or laughed at me. Friends didn't abandon me. I was still good at my job, still pursuing my interests in life. Things just went on as normal. It was only in my mind that weight gain was catastrophic. In the real world, nobody really noticed, and if they noticed, they didn't care, or could totally relate. I mean, how many people have lost weight through unsustainable methods and then gained? Everyone? Just about, probably!
Personally, I never found it helpful to stare at myself in the mirror, take photos, say affirmations, or focus on my weight at all. What helped the most was NOT focusing on it. Buy cute, comfortable clothes that fit your current body, and then go out and live life. Spending every waking moment trying to "solve" this "problem" only reaffirms that your body is a problem. It's not.
For me, it was phenomenally helpful to have experienced life at a higher weight, to have spent some time there. Now I'm dealing in reality, not my terrifying stories. In my disordered mind, any weight gain was unacceptable, the worst thing that could happen. That fear influences every food and fitness decision in a terrible way. You're never going to get great results or experience lasting happiness with fear-based anything. Facing the fear and letting it go does wonders for your actions moving forward.
Imagine if fear of weight gain is no longer the primary factor in your food decisions. Think about how things might change if you were eating to feel your best, to be healthy, to feel satisfied, to have energy, and to enjoy the food. It's a night and day difference from the panic and anxiety of a restriction mindset. In addition to reseting my hormones and metabolism, spending time at a higher weight reset my brain so that I was no longer driven by fear. In that regard, it's one of the best things that could have happened.
Once food decisions aren't so emotionally loaded, we tend to make better ones. Then it becomes possible to settle at a natural and sustainable weight and to feel great there.
Oh my gosh where have I been and why have I not found this post sooner?! Weight gain is something I've been struggling with so much lately and I feel like I'm fighting a battle I simply can't win. I know for sure that if getting to a smaller weight requires starving, restriction, and compulsive exercise then I don't want to be there. The problem is that I can't look in the mirror or try on clothes lately without cringing. Sometimes I avoid looking in the mirror completely, sometimes I take pictures of my body since I see myself differently in pictures, but to no avail. I've been encouraged to start saying positive affirmations about my body, which lasted about 2 days, and I probably ought to start questioning my thoughts or simply get used to myself in a bigger body. It doesn't help that my bingeing and purging have gotten better since the holidays (which were bad) and I'm still exercising like a beast (something I need to work harder on) and I'm impatiently waiting for my weight to drop. I think all of this impatient waiting isn't helping anything nor is the mass amount of exercise. I need to read or hear something about how over-exercising negatively impacts your life because so far I can't keep myself off my elliptical. It's obsessive and it's driving me crazy. Anyway, it's probably better if I write more about this in my journal, I just thought I'd hit the jackpot when I saw the subject line of this thread. :)