The major question of people looking to recover is whether they can do it without "getting fat," or whether those of us who have ultimately become overweight through disordered eating can recover and lose weight simultaneously.
That's tough. I think simultaneous recovery and weight loss would require a very motivated-towards-recovery person who's achieved a fairly stable balance in life.
In general I think that the more someone comes out of the life-dominating disorder and begins to mind other external things and be involved in other activities, the more able they are to lose weight without falling into relapse.
Balance and an understanding of why you want to lose weight are the necessary pieces of this, I think.Balance, to prevent weight loss from becoming the dominant priority in your life, and also to prevent it from being pushed completely out of your mind so you can avoid it alltogether.
And an understanding of why you want to lose weight is very important. Are you doing it for health, appearance, confidence, doing it for someone else...or what? Consideration of whether you really do need to lose weight, if you know what your natural/healthy weight was before it was affected by an ED, whether your weight and time goals are realistic are also important.
My experience with this has been mixed in the past. Often my relapses have stemmed from thoughts like, "I'll just lose all the weight and then be done with this, I'll recover in six weeks once the extra weight is gone." And sure, I start to lose weight, but it becomes my number one priority again, and once again I enter the endless cycle... My favorite quote gives hope for me as a person who has attempted recovery a number of times and relapsed each time. Each time it's been slightly different, I've grown in a different way, and this time I seem to have found a new balance between important things in life and weight loss.
I don't weigh myself. (Exception: I went to the doctor today. They weighed me...bitches.) It may be important to weigh yourself at the beginning of recovery, just to see where you are, where your disorder has gotten yourself. But I've found that those numbers really aren't critical in weight loss.
Instead of striving for a drop in the numbers, try going after an improvement in the feeling of your body.
Changes I've noticed that have had nothing to do with my weight in pounds have been:° Difference in the way my body/muscles feel from the outside - getting firmer slowly but surely
° Feeling fatigued at the end of the day in my body and getting a full night's sleep
° Waking up feeling energized, rather than "hung over" from a binge or exhausted and starving
° I can actually feel the new balance in my body's water/salt levels - for the past month of binging I've had edema/binge-hang-over feelings in my hands, face, legs, feet, and now they all feel...just healthy
° Exercising isn't a punishment, a requirement, a disappointment if neglected. I enjoy going out on walks and although I totally allow myself to just walk for 15 minutes at a time, I usually end up walking for longer than I'd intended to. And if I only go out for one 15 minute walk in one day, that's all right, as long as I've done other worthwhile things with my time.
° That lovely feeling of sore, strengh-building muscles is back, and not in an "oh my god, I'm going to pass out/fall over" way. I ran up three flights of stairs to my doctor's office today and felt neither like I was going to pass out from not eating enough to fuel that, nor that I wanted to fall over or puke from eating too much.
° My stomach neither feels sunken in nor bloated when I wake up. My appetite and cravings are balancing out.
° I can wear clothes I haven't worn for a while - not because I've gotten smaller, but because I'm comfortable. I don't "feel fat" like I would even when I'd lost weight through restriction and I don't feel literally bloated from binging. I don't feel the need to hide my body completely.
° I danced and shook my butt in front of a friend who weighs exactly (she weighed herself in front of me today) 49 lbs less than I do. I had fun.
So, yeah, I think it's possible to recover and lose weight simultaneously.
But that doesn't mean denying the fact that you're still treating weight-loss as your priority/obsession and covering it up with "I need to lose the weight anyway."
It doesn't mean restricting or overexercising.
Imagine yourself in a year. You'll be at your ideal healthy weight, living healthily day to day, and you'll maintain it for years to come if you find that balance.
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