30 April 2016

Oh. My. Weight.

One of the HARDEST things about sharing my recovery openly is that a big part of it has never been open. Most people know what that part it and why it's the 'Great Unshared' of those in recovery.

Sometimes I just want to blurt it all out, why? Because NOT talking about it is exactly what anorexia wants. Whether that's the 'shame' the illness makes me feel for gaining - or the 'secret' happiness of it going down - or for me - the relief of it being EXACTLY the same. 

So, this morning was my monthly 'weigh in day'. Still a date with a big 'X' on my diary which plays on my mind, whether I like that or not. It's a morning I dread and over-think more than I probably should the night before. 

I don't have scales, I get myself out of bed early and go to the local leisure centre to use the digital scales (right outside the 0700am spin class and a bustling gym which makes me feel guilty for not being 'so dedicated to fitness. I'll touch on that soon!)

This morning was no different. Same clothes, same routine. Driving there my mind goes over the same thoughts as last month, and the month before that. I set the 'acceptable gain' I won't freak out about....I allow myself the sneaky excitement that it MIGHT have just gone down 'a little bit' and then the most comfortable thought. Just please be the same. 

I step on the digital scales, pop in my pound coin and '"stay still and stand upright" while the machine measures my height and weight. I don't even look at the screen to see. I wait for the print out instead. I hold on to the handles and measure my body fat, even though I have no faith in what that ACTUALLY measures (I always think maybe it'd have a true reading if it could measure the fat somewhere else. Like my stomach not my fingers?)  

Let me put this next bit in context. **Don't read this paragraph if you're easily triggered. I am just being honest** For the last couple of months I have tracked my intake roughly - and generally day-to-day I don't reach 2000 calories, despite knowing I should be, and not being far off, it's not 2000. For those of you who want to know...it's probably 1600-ish. So, if I am NOT at the 'ideal' recovery weight, and I'm under-eating on a daily basis, and doing about two days of exercise a week (one run and one HIIT/Circuit session) my head is jumbled with thoughts as to why I have gained weight. A little more context. 

Anyone well into their recovery or battling on from a relapse will know what I mean when I explain that it's not like the SCREAMS of anorexia when you first start WR, it's more a mix of a thousand-and-one questions as to WHY it's gone up, just wanting answers. Of course, I know it's anorexia asking them. I also have to consciously remind myself I am still slightly short of where I was when I was discharged - and even then I had a couple of kilos to go to hit the 'ideal' initial WR target. Want a little more context? I'm talking about 0.3kg, a POUND. That's anorexia's magic, all those questions, over 1lb. It makes me analyse what I have done to 'deserve' the gain. 

I don't want lie or hold back but know to protect other people in recovery - I do. It also helps to avoid having to explain myself to people who don't get why this is still an issue a year after discharge and almost five years after stating treatment. But it is. 

So I will have to end this here. A pound. 


  1. Just to give you a little perspective here, I think the bigger problem is that you're exercising and not eating enough, NOT the pound gain. 1600 calories is enough for someone on a diet. You are NOT on a diet, you should be restoring weight, so eating 2200-2500? You could go to the toilet and lose that pound.. and then you'll be back where you were previously, the same weight as the month before. Don't let this continue to control you Sarah, life is so much better on the other side, I promise xx

  2. I completely understand the niggles (I would call it torment because it is so many questions over such a small thing) and I DON'T think it is silly or whatever you fear people might think. It is the very nature of any restrictive eating problem, the intense focus on weight and numbers, even down to the miniscule ones.

    Something I noticed from reading this is that you do seem to minimise the 'loss' numbers and magnify the 'gain' numbers. For example (being honest) I would 1600 quite a bit short of a 'healthy' intake, and actually 0.3kg isn't even a full pound. It is almost certainly a fluid shift rather than an actual gain and I imagine you've been told the same as me, that it is the trend over time that matters, not an individual weight. So asking yourself what the trend has been since discharge might give you more accurate information about where you're 'at' than one reading.

    I don't have any answers. I don't weigh myself at the moment though I do know my weight, and I know when I go back to taking responsibility for that, it could be tricky. It's easy to say 'restore more weight' but sometimes it isn't that easy (I wrote about the idea of choice a while back) What I hope is that you find a way to feel more at peace with this soon, so that it intrudes less into your life.

  3. Thank you Sam and Emma, both helpful food for thought as usual from you ladies. It's ridiculous that I know and fully understand ALL this stuff, I know what I need to know - yet I allow it to control me still? This is all so frustrating. It really is. As for exercise and intake Sam, you're right - that is a 'diet level' intake - but the bit that really muddles me here then is the fact I have gained weight month-on-month since February by eating said 'diet' intake. I wish I didnt question everything - the problem with me (which has been my issue throughout recovery) is I question EVERYTHING. xxx

    1. I know you know - I do too but knowing and applying it to yourself is a different thing. Again though, what has the trend been since discharge, rather than since Feb? (you don't have to say here, it's a question for you privately really) Anything can lead to fluctuations, and if you've been eating 1600 for a while it may be that your body has adjusted to that and switching to eating significantly more will mean your body burns energy more efficiently in the long term. Not a dietitian obviously so I don't know, but it's a thought. I guess this is where 'professional' help can come in handy, to answer some of those questions. Take care and keep thinking x x


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  5. I can see from the comments people have made you realise that 0.3kg is little over half a lb; as explained above it is to do with fluids and water retention. What worries me is how much you're slipping down that path, I've been following you since I left inpatient treatment. I have since relapsed and retuned to day treatment. I have lost weight and put it back on again as unfortunately you can't stay functioning forever. It really sounds like you're slipping and I'm not criticising you I remember when I was slipping and all I could do was try and hold my head above water. I hope you're seeking out help and that you can change this around soon. Functioning is not the same as living.

  6. What a great and honest story on the difficulties of battling anorexia. I am very glad to hear that you are sharing these thoughts and trying your best. I still want to push you towards eating a bit more each day. I am cheering for you!