Patience is not a quality I posses. Probably because I have the attention span of a four year old, I do not do well with waiting, long periods of sitting, slow results, etc. Unfortunately, in recovery, and pretty much everything else in life, patience is a virtue (no wonder they made that a saying!).
Why am I bringing this up? Well, another aspect of the “getting healthy” process, that has typically prevented me from fully getting over the hump, is what I call the “Buddha belly.”
As a female, bloating is a pretty common complaint. When you carry around a few extra pounds of water weight it can be seriously frustrating and uncomfortable, particularly at certain points in the month. BUT imagine having those feelings almost every single day.
I know there are people outside of the eating disorder world who experience cramping and bloat, but scientifically, those who are overcoming starvation tend to first gain weight in their mid-section and feel extremely bloated. After a few months it will redistribute throughout the rest of your body, but for the weeks where you can barely stand to wear constricting pants, it can be pretty darn awful physically, and mentally.
I have said this in various posts, but you really cannot fight science, no matter how many crunches you do, how healthily you eat, the weight will go where it needs it most. Our bodys are super smart. It knows how to conserve energy and grow hair to keep warm when undernourished, so of course it knows how to react when a person begins to refeed.
See, your body goes into protective mode. It is scared, and does not trust you (and lets face it, why should it!?!) so it stores any excess it can in the most essential areas; around your vital organs. Now where are these organs located…your mid-section! If one continues to feed themselves, on a regular basis, then the body starts to say, “ok, she loves us again, and now we can start spreading this to her muscles, and joints, and make her hair nice and shiny…”
I personally cannot wait for my hair to stop breaking off every time I brush it, or coming out in my fingers when I shampoo, and I cant wait to have a butt that fits nicely into jeans. Is that going to happen today. Absolutely not. In fact, I am standing here typing with my favorite Lulu Lemons, that I first purchased when I was at Princeton hospital, and they are way tighter than Im used to, but this time my recovery is different. Six months ago I would have panicked over the indent my waist band is leaving across my tummy. My head would have been screaming, “Oh my gosh CJ, stop eating your meal plan its way too much, your pants don’t fit and you arms and legs look ridiculous while your belly is filling up this entire room!”
What did I teach you last week? Reframing thoughts is essential to cutting out negative self-talk and this is one of those times where I have to use that tool. “Your stomach is not filling up the entire room, this is a normal, exaggerated feeling, that will eventually go away. It is only temporary and an essential part of gaining back your life.”
This all probably sounds a little cheesy, but I swear the number one complaint, or question, I get about recovery concerns body image, redistribution and the “Buddha Belly.” But rest-assured, if you are patient with yourself, and trust the process, this too shall pass. Do not let distorted thoughts, or negative self-talk prevent you from doing the right thing, or telling yourself you are beautiful, because YOU ARE. And if you are really struggling, remind yourself of PTG. Sometimes remembering the things we are blessed with, can bring us back to reality.
What kind of things hold you back from going after what you want in life?