Like usual, I came home from my weekly nutrition appointment pretty torn. It was my first time seeing her after vacation and I was sure I gained lots of weight from all the indulgences I had and was proud to share my success as far as sampling new things, less feelings of guilt, and actually having fun! But when I got into her office after being weighed, the scale hadn’t budged.
Before you judge and think “Oh my gosh CJ is totally off the bandwagon and is losing control of her recovery,” I want you to read on with an open mind, because this scenario provides important lessons for a journey toward health.
1. It disputes any irrational fear I had about eating like a “normal” person, and including things I still consider pretty indulgent, without gaining 486897464 pounds overnight.
I was pretty free last week. Granted we walked a lot in Disney World, but I still engaged every craving and desire I had for the delicious treats at Food and Wine and the specialty restaurants. There was no restriction, challenge foods were definitely incorporated, and still my weight stayed the same.
When I was really sick, and even sometimes now, I truly believed if I ate a dessert, I would balloon up instantly. There were points where I actually felt like my legs were expanding at the table when I ate. I tricked my brain into seeing the fat building around my mid-section with very single bite. This sounds crazy, right?
It does now! But if you would have tried to rationalize with me a few months ago, I would have thought YOU were the crazy one.
I am not happy that there was no fluctuation in my weight, because as many of you know I have a ton of goals for the next few months that require my body to be healthy, but I did think this proof might be valuable to any of you who struggle with the same fears I once had about overnight weight gain.
Science and biology simply do not allow it to happen. Sure, if you ate 3500 calories in excess to what your body needed to function, you could gain 1 lb in a day, but that is highly unlikely.
I hope you remember this the next time you are having major guilt or anxiety over what you ate, or any meal to come. You DESERVE food; nourishment for both body and soul. It will not hurt you and it will not cause excessive gain. Trust me, and trust your body.
2. Progress in recovery is not always measured by the number on a scale.
Im sure you all know this, and I have discussed it before, but I was fully expecting both Ryan and my nutritionist to scold me for not doing well enough with my meal plan last week.
I did have difficulty keeping track of my intake because I honestly had no idea the values for some of the things I consumed (hello, scary and good at the same time!) and I was ready to come home to an “I told you so” speech from my husband about how I should just eat more, regardless.
But both my dietician and Ryan were still proud of the strides I made outside of a numerical increase.
WHAT!? I didn’t gain so how could they possibly be ok?!
They pointed out some of the positives since my last appointment…
I tried a dessert that was not just a fruit bowl or sugar-free sorbet.
I tasted and participated my way around the countries at the Food and Wine Festival with pretty minimal guilt.
I ate at amazing restaurants, appetizer, entrée and dessert, while completely out of my comfort zone and enjoyed almost every second of it.
I am socializing with friends and family more often.
I did not feel like I had to stay for two hours of zumba because of what I consumed on vacation (aka I listed to my body saying “I am super tired after a few days away and need some rest!”)
I actually used oil to bake and ATE the product.
These may not seem like major things to everyone, but the fact that I actually stayed present on vacation, let myself relax a bit and have a fabulous time, participating and celebrating my anniversary, was HUGE for me.
Although I plan to work very hard and get back on track for my next weigh in, sometimes you have to look at aspects other than a scale increase to determine how well you are doing.
Please do not mistake what I am saying. WEIGHT GAIN IS CRUCIAL at overcoming malnourishment, but to break away from destructive eating habits, the mental and emotional barriers are equally as significant.
So maybe this week I didn’t conquer both, but next week I will.
I am aware of what I need to do, I have goals, and most importantly I have a good attitude.
Will I always? Definitely not.
As you have all seen, recovery is not linear, but as I have said before, by celebrating the small things, and reframing thoughts, it is much easier to continue on a healthy path than by saying “oh man, the scale didn’t move this week so I am a complete failure!”
Nope! It just means I need to put the gloves on and fight. This goes to any minor set-back in life, and that is the biggest lesson of all…
ED recovery can translate into many other hardships; perseverance, maintaining a positive outlook, and pushing forward no matter what, is the only way to get where you want to be.
I plan on doing that…
How about you?