I have a lot of questions about progress, changing a meal plan, exercise, etc. as my recovery advances. And I have had several comments about my personal appearance from photos I posted this weekend when I was at a bowling outing with my family.
In these pictures I was bundled up as usual, with my favorite North Face fleece, which I have on for 2 reasons; first, because I am still always freezing despite my weight gain, and second, because I am very uncomfortable with my body.
And since I have a lot of issues with body image, it was very difficult to read, “it looks like you are making great progress!…look how healthy you are becoming….” because in my mind that just confirmed every fear I have that my physique has expanded at an exponential rate since the end of the summer.
So to answer a few of these questions, and update you on the “progress” I have made, I wanted to open up a little bit about my journey since August.
Healthy Living Summit
My inbox was flooded with a bunch of really negative feedback after these pictures showed up online because I was being “hypocritical” in my recovery.
I was only 3 or four pounds heavier than my lowest weight ever and I was still giving tips on how to overcome eating disorder thoughts; obviously while I was still very stuck in my destructive ways.
After a little kick in the rear, and a bunch of major changes, I did start seeing some physical improvements.
In an “agreement” with my dietician and my husband, we all came up with a .5 pound a week weight gain plan, equating to about 2300-2500 (minimum) calories a day, with one hour of walking on the treadmill.
So I am one hundred percent honest, I am not going to tell you I walk on a flat surface at a slow pace. I don’t.
I do what they call a “brisk” walk, ranging from 4.0 mph-4.5 mph (the recent speed increase occurred only after I reached triple digits!) and I vary my incline depending on the speed.
I never go above a 7.5% hill, but I am trying to gain back muscle that I lost from restriction, and so far it has worked; my body fat is still pretty low regardless of the higher numbers on the scale.
It is imperative to gain some fat during recovery but I have always been an athlete and muscle is very important to me.
Also, when I started making consistent gains Ryan let me incorporate Zumba once or twice a week, and on those days I do not walk, or walk minimally. I still follow a meal plan similar to every other day, but if I am a little more hungry, I can understand why.
Between Zumba, incline walking and 3 times a week of a few upper body exercises with 5 lb. weights, my muscle tone has increased immensely and I enjoy seeing that.
I don’t like the my weight gets higher and higher as we speak, but I do like that I feel strong, I get sore again after a good work out, and I am able to do more than when I wasn’t eating enough to nourish my body.
All that being said, this is me now.
I am a little over 5’6 inches tall and have about 10-12 lbs. to go to reach a “healthy” bmi of 18.5, which is what my nutritionist, family and I decided was appropriate for now.
Does that mean it will always be ok for me to be at that number? Maybe not, but it is the goal we are working toward today and I am making strides at getting there, because that is where my body was comfortable here:
In college I was in a very healthy weight range, ate healthily and was active but did not have the same disordered eating behaviors I have/had in the past year.
I participated in life, enjoyed exercise other than solitary sessions on a treadmill, and was proud of my curves and muscle.
I was also social, and had fun in public, on vacation and with family! I was me, and with every pound, every day, every step, I am getting back to that girl.
So thank you for the questions, and minorly uncomfortable comments. It made me evaluate when I was in a good place, the dark period in between, the bumps, the triumphs and where I am going.
It was a nice Tuesday motivation! 🙂
I DO WANT TO MAKE MENTION THAT THIS IS A PLAN THAT WORKS FOR ME….I AM NOT IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM GIVING YOU ADVICE ON WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IN YOUR RECOVERY. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL IF YOU NEED GUIDANCE AS TO HOW TO START, OR CONTINUE YOUR PROCESS.