Making Amends

1040-011-19-1101This past weekend when I was home, I did a side-by-side comparison of a photo of me at my slimmest (summer 2005) hanging in a family collage in my bedroom and of a photo of me at the wedding in Oaxaca in my purple dress this past March.

The cuts of the dresses being nearly equal, I was shocked to see that, although the scale tells me I have gained about 15 lbs since my lightest … I didn’t look all that different and, in fact, my shoulders looked good and square and my face didn’t look terribly different, either (ok, full disclosure: much better make-up now 😉 I’m a BareMinerals freak!).

Don’t get me wrong; I know I’ve gained and I can see exactly where (more padding on my hips, a thicker/ less defined waist, my ribs don’t stick out as much as they used to —hello, perhaps they never should have!?) but all in all, I didn’t look that dramatically different. And that, dear readers, was a shock to me.

I’ve focused so much on the whole “Yes, I’ve gained!” that sometimes I wonder if the weight just distributed itself somehow. Tangibly, it’s on my body … but it doesn’t look as bad as I guess I envision.

Truth be told, I haven’t weighed myself in a couple weeks and lord knows I won’t share numbers here. But I am sure I’ve gained; I noted before I left for N.J. that I have been over-eating (which means above my RMR for me), as I’ve managed to nip my chew/spit behavior. The next step will be eating less.

But … revelation … even with the extra pounds, I don’t feel heinous about myself. Consider this … my “winter coat,” if you will. Michigan winters are brutal, but I know it’s spring-time and I’m going to be enjoying more salads at lunch, lighter choices in general, will be outside biking more and/or running … so I’m not going to sweat it.

I finally feel like I’m making amends with myself … how I am now, today, not five months from now. And I know I posted about that in my April 13 post … but I am reiterating it because I really, truly feel good.

I don’t want to hate my reflection in the mirror, or be caught poking or prodding at any part of me. I want to just see me and be done with it. Obsess about my hair, sure … but not the size of my hips.

I am lifting, and working out — all of which makes my body stronger. And I am not eating as cleanly as I could, but I’m making strides. I am sleeping more (not rushing to the gym at the crack of dawn on an anxiety-fueled mission) and I’m pampering myself a little each day with long hot showers, a good book, good chocolate.

I have to admit, sometimes it’s hard to have a blog on disordered eating when I am trying to lose weight again. I did it the healthy way before, and though I’m not losing (yet) I am still behaving in a non-disordered manner.

The thing is, a part of me is less interested in the number on the scale, lately, than how I feel about myself.

For over two years now, I’ve been in this weight range I swore I’d never see again … but how realistic was that “never again” approach? Maybe this is where I’m meant to be. I struggle with this notion all the time.

My husband, friends, family … everyone wants me to be happy where I am, now. Not where I “was” or where I “could be.”

And despite journaling like a fiend (even when I go wayyyy over) and working out all the time, I am not seeing tangible results … but I’m also (admittedly) not giving it my all. (And sometimes I question if I really want to …)

So on the one hand, I’d like to say, “I’m good where I am and don’t need to lose weight,” but realistically, I know I can lose again and that I don’t look my healthiest. It’s a double-edged sword, for sure.

Everyone says, “When you stop trying, it will happen.” I’ve heard that about love (it’s never come about when I was looking for it, but has, each time, when I wasn’t) and I’m beginning to think that approach might work here, too.

I think it’s time to stop trying so hard. Not to give up on living a healthy life, but to start looking ahead … to being as healthy as I can so we can start a family. So I can live a long, prosperous life. So I can be a good role model for my family someday.

No one but me knows what that number on the scale says … and it doesn’t change who I am on the inside. I know once I make amends with me … the rest will fall into place.

Consider this my “Day One” … my (new) beginning of the end of the madness that has consumed me for three years. Making amends … with me.

How about you? How have you made amends with your body as it is now, or are you still struggling, too?

21 thoughts on “Making Amends

  1. Today is my ‘Day One’ too! I am a new reader and have found your posts so relevant to where I am right now, repairing my disordered relationship with food. I once lost weight as a result of training for a marathon and after an injury have found it harder and harder to maintain that body. I spiraled into binge/purge behavior and am now so desperate to find body love again. I’m seeking balance and contentment and no longer want to have this secretive behind-closed-doors life. Thank you for expressing such honesty in your posts. You are helping so many of us!

  2. I was looking at myself recently in the mirror and I thought the same thing. Not of course in the same context 🙂 but I know that by moving more and eating mindfully I can lose that last 5 pounds and along the way I don’t look half bad. When I got down to that happy weight last year a lot of it was mental, I had lists of happy distractions that kept me from stressing over my weight and I simply lived healthfully as best I knew how. One day I woke up and there I was, a size and shape that I was happy and confident about it. I can’t wait to be there again and I know I can. Just like you can too. Thanks being such a role-model already!

  3. I thought you looked great in your dress in Mexico! My history with eating disorders have been extensive, and I am 40 lbs over my goal weight and about 60 lbs from my lowest (eating disorder) weight. Unfortunately, years of restricting suddenly turned on me and turned into bingeing. I am shocked by the change in my behavior- and thinking processes! It is a difficult time for me because I have been trying to lose weight for the past year or so- yet I keep coming back to the same number due to yo-yo dieting. I am finding your post extremely relative to my issues. Thanks for writing!

  4. I struggle. Like you, I lost 30 pounds a few years ago and have managed to gain 10-15 of it back. I’m much less restrictive now and happier in that respect, but half of my clothes don’t fit and I feel uncomfortable in my skin at this weight.

  5. I can SO relate to this!! For the most part, I’m happy with myself. But everything goes bad when I start comparing myself to the smaller “me” of a few years ago, and get in the mindset of “getting back” there, whatever that means. I don’t WANT to go back there, deep down, because of all the body-hatred and (as you put it) anxiety-fueled exercise. I’ve (finally) made peace with the fact that I’m navigating uncharted territory now; trying to feel my best and fuel my body as it is RIGHT NOW, not as it “could” be.

  6. Thanks, Leah and cheers to Day One!

    Danielle, that’s awesome! I know what you mean; when it’s not the primary focus, it’s amazing what can happen. Yet ironically, we do need to be aware, or we can end up gaining again.

    Aw thanks, Faye! Hang in there.

    Hi Mara, struggling is part of the game … I feel ya!

    Lee, I can relate … but it IS nice to be less restrictive … even if it means not everything fits.

    Hi FitforFree. I know what you mean; I don’t want to go back there either. I might have been thin then, but aside from the confidence it gave me, I didn’t like my attitude/behavior then, either.

    We can do this!

  7. At my meditation class this week, the teacher read a poem by Kabir that made me cry. It’s all about forgiveness.

    You know the sprout is hidden inside the seed

    We are all struggling; none of us has gone far.

    Let your arrogance go, and look around inside

    The blue sky opens out farther and farther

    The daily sense of failure goes away

    The damage I have done to myself fades

    A million suns come forward with light

    When I sit firmly in that world.

  8. I am in a similar place with trying to be OK with where I am now vs my “thinnest” healthy weight. I have lost a good deal of the weight I put on last year via bingeing yet still 7-10 lbs above the weight in my mind that is my “ideal” (which is the low end of the healthy range for my height). So on the one hand I am feeling good at the progress I have made and know that at this weight I am healthy and comfortable yet on the other there is that part of me that only feels satisfied at that idealized weigt in my head. I think some of that is leftover ED thinking, that I should be THIN not just average healthy weight for my height. But at 40 I do know my body is different and that weight that was “great” in my 20’s and 30’s might not be so practical now. I have really been trying to feel good about myself at this weight and do find it helps to be kind to ourselves and not look in the mirror and say ewww thighs LOL but focus on our best features. I want to feel good about myself right now.

    Faye–I also experienced a major shift from yrs of restrictive eating to binge eating and from what I understand it is not uncommon.I guess our bodies and minds can only deal with the deprivation for so long.

  9. Ha I am definately still struggling to make amends. Although I am trying to think that I should eat healthy ad work out for the sake of ‘health’ and not to lose weight. This is still hard for me to grasp, but I am trying to take this approach — it just will take a while to change my way of thinking.

  10. While I’ve pretty much stayed within 5 pounds of my goal weight reached last June, I still have a lot trouble being happy with my body. I know that losing more weight in a healthy way really isn’t good for my body frame but I still cant help to look sometimes in the mirror and wish there was a little less pudge here, a little more definition there. Your post made me think about a great sex and the city quote:

    “I admit it’s tempting to wish for the perfect boss – the perfect parent – or the perfect outfit. But maybe the best any of us can do is not quit, play the hand we’ve been dealt, and accessorize what we’ve got.”

    In the context of our bodies, we may not always be 100% satisfied with what we see in the mirror but I think it’s definitely to our advantage to work with what we have.

  11. dude, the is the calmest you’ve ever been. Ride that wave!
    It’s really important to realize that 5-10 lbs is recognizable to no one but you and it bugs no on but you. And once you realize that+/- 5 or 10 lbs is really JUST a number and not a reflection on your happiness, I believe you will settle down to where you need to be. whether that’s 5 or 10 lbs from goal.
    who knows, maybe you just AREN’T supposed to be as light as you were at your lowest?
    it’s wholly natural to gain weight over winter and I bet you’ll see the numbers drop without even trying now that it’s warmer out and we’re seeing more sun. Appreciate the things that don’t go in your tummy and you’ll find yourself obsessing about food less – a key along this journey for everyone!

  12. and to answer the question posted, I am very slowly making amends with not just my body but my whole look/personality. It took me so long to even like my face, let alone my body. I had bad skin for years and it’s only now finally getting better. I wear so much less makeup than I used to and my body is just following along with the whole change. I’m just ACCEPTING that this is who I am and how I look and I need to work with it, not against it.

  13. What a beautiful poem! Thanks for sharing.

    Hey Lara, I hope you can feel that way now. Do you have children? I’ve always wanted to ask you, to see how (if at all) it’s impacted you with your DE/ED in the past and your life today. I think you’re right too — we can only restrict for so long.

    Sheena, it’s all about moderation and you soooo can do this!! 🙂

    Danielle, I remember and LOVE that quote! Let’s accessorize what we’ve got!!

    Aw thanks, Cathy! And I am so glad you’re feeling so positive!! 🙂

  14. Lissa, I do not have children but I do have some friends with ED history who now have young girls and I know they are trying very hard to not pass on those behaviors/thoughts to their daughters. Ironically, they said they felt the most “free” during their pregnancies because they were “allowed” to eat more and not feel guilty about it. Very telling how even when people are “recovered” those thoughts about food being good/bad and guilt can emerge.

  15. Hi Lara and thanks for sharing. I do NOT want to pass this stuff along and in a way, I hope pregnancy has a similar freedom for me — not the notion of “eating anything” but in focusing less on myself and my needs vs someone else’s. Ideally, I’d like to feel that way now, not pregnant.

  16. “I am sleeping more (not rushing to the gym at the crack of dawn on an anxiety-fueled mission) and I’m pampering myself a little each day with long hot showers, a good book, good chocolate.”

    This is not pampering, this is simply taking care of yourself in your way. I dunno…to me pampering sounds like something a little “off limits” or something. These that you have described…simple pleasures of life that help you replenish your stores so you can keep giving back to the world!

  17. I totally feel the same way as you – I know I could if I wanted to but do I want to go back to that? I am able to really enjoy food now and while a few pounds have made their way back I can still fit in all my clothes. I struggle though with thinking this is okay.

  18. I have wondered recently how you handle trying to lose and not go back into disordered eating. I guess that is what this blog is about 😉 But you know, I totally believe you that you really cant’ see that 15 lbs. I’ll have days when I stress about 5, and everyone around me is like, “what are you TALKING about?!”
    We are much too hard on ourselves.
    “No one but me knows what that number on the scale says … and it doesn’t change who I am on the inside. I know once I make amends with me … the rest will fall into place.”
    AMEN. No one knows..and (please take this for what it means)…no one cares! I mean, no one cares in the sense that it is influening their opinion of you. I find that thought to be somewhat comforting!

  19. Clare, isn’t it funny(sad) how I see those things as pampering whereas someone with more balance in their life could see it as simply taking care of myself?!

    Kristen, I’m with you!

    Hi Lara, I lost weight with zero disordered eating habits — it was only in maintenance that I became obsessive. My initial 8 mths on WW (and even first year of maintenance) were without any issues; just a change of lifestyle. The danger is now. I still find myself over-eating and over-exercising …. not good! Working on that day by day.

    And to clarify – I can “see” the 15 — they’re there, don’t want anyone to think I look and see the same me as 15 lbs ago — but it’s not sooooo different. The danger is in getting too cozy that more creeps on — don’t want that or I’ll be back to square one. And I know what you mean; no one cares but me!!

  20. I love what (the other) Lara said about how no one cares. When I gain I get so self-concious and anxious when I will see someone I haven’t seen in a long time. I worry about what they will think of me or that they will talk behind my back i.e. ‘wow she let herself go” etc. I avoided some holiday parties this year for that very reason and that really is silly. True friends love you no matter what and certainly could care less about what you weigh. No one cares but us and we are our own worst critics.

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