It’s time to get real.
There is something that has been going on in my life that I haven’t talked about, or really even acknowledged within myself, so I’m just going to say it.
I’ve lost a lot of weight.
Pounds have been falling off of me before my eyes, and I can’t seem to put them back on. This weight loss is not intentional by any means, but it is terrifying for someone like me.
Close friends and family members may know that I have struggled with my mental health; with one of the more destructive struggles being my eating disorder.
It feels strange claiming ownership of something that hasn’t ruled over me for quite a while, but as people in recovery know, it doesn’t go away once you begin to repair your relationship with food. For me, my eating disorder was a constant reminder of my failure. My failure to achieve goals, my failure to develop healthy relationships, and most noteworthy, my failure to stay thin.
There have been times in recent years where I have struggled with maintaining healthy eating habits, but for the most part, my eating disorder has been tame since my senior year of high school.
I was never in treatment specifically for my eating disorder, nor did I really feel it was taken seriously. My weight fluctuated dramatically throughout high school, so it was hard for anyone to really consider me sick. I’m not going to go too in depth about this time in my life, but it is definitely important to note that the weight I lost then was not nearly as noticeable as my current weight loss.
I won’t list numbers, but I will say that I am well below what I consider my “healthy” and “normal” weight. I will also say that I haven’t been at this weight since my freshman year of high school, when my eating disorder was at it’s worst. However, I was blindsided by my weight loss this time. I was not trying to shed any extra pounds, and I wasn’t weighing myself to keep track. It wasn’t until a series of doctors appointments that I learned the numbers on the scale had plummetted. I always stand on the scale backwards and ask not to hear the numbers aloud, but I do have an app that syncs with my doctor’s offices. As soon as I log into my portal to check on data from my last appointment, my weight is the first thing I see whether I want to or not. I knew my weight had dropped a little bit, but at my most recent appointment my boyfriend informed me with worry in his eyes that it was even lower than my previous visit, which was only a month beforehand.
So what is causing this weight loss?
The most obvious culprit is my new medication, but I do believe there are other factors. I have a job where I work 24 – 30 hours a week, an internship where I average about 10 hours a week, a babysitting gig here and there, and a 10 credit load this semester. Things are slowing down now that finals week is creeping in, but there were times during this semester where I was constantly on the move for weeks on end. Being continuously on the go doesn’t leave much time for meals, and adding stress and a new medication to the mix caused my appetite to go numb.
Recently, it has felt like my weight loss stands out above all that I am as a person. I don’t fault anyone for pointing it out, but it is starting to dust the cobwebs off of old destructive thoughts. Some people congratulate me by telling me I look great and asking about what diet I’m on or what workouts I’m doing, and others show concern by questioning me about my eating habits. Neither scenario makes me feel good, and frankly, I wish I was back at what I call my “healthy high weight.”
Before my workload started to crush me this semester, I was in great shape. I had been going to the gym 3-4 times a week for about 6 months, avoiding cardio and trying to gain muscle. I truly loved my body for the first time in my life, and I was proud of every workout. I based my health off of my energy level and how my clothes fit me, not by the numbers on the scale. I was ecstatic at every new muscle development, and I loved feeling strong. The progress I made with my health and my body image at the gym is a huge part of what makes this weight loss so hard. I wasn’t trying to achieve a certain physique with my workouts, nor was I trying to impress anyone but myself. I did it because it made me feel good.
Currently, most of my muscle tone is gone. I am definitely still strong, and I don’t look emeciated by any means, but I am not in love with my body as it stands right now. A few days ago, I went to the gym for the first time in weeks and my normal workout was exhausting and left me very sore.
Losing weight is not always a good thing. In my case, I did not need to lose the weight I did, and I am actually not as healthy as I was when I was heavier.
Harder than losing the weight and muscle is having people notice the loss. The attention feeds that evil disorder that has been lying dormant in the back of my mind, but I refuse to let it grow any stronger. I am making a conscious effort to nourish my body more. I know I am at my peak when I fuel myself with nutrients and the occasional indulgence (aka a whole slice of chocolate cake at least once a week), and I am changing my habits to get back to that routine.
Thank you to everyone who complimented me on my weight loss, but I’m looking forward to having a little bit more of me to love again.