What it feels like to gain 10kg recovering from an eating disorder

September 09, 2016

Bear with me, this post is going to be as raw as it can get. I know people have been commenting that I gained weight, I look fat now etc. While my weight gain is evident — something I don't deny — it's also inevitable now that I started eating healthily. Yeah, those days when I was stick thin, when I fitted into size 23 jeans, when my thigh gaps existed, I was eating only one meal per day or even less. I was constantly faint from hunger and unhappy because I was never "skinny enough". Skinny? That's just a word.

The first half of 2016, I travelled a lot — Gold Coast, Hong Kong, Taipei. I saw the world for the first time and discovered that there's more to life than just starving myself to be skinny so that I can look good for the camera. I couldn't believe that I missed out on how beautiful the world, and life, can be while I was stuck in a gloomy place filled with self-hatred and hunger pangs.

I stopped living for Instagram, Facebook or the guys I wanna impress and instead, started living for myself. I began eating the standard three meals per day: a day-to-day routine of a typical person, something I should have done long ago. I wasn't watchful of my weight because I was so afraid of going back to that dark place but fear proved to be unfruitful in staying healthy. I couldn't control my eating once I started — bingeing was common amongst people recovering from eating disorders, I learnt — which resulted in the extreme weight gain of almost 10kg over the past 9 months.

I lost confidence when I was supposed to celebrate me becoming clean of my disorders. I refused to meet up with anyone because I was so afraid of getting judged. I cried disclosing my weight to my mom — it seemed like no matter what I do, I couldn't lose weight. I became obsessed with weighing myself daily, noting down every 0.1kg gained or lost. I bawled looking at my reflection and at a point, refused to look in mirrors because of what they did to my self-esteem.

When I was struggling with my disorders, I was unhappy. Now that I'm clean, I'm still unhappy. I couldn't understand what was this paradox until I realised, neither do I need to be skinny nor force myself to eat three meals per day. What I need is be healthy. Not skinny, not binge-eating in an effort to stay in the normal weight range. Now it's an uphill battle of me trying to lose weight I gained from binge-eating the healthy way —  not over-eating or starving myself, but eating clean for the well-being of my body.

The other day I was chatting a close friend and we both agreed the fastest way to lose weight is to cut down on food intake but that's not the healthiest, and I swore to never go back there. I don't want to return to those days when I sobbed because I ate two meals, when I screamed at people for questioning my diet, when I stood on the scales and pinch every inch of my body. Not those days. If I have to hate my own existence so that I can look better in photos, NO THANKS I'D RATHER NOT. 

If you don't think I look skinny enough for you, I don't care. I'm not trying to be condescending, the fact is I can't afford to care — to this day, I have to look in the mirror every morning and tell myself it's okay to look meaty, it's okay to gain weight, it's okay to feel fat once in a while as long as I don't let these thoughts linger in my head. I repeat to myself daily that people who love me will still do despite the number on my weighing scales and people who don't, what are they still doing in my life? If someone can't feel happy that I'm healthy and only praise me for how I look, I don't need that sort of superficial person in my life — my mind is doing enough damage to my self-esteem on normal days.

Losing weight the healthy way is going to take longer, but ultimately, I'll be happier and healthier. There's no point in looking good but hurting my body because I'm not getting any younger and my body is not going to repair itself once I ruin it. A moment of beauty is not worth the long term damage I'm doing to my body, and this post serves as a reminder to myself too.

I am not my disorders. My weight doesn't define who I am. It's okay to take baby steps as long as I don't give up. I will get there someday. It's okay to give myself a break sometimes. On the bright side, I can finally find clothes that fit me because I'm no longer eerily tiny!

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  1. Sounds like you are on the road to healing with that little guy of yours :). Your blog describes me to a "T." I learned from a Christian author the best way to take the focus off your own (self-perceived in your case) "short-comings" is to serve other people. Your blog is doing that - at least for me.

    Jeffery @ New Dawn Treatment Centers

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