Life,  Mental health

The mindf*ck that is ED recovery

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I’m sitting on the couch. Well, not sitting, panting. I’m panting on the couch after an 11 (count it, 11!) minute cardio workout. My face is Clifford the Dog red and my hair is soaked with sweat. Every day since I became pregnant has been a struggle with myself.

I’m attempting to get fit. And when I say get fit, I mean it. Not RIPPED, not toned.

Just fit.

Fit enough to run around, bend over without still feeling pregnant, you know, all that stuff.

My health history makes this hard. I’m a feast or famine kind of operator. So, of course, my quest to feel stronger and fitter has come with a massive backlash from the ‘ol brain.

I never thought I’d write any of this, never thought I’d be brave enough to go there but here we are…

I’m overweight. I’m *fat*. And I’m so deathly afraid of saying it out loud because then it becomes real, as though it isn’t real regardless.

So I’m overweight. And I didn’t start off this way, if you know me in the real world you probably know I was in treatment for anorexia for a few years. I thought I’d be thin forever, thin and disordered.

Alas, when I became pregnant it triggered off a part of my brain that told me “eat, eat so the baby will live”. So I ate the world… and then probably another world as a side. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll tell you that I gained 31 kilos (68 pounds) while pregnant. Let me remind you I was only pregnant for 7 months.

This post isn’t about pregnancy, it’s about how I am now.

Who the fuck am I? My identity was so wrapped up in my weight that I genuinely don’t know who I am anymore.

I meet new people and feel an overwhelming desire to explain away and apologise for my size. “Oh sorry, I’m not usually this overweight” or “Trust me, there’s a skinny, prettier girl trapped inside this”.

I worry people won’t even believe me if I mention my past struggle. How could she have ever been thin? I still have disordered eating, only now it’s mutated.

I’m at a place where I don’t know if I want to be back to the size I was for the size’s sake or because I feel it’s more socially acceptable to be an underweight BMI rather than an overweight one.

In a frustrating turn of events, I now seem to respond to stress by eating and eating a lot.

Just a few short years ago, my figure now was my worst nightmare. I want to tell my old disordered self that yes it will feel uncomfortable and no I won’t love or even like my body but it is, despite everything, so much better than when I was sick.

There was a point I reached when I was in the throes of anorexia where I genuinely would rather have died than eaten. The act had become so foreign that I honestly thought I was choking eat time I swallowed. I don’t miss that at all.

I don’t want to go back but I don’t want to stay where I am. The old me doesn’t exist and yet I can’t stand the sight of the new me.

I’ve mentioned before that when I gave birth I birthed a new me.

I guess she’ll just take some getting used to.

Photo by Christie Begnell

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4 Comments

  • Karen

    Thank you for sharing such an honest account of your experience (I hate the word journey). It is beautifully written, like everything that you write, and I’m sure it will help many other new mums knowing they are not alone in the identity struggle that many have after giving birth and/or dealing with food issues.

    You are incredibly strong and you are amazing no matter what size you are. Having seen you are your lowest point, both physically and emotionally I have to agree, that this is much better! I am so proud of you xo

    • thisanxiousmum

      Thank you 🙂 Hopefully it does help someone. I’m just learning to detach worth from weight. It’s so hard to be constantly reminding myself but I know that with repetition it might sink in. I just want to be a good a mum as I can, like you are. xo

  • Sue

    Your words resonated with me. I too suffered the hideous, insidious anorexia I’m my teens. I am now in my 50’s and I am also fat. I hate being fat. I think back to my skinny self and wish I could be closer to her than I am. But I am also proud that I am still here. I have put my poor body through so much that I just wish I could find a nice middle ground. I have just started the Keto diet, I want to lose 10 kilos. I wish you luck in your endeavours.

    • thisanxiousmum

      Thank you for taking the time out to comment Sue it means alot. I’m proud that I’m still here too. Finding the middle ground is so difficult. Good luck on your keto journey.

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