I think I might be writing this more for myself than anyone else, because weight gain and the negative connotations that come along with it has proved to be the most challenging part of my recovery process. I came into my freshman year of college and started my autumn quarter right after my release from the hospital, still underweight and very much below my average, set point weight. I went from constant, 24-hour supervision to complete freedom. I went from being fed all of my meals and either finishing them to completion or facing intravenous feeding to college cafeteria food and no consequences upon an ability to finish. Needless to say, this was a bit of a transition.
I was released from inpatient care with the criteria that I continue along in my recovery process, eliminating physical activity and providing my body with enough energy to gain weight. School was and still is my motivator; it gives me a will to recover and pushes me out of my comfort zone. Staying in college gives me a reason to finish all my meals and to refrain from exercise.
I have just finished my fall quarter at UW and my recovery process remains a little unsteady but my determination has not faltered. Yes, this has admittedly been harder than I ever would have thought, but I am still as motivated as ever.
I try to reflect on why the idea of weight gain is so scary. It is a multifaceted problem that I will never be able to completely delve into but I think a huge factor is that weight gain in this day and age is so looked down upon. Weight loss is glorified and putting on weight is seen as a failure, as a loss of self control and a lack of discipline.
Then I like to think back a little further, to a time when being adequately nourished, with a proper amount of fat and an appropriate weight was actually celebrated because it was a sign of wealth and wellbeing. Why isn’t it like that anymore? I question why we celebrate extreme weight loss and praise those who lose. Granted, I would like to point out that for some, weight loss is indeed a healthy option. But when the process becomes so all consuming that it takes the joy out of life, that is when it becomes a problem.
So why am I afraid of weight gain? I question myself over and over again but just like this recovery process, the answer is not clear cut and dry. It will take hard work to take the fear out of weight gain and it will take a change of perspective, which I am working towards everyday. It will take support from friends and an appreciation of myself for who I am rather than my appearance. And on a larger scale, for all who are struggling with an eating disorder, it will take a change in the mindset of society.