“To be honest, I’m not worried about your weight,” my dietitian said at today’s session as I frantically told her about how I was most definitely gaining too much weight.
That makes, by my count, one of us.
The past few days, I’ve been looking at every diet article on the internet. I have been desperate to lose these “extraneous” pounds. I think about them constantly and am incredibly comfortable in my body – to the point that I’ve threatened to A) cut off the extra pound-age or B) wear a muumuu for the rest of my life.
So imagine my incredible distress when today, my dietitian tells me that I can expect to keep gaining, at least for a while, and she would expect this to be the heaviest point of my recovery. She assures me that I will eventually plateau, but eventually doesn’t seem nearly soon enough. She also assures me that some of this weight will fall off naturally as my body tries to balance itself out.
My job, in the meantime, is to trust my body. To listen to hunger and fullness cues and react appropriately. To follow my meal plan and eat every.freaking.starch regardless of how much they terrify me.
Occasionally (er, rarely?), recovery seems to sail smoothly and I can do these things without a problem. This week is not one of those weeks. This week I am having to actively work at balance, which seems to me a contradiction in terms. In my mind, balance should just come naturally. If I could just shut up my brain, I could be balanced.
The only thing I can figure is that balancing your eating is a little like learning to ride a bike without training wheels. Residential treatment and PHP were training wheels, where meals were put in front of me and I was forced to eat. Now the training wheels are off and I’m in charge of my own meals and whether or not I will finish them.
And just like learning to ride a bike, I’m wobbly. Some days, I wobble to the left and undereat. Other days, I wobble to the right and overeat (though my dietitian also assures me that my perceptions of this are wrong). And some days, I crash completely and have to ask for help to get back up on the bike.
The hope is, eventually I’ll learn to ride this thing – to eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full, allow myself to feel okay about eating without compensating. Unfortunately, I have no parallel for this extra weight, except, perhaps, elbow pads and knee pads. They suck and they’re uncomfortable, but they have to be worn — at least for a while.
Eventually, you can take them off, but in the beginning, it’s just a part of the ride.