Image: Greg Raines
Though my road to recovery has been marked by various victories, I still have days when my growing body upsets me. This usually happens when I can’t pull an old dress down past my waist, or when a pair of my jeans fits so tightly that I experience intense anger any time I wear them.
I feel it when I wake up in the morning and try on every single pair of my jeans and everything looks bad and I just want to go back to sleep. But my secret is: even though I wish I could be thin, and that I could have the ease of lifestyle that I associate with being thin, I don’t wish for it with all of my heart. Because my heart is reserved for way more important things. –Mindy Kaling
Sometimes after these wardrobe failures, I start genuinely buying into the idea that I must begin exercising constantly and sticking to a strict diet of baby carrots and salsa if I expect to have a hope in this world. I begin my frenzied Google tirade, searching such intellectual topics as “how to lose weight in your hips but keep it in your chest”, “why are my hips still growing even though I’m an adult woman?”, and “why are my jeggings so ridiculously tight today?”
But the truth is, even when you know deep down that you are on a trajectory toward health, it can be tough to silence the sneaky voices attempting to convince you otherwise
Of course, I feel like a fool after these escapades, mostly because I know I should be Googling “volunteer opportunities near me”, “how to save the world”, and “Mother’s Day gift ideas” instead. But the truth is, even when you know deep down that you are on a trajectory toward health, it can be tough to silence the sneaky voices attempting to convince you otherwise.
How can you be getting healthier when you’re getting heavier? Why are you trying to convince yourself that buying bigger clothes is a positive thing? Doesn’t that just mean that you lack discipline and self-control?
Embracing your recovery journey can be challenging, especially when you’ve been indoctrinated to believe that gaining weight or increasing in size are undesirable and shameful. For many of us, embracing the journey requires a complete shift in mindset. It requires moment-by-moment choices to surrender to the process and to continually extend grace to yourself.
Embracing your recovery journey can be challenging, especially when you’ve been indoctrinated to believe that gaining weight or increasing in size are undesirable and shameful
It requires that you relinquish shame and comparison and self-loathing. It requires daily self-acceptance and self-love. Embracing the journey, in short, likely requires of you that which, for however long, you have attempted to stifle and suppress.
And a journey like that is bound to have its ups and downs.
Some days I love my new curves, and some days I miss my protruding hipbones. Some days I can’t wait to eat, and some days I miss the time when I didn’t. Some days I feel confident in my recovering body, and some days I miss the security of my sick one.
As twisted as it may sound, I can tend to idealize and romanticize the era of my eating disorder. That place of frailty and starvation had become so seemingly safe and comfortable. But when I take the time to thoroughly reflect on those years, I realize that there was something dead in me that is now being nourished and tended to and cared for.
…when I take the time to thoroughly reflect on those years, I realize that there was something dead in me that is now being nourished and tended to and cared for
And that is what embracing recovery is all about—realizing that your growing body is not a sign of failure, but rather a testament of victory in the courageous fight for your life. How exciting is that?
Here are four simple reminders to aid in learning to embrace your journey and all that comes along with it:
You do not need to explain or justify the way your body changes, the weight you gain, or your personal choices regarding recovery to anyone else, especially to those sneaky lying voices.
Gaining weight ≠ losing value as a human being, despite what the magazines declare, despite what certain men allegedly prefer, and despite what we may sometimes resort to believing. Remember: growth = good.
Surrounding yourself with kind and hopeful people who support your recovery journey and promote your recovering body is key to success.
Some days are bound to be more difficult than other days, but this does not negate that which you know to be true. You will fall down once in a while, and that is okay. The important thing is that you remember that you do have the strength to get back up, and that you do have the authority to declare truth and freedom in this area of your life.
The important thing is that you remember that you do have the strength to get back up, and that you do have the authority to declare truth and freedom in this area of your life.