I gained 35 pounds and I did not die (or: okay with being not okay)

35 pounds

So, there you have it. I gained weight: 35 pounds. Not just a little, but a shitload. Of course, this did not happen overnight, but I have looked the other way.

As with many things that hurt a lot – when you move through them, sometimes there are good things on the other side. Sometimes these things feel so good that you instantly forget that you gained a lot of weight.

Making peace with the journey

When I look back over my journey with weight and body acceptance, I only see struggle and hardship. I do not remember a period in my life in which I accepted where I was. I always needed to be thinner, smarter, better. It made it hard to come to terms with who I am.

But learning to feel grateful for where you are, creates awareness of the current situation. Understanding this helps me to make peace with myself and to be okay with where I am. When I look at myself from my critical point of view, there will always be something to improve. In the past, this resulted in feeling not good enough. But, you know, that feeling gets old – boring.

As I am writing this, I find it hard to find the right words to explain this. It is a new level of thinking for me. While in the car, I thought about how long I had been on this journey, and suddenly I felt bored with struggling. The struggle has become a habit.

Inspiration

It was not wrong to struggle because it gave me a lot of motivation not to give up the fight. It also felt as if I could not give up the fight, for if I would, I would gain back all the weight I had lost in the past. All hundred plus pounds. But was it worth the struggle? Even when you gain back 35 pounds?

Hard work on the inside is not something you always notice. Sometimes it feels as if nothing much happens. You work your way through the days of the week, doing your best. At the same time, on the subconscious level, things are shifting, bubbling, and moving around until it reaches a degree that the unconscious becomes conscious. That is what happened lately.

How bad would it be to keep these 35 pounds?

This weekend I thought: ‘How bad would it be if my weight would stay like this (up 35 pounds) and feel good no matter where I am right now? Or: what weighs heavier, my happiness or weight that sticks like permanent marker?

Even though I may be heavier right now than my all-time low weight, I am much happier. Somewhere along the way, I have lost the weight obsession that I have been struggling with. It feels as if I’m moving into this place of calm and peace, where I am okay with how it is, no matter if my weight stays like this or if I lose. It is not that I do not care anymore; I no longer need to fight with it.

On the contrary, my body does not agree. It feels caught in my clothes and wants to be able to move around again without having to become a nudist. So for my body, I resume my healthy eating habits, not for my eating disordered mind that is always pestering me to perform better, cleaner, brighter.

Past Present Future

With that realization, I understand that the weight obsession kept me in either the past (when I weighed my lowest) or the future (when I would reach my goal) but never in the present.

But all I am is in the present. There is no past nor future. In five minutes it is again a present moment, just like it was ten minutes ago. We call it the future and the past, but when you think about it, it is bizarre.

35 pounds

I can only make decisions right here, right now. I cannot decide right now what I will do for the rest of the week (let alone my life) because I do not know how I will feel about my realization by then. For now, it feels good not to worry anymore, not even about those 35 pounds.

Intentions

Of course, I can set an intention, but when I get into a fuck it mood, those intentions are not as valuable as they feel right this minute. What needs to happen is that I need to decide at that moment again. Every moment when it comes up, I need to choose what I will do. Stay in recovery or break my lines. It is a minute by minute decision. I can let an intention precede that decision, but it is still up to that moment. Even a plan to take it for only today may be too long for now.

But what I do not want anymore is to stuff it all in a place where I can only feel bad for who I am or what I do. There is no need to become angry at myself because it just is what it is. It is best to accept where I am instead of forcing myself to be different. Recovery is about radical self-acceptance.

Choose to feel good

I can choose to feel good, even when the situation is complicated. This choice may sound like a contradiction, but feeling good is the foundation of accepting the moment as is. Not feeling good is the same as not taking it. For me, it starts with being okay with not being okay. If I can do that, I am free to feel how I want. Can you still follow me, or does it only sound right in my head?

When I became aware of this, I felt a lot of expectations I had toward myself subside. Suddenly there was no trying to control the weight situation anymore. It was not relevant anymore. All that was left was this present moment in which I can decide any way I want. All it needs is a bit of a pause to make a sound decision.

This way, I can also be grateful for where I am. I am okay with how my body looks right now because I am okay with where I am.

Back to that moment, when I had gained another ten pounds and cried on my husband’s shoulder. I felt his hand on my back while he comforted me. But there was more happening at that moment. A feeling of “so this is it” came over me. I accepted the moment. I let myself be comforted because I felt sad, not because I resented myself or my body. I felt sad, and that was all – and I was okay with it.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

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