Content note: The following post contains descriptions of weight (specific numbers), eating disorder behaviours, depression, and fat shaming. Please proceed with caution if you are triggered by any of the above.
Over the last five years, I have read countless times that it is impossible to feel fat. I am almost certain that I have written a post somewhere along the line called Fat is Not a Feeling. But then I look at myself in my sisters’ full-length mirror and I feel Fat. I go shopping and try on clothes that are never consistent sizes between shops and I feel Fat. I pinch my stomach and I feel Fat. I weigh myself and I realise that not only am I 160 lbs, I am actually 163 lbs and two weeks of running around after tiny children have not counteracted all those sweets you ate alongside the tiny children. Activities that have nothing to do with weight – singing, writing, working, socialising – may contain tiny mistakes and inconsequential unpleasantness and I blame it on being Fat.
It’s possible that I will never be confident in my ability to regulate my own eating. I don’t trust my hunger signals. I don’t trust my university-acquired nutritional knowledge. I forget about the peer-reviewed research that states that it is ridiculous to assume that someone is unhealthy on the sole basis of their weight. I convince myself I deserve a treat and then hate myself for it and then hate myself for hating myself and continue to eat more. The constant question: is this healthful behaviour or is this bulimia’s pesky way of creeping back in? Last October, I was extremely confident that I had cracked this conundrum. By November, I was purging after more meals than not.
When does it start?
When does it end?
I try to fake it til I make it:
“Life doesn’t start 10 lbs from now”
“You are exercising as best as fibromyalgia will allow”
“Your bloods and vital signs are better than ever”
It feels like a lie. Each line is overlaid with “163 lbs”, “27 BMI” and “fat fat fat fat fat.”
To be so obsessed with my own weight feels egotistical and selfish. To ignore it feels shameful. This element of recovery is already five years old and there are days which are like those at the very start.
Motivation is a pain. Chronic fatigue is a pain. Early-20s-I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-my-life-existential-angst is a pain.
This current breakthrough of food-related distress will fade into the background once again and something new will occupy my attention. It might not go away but it will not be as blatantly obvious and I will muddle along just like I always do. After five years on this journey, I accept that this is what recovery is. Coping rather than curing. Living with rather than hoping it will all disappear. Making room because there is no going back to before. You live in the after or you die. I’ll take the former.