“How not to do recovery” in ten easy steps

1. Ignore a small but significant stress-related weight loss. Five pounds is nothing compared to 2008/9. Nothing! I’ve been well for two years and fought off many potential relapses in that time. I know deliberately losing weight is a Very Bad Idea if you have a history of anorexia, but this was an accident. It’s not a big deal. The weight will go back on by itself.

2. Continue to convince self of the above for the next year. Three years in recovery, people! I’ve been above a BMI of X for three years! The fact that this is half a stone below my original target weight is immaterial!

3. Nurse partner through the world’s worst stomach bug. Pretty much stop eating for three days due to utter terror of catching same.

4. Find it ridiculously hard to get back on track due to emetophobia of doom. Waste several more days half heartedly eating not quite enough for maintenance, let alone gaining.

5. By the time emetophobia of doom is temporarily back in box, discover that weight is now almost a stone under original target weight.

6. Whinge about how unfair it all is, how it was so hard to put the weight on originally, that obsessing over food and policing intake is boring, it wasn’t even the anorexia this time, it’s all been a terrible mistake, etc. Flirt with suggesting to partner that current weight isn’t so actually bad – it’s still right on the border of the ‘healthy’ BMI range.

7. Scare myself a bit with how rational this all seems when 2009 Katie would be slapping me around the face with a kipper for even entertaining thoughts like those.

8. Grudgingly admit that this is a problem that requires a bit more effort than “oh, it’ll go back on by itself. I’ll just eat more cake”. Nurse wounded pride.

9. Discover that hunger cues have vanished, a constant feeling of having severe PMS has appeared out of nowhere, the distinction between feeling sick versus feeling hungry is blurred to hell, that shouting at everyone and hiding under the bed seem like appropriate life choices, and that it’s far harder to eat ~3000ish calories a day than memory would suggest. Hope body is not going to fight like this all the way, because that would suck.

10. Eat anyway and try to minimise bitching about  it. Decide partner needs a sainthood for putting up with all of this.

Thus ends my guide, which could be renamed “how to nearly fuck your entire life up for the hundredth time because you are too scared/embarrassed to let yourself step back for a minute and admit that you’re not actually invulnerable to shit like this”. But that was a bit of a clumsy working title, so I scrapped it.

Moral of the tale: don’t overestimate my own awesomeness in the face of accidental weight loss. The last couple of – hell, ALL of my previous relapses began the same damn way.


6 responses to ““How not to do recovery” in ten easy steps

  1. oh buggerations- but heck, none of us is invulnerable to shit like that. The body and brain react to stresses and some people are more vulnerable to certain stresses and reactions than others. Keep eating and keep warm with that lovely hat in these cold horrible days of winter.

  2. I’m sure I could provide some tips as to how to eat 3000 calories a day without any problem at all, but I doubt my methods of doing that are exactly healthy for anyone!

    Please don’t beat yourself up over this – I know you feel like you let your guard down but I find your thought processes entirely understandable. You want to get on with life and move on, not make things a process of constant management which must become extremely wearing. You’re aware of it now and doing your best to set things right for yourself – I don’t think anyone is immune to stress, nor to developing a sense of confidence when things are going well.

    I also don’t think your awesomeness can over be overestimated 😛 But I second the recommendation for keeping warm this winter in a snuggly hat or two!


  3. Urmphf. That sucks, Katie. Accidental weightloss is a pain in the arse. A similar thing kind of happened to me over the past year. I was all like “but I’m not losing weight, I’m eating more and it’s only half a pound a month, it’s a fluctuation!”…’cept when those halfs add up over months, and then you find yourself in a place you thought you’d left. Grumble. It’s frustrating, and tiring.
    I have nothing of use to say. I appreciate this post, though I dislike that it snuck up on you *gives disapproving look to Accidental Weightloss*.
    I hope you’re alright. I’m quite curious about this hat the others mentioned now L : P.

  4. Thank you for this – it demonstrates how it can sneak up on us and we will always need to be vigilant.
    You can do this. I admire that you are able to admit and accept what was happening, what needed to be done, and start doing your best to do it, despite how hard it was. That is courage. x

  5. That all sounds really tough, but well done for recognising it and not letting it completely knock you off track!

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