That Time Again: Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Monday 27 February

Last year, I shared my story with the world. Throughout the duration of EDAW 2022 and in various blog posts since, I covered many different topics in connection to eating disorders. This was the first time I opened up online about my experience, and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

Today, I want to spread more awareness on the topic. I’ll keep this short. So many of us struggle with body image, exercise addiction and disordered eating. We may not even realise we are. It takes a lot of courage to speak up about it and seek help, especially when we really don’t want to receive any kind of help. I am here to tell you that speaking up about it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

Over the last year, so much has happened. I have entered many stages of recovery. I was scared and reluctant and initially didn’t give it my all. A year later, I’m in a much better place mentally, physically and emotionally. Since I decided to use the “all-in-approach”, by restricting my exercise and eating in a surplus, I have gained so much life back.

Weight gain was scary. It still is scary. At the same time of choosing to recover properly for the long term, I also went on the contraceptive pill, which obviously aided my weight gain. I’ve gained weight and you know what? I don’t care! It has taken me so long to accept this weight gain, believe me when I say this. Since doing so, I have never felt better.

I have so much energy, which I can share with my family and friends, say yes to more things, and above all start living my life again. I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy my summer without this approach and let me tell you, I had the best summer ever. All thanks to choosing recovery, to choosing to gain my life back again.

Remember: weight gain = gaining life

A quote that has helped me recently face my weight gain is this:

“If you gain weight from eating a normal amount, that was the weight you were meant to gain for the size your body is meant to be”.

This really changed my perspective on it all. I have always been of a rather small physique, with no curves and a “prepubescent body.” I realised that a woman is meant to have curves and a belly – because that is what protects our vital organs! Sometimes I look back on pictures of my old self and find myself wishing I had that body. Then I snap out of that in a matter of seconds by reminding myself that that body no longer serves me, and besides, why would I want to look like a fourteen year old girl when I can look like a powerful young woman? That’s the truth I learnt very recently.

Since choosing recovery, and gaining the weight I was meant to gain, I have never been so happy. Sure, I still struggle with bloating and bad body image days (BBIDs), but I get through it by reminding myself how far I’ve come.

I hope this post reminds some of you that restriction and over-exercising is ideal in any means. You may be struggling with other demons and have this desire for control over something (and the easiest way to show this is through controlling food and exercise). I did. And I took it out on my body because I hated myself and wanted to change and thought the only way I could love myself was to be smaller and smaller. I never once felt happy with myself when I was at my lowest weight. I had no energy to be happy and satisfied! Now, I have all the happiness in the world purely because I chose recovery and chose to love myself – because everything starts from within.

I promise you it gets better if you find yourself in a dark place right now. Focus on learning to love yourself again, but remember that this takes time, and more time than you think. It took me 2 years to head towards any form of “full recovery”, whatever that means, and I still struggle with it and consider relapsing. What matters is that I have left that old version of me behind and I am working towards building a bigger and better life for myself that doesn’t involve how I look – because nobody actually cares how much you weigh or what your clothes size is. You are you, and that comes from the beauty inside of you.

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