I entered a whole new realm of numbers last week. And it was horrible. Recently I have been gaining weight, little by little, week after week. This hasn’t been intentional and nothing in my diet or exercise has changed. So I have no idea why I have been gaining weight and I have found it quite (well, very) difficult. But I have just got on with it, carrying on with my every day life-going to work, doing my work experience things…trying to keep busy and distract myself from what is happening on the scales…and with my body.
Generally, when I am out at work, I don’t give my weight (or anorexia) much thought. But with this creeping weight gain I found it more difficult. Every morning when I squeeze my trousers on, struggling to do them up whereas previously I could slip them on and off with ease, every day at work when I do my apron up and feel it stretched over my stomach, every evening when I sit on the sofa and see my thighs spread…the thoughts and the feelings have got worse. I feel repulsion, I feel guilt, I feel fear. Anorexia is there in my head, disgusted with me for what I have allowed to happen to my body. I have allowed myself to gain weight, unintentionally, and rather than restrict and exercise like I used to in order to lose whatever I have gained, I have done nothing-I have just carried on as normal. And this makes living with myself and my increased weight even harder.
But last week it hit a whole new level. When I got weighed by my nurse, I entered a whole new ‘decade’ of numbers. I am no longer in the 40’s…oh no…now I have hit the 50’s (kilos that is). And it feels utterly shit. Coping with the weight gain was bad enough before but at least I could reassure myself that I was still in the 40’s, I hadn’t quite gone over that all important number. But, low and behold, my worst fears came true. I couldn’t help but breakdown, crying to my mum and my nurse in disgust, in despair, in desperation, in fear.
It is crazy how a number can have such significance. Why, just for example, does 50.1kg feel so much worse than 49.9kg? Just because you have gone from a 4 to a 5? That gain of 0.2kg feels so, SO much worse than say, 48.5kg to 48.7kg. The actual numbers themselves probably aren’t that relevant…but it is the significance of them…the importance we place to particular numbers and milestones.
I haven’t been this high a weight since 2009, so a good 7 and a half years ago. And the last time I was this weight back in 2009, I had been force fed under section in hospital, pumped up with over 3000kcal a day, made to get to this weight against my will. But, with every calorie they forced down me, with every gram of weight they made me gain…they just drove me further and further into the clutches of anorexia, determined to show them all they shouldn’t have pushed me that high, devoting myself to anorexia, vowing to loose every last bit of weight they forced upon me. And I did. Within four months I went from a BMI of 17 to a BMI of 11.5 and back into hospital (thankfully a different one).
Now, entering back into those numbers that I was back then, I can’t quite believe it. I can’t believe I have got back up to this number, this number that I fought so hard against back then, that made me so determined to run fast back into the clutches of anorexia and weight loss. As upsetting and distressing as hitting this number was last week, I do not feel the same as I did then. And I am not going to allow myself to react in the same way. As much as I want to restrict and cut calories to lose a bit of weight, I have been encouraged by my nurse and my mum to stick with it, to try and tolerate it for a week, see if actually I could cope with it. So, as difficult as it is, that is what I am going to try and do. I am terrified of it going up even further and there is not one part of me that actually wants to stay this weight…but, if I try, if I really try, can I cope with it? Can I carry on living, going out, doing things I enjoy at this weight. Because gaining these bits of weight over the past few months hasn’t stopped me doing any of these things, it has actually probably helped.
It feels terrifying being this weight…and considering accepting it. But I do not want to go back to that life I had in 2009-full of hatred, full of deceit, full of pain and misery. Weight aside, my life recently hasn’t actually been too bad-I’ve been quite busy and I have enjoyed some things. But weight has the power to turn my world upside down. It shouldn’t…but it does. And at the moment, my head is screaming at me to lose weight. But ultimately, I do want a life…with more busy-ness, with more going out, with more friends, with more happiness. And maybe tolerating this weight can help me have that? I don’t know? But going back to how I was in 2009 is not an option. I am entering unknown territory and it is very scary. I have spent so long fighting for anorexia…now I have to fight for life.