A couple months ago I went to go see my endocrinologist and found out that I've lost a significant amount of weight in the five months prior to my visit. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem for me or even something that I would have wanted to know, but it became a problem when she told me the exact amount that I weigh. My old endocrinologist knew not to talk numbers with me because I first met her during my disorder and right after Dr. Spigarelli told me that I wasn't allowed to weigh myself. However, my new doctor wasn't aware of this. Needless to say, I was elated to hear about my new weight, but that elation has quickly started to morph into an obsession.

I'm not upset that she told me (I mean, It's not like I can or should go through life averting my eyes when I'm weighed on a scale or expecting doctors to hide that information from me every time I go to a hospital) but I am upset by my own reaction to her telling me this.

When I was at my heaviest, I used to always tell myself that if I could just get to the weight that I'm at now, I would be happy. I thought that by reaching this weight, I would finally be able to be satisfied with my body and all of my body image issues would magically go away.

However, I'm starting to realize that this isn't necessarily true.

For as proud as I was of losing the weight that I once had, I'm now terrified of gaining weight back. I criticize my appearance and compare myself to others more so than I have in a long time, my expectations of myself are slowly starting to become more and more unrealistic, and worst of all, I've even started to monitor what I eat and let calorie counting slip back into my thoughts.

Although I'm aware of what's going on within myself, I've been way more passive about addressing these issues within myself than I should be. So, I've decided it's time to have an introspective heart-to-heart with myself to try to nip these disorder behaviors before they become active participants in my life again.

Ready? Let's do this:

  • Alyson, what is there to be afraid of? Going back to the previous weight that you were when you lost weight the first time after recovery? You liked yourself and your body then just as much as you do now. Weight doesn't determine worth or beauty, remember? I thought we've moved on past this.
  • These thoughts that you're having go against everything that you've stood for and all the lessons you've learned during the three years you spent recovering. You're becoming a hypocrite.
  • If you keep this up, you could easily fall back into your disorders or allow yourself to relearn an unhealthy relationship with food. Food isn't the enemy and your body isn't a construction zone.
  • Good gravy, girlfriend. Your brain was made for bigger and better things than preoccupying itself with calories and constantly critiquing your physical appearance.
  • Being skinny isn't an accomplishment and wearing a smaller clothing size isn't something to be proud of.  
  • You are more than your body and you are good enough. 
  • Also, at any weight or state, your body is nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Don't be too hard on yourself for slipping up, recovery is a life-long effort. 
  • Body image isn't reliant how you look or what you weigh, body image is reliant on how you feel about yourself.
  • Losing weight doesn't guarantee happiness--you know this firsthand. Last time you obsessed over losing weight, you were constantly miserable, hungry, and depressed. 

With that taken care of, I want to note that as I started to recover, I slowly realized that happiness came from things other than my weight or what I ate. Additionally, the motivation behind my recovery changed from wanting to lose weight to wanting to be recovered and healthy. Instead of trying to change my appearance, I decided to change how I saw myself and coincidentally, I also became happy with myself as well.

Lately though, I've seemed to forget all of this.

So here's a reminder to myself that:

  • I'm still proud of who I've become. 
  • I still love my stretch marks because they remind me of where I've been.
  • I'm still proud of how strong my body is and all that it can do at any weight. 
  • I still believe that size is just a descriptor, not a determinate of worth. 
  • I still think that I am beautiful no matter how I look or how the world says I should be. 
  • I still know that I am not my disorders. 
  • I still love myself because I am worth loving. 

I don't think it's a bad thing to lose weight or to be happy that you lost weight, but from my own personal experience over these last few months, I've come to realize that there's a fine line between being happy for yourself and obsessing over maintaining your happiness due to conditions you've applied to it.

Yes, I'm happy that I lost weight.
But I won't let my weight determine my happiness.

So, if I gain the weight back, who cares?
If I eat more than the recommended amount of calories for a meal, what's the big deal?

I deserve to be happy and proud of myself regardless of the number on a scale, the size of a dress,
the food I've eaten or the reflection in the mirror.

I am more than my body and I am more than my weight.

I am Alyson.
And I will be happy with myself.

Photo Cred: My Super Talented Boyfriend, Justin

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