Fear of Weight Gain: When Push Comes to Shove in Recovery

The past couple of months have been easy.
Too easy.
I’ve been eating intuitively, no restrictions…but I wasn’t gaining weight.
And, for a bit here, I genuinely thought maybe my body was just going to stabilize at this lower-than-last-time weight. (And, of course, my eating disorder screamed “maybe if you lose even more, your body will stabilize even lower…”)

And then it happened.
1 pound.
“It’s just water,” I told myself. Fluctuations are totally normal. It’ll probably go away again.
But, it didn’t. Instead, the scale went up a second pound.
And, I panicked.
Why was it so sudden? So much so suddenly? What am I doing wrong?

And there it is: Weight Gain = I’m Doing Something Wrong (Bad); Not Gaining Weight/Losing Weight = I’m Doing Something Right…something good. Admirable.
The core belief.
And, unfortunately, it’s a core belief fueled by a whole lot of reality.

People look up to me because I’ve lost weight. They comment on it, ask for advice, want to follow in my footsteps. It used to be a badge I wore with pride; now, it’s a pain point.

What am I supposed to say? “Thanks! I starved myself!”
Awkward silence.

I hate that I “have to” say “Thanks” at all.
I don’t want to say thanks.
I don’t feel pride; I feel shame.
I feel fear.
The same fear I feel right now, seeing the scale moving up. “In the wrong direction.”
Because weight gain is wrong, and weight loss is right.
Right?

I got cocky. I thought I was “fully recovered,” but I’m not. I’m at a crossroads.
I’m gaining weight, and I have a choice to make — because recovery is all about choices.
I can restrict and try to keep from gaining or even try to lose weight.
Or
I can eat without restriction even if it means gaining weight.

I don’t know if my fear of weight gain will EVER go away. Honestly, I don’t think it will. I’ve never ever been in a place where I didn’t fear weight gain. And, if I can’t change that — the only thing I CAN control is what I do with it and whether I let it control my life.

To be honest, right now, I don’t feel strong enough to face weight gain and not restrict. So, for me, who wants to stubbornly choose recovery — that leaves one choice:

Don’t look.

Don’t look at the scale, don’t face the weight gain. Just eat and don’t look.
And, holy crap, that is the most terrifying thought… which is how I know I have to do it.

Ugh.
Even writing this, I am nauseated with fear.
But my daughter is playing in the next room, my son is sleeping in his crib, and we’re celebrating my husband’s birthday today with cake and burgers, and I want to recover so that I’m REALLY there, participating.

So, I know I have to do this.
Be afraid, feel sick, tremble…and choose recovery anyways.

Goodbye, scale. I choose life.