*This post was written before I knew about Health At Every Size and Intuitive Eating- I could have gone back and deleted this but I think it’s helpful to see someone on their journey to accepting their natural body size. Here is an excerpt of mine!
There’s no denying it. I’ve come back up to my body’s normal x lb habitat (I don’t use a scale but I went to the doctors and had my nutrition assessment lab). I have no problem telling people my weight its just a simple fact about myself that doesn’t mean much to me. I also have no problem telling people that although I have been thinner and weighed less I am actually more comfortable and happy now that I take up more space.
(My first Delta Zeta Bid Day Chicago September 2012)
Looking back, when I was thinner I had less fun. Simple as that. I also had a lot of mental health struggles that needed working on so my mentality was sort of clouded at this point in my life and I’m sort of realizing this looking back. You can read about my journey to intuitive eating here which is how I got back up to my set point weight also known as the place my body likes to be at naturally.
There were so many things I wanted to try before becoming an intuitive eater but I always put school/workouts before fun and then I put relaxation second because after 10 hours in a library nothing sounds better than my bed and a shower. College really took a toll on my body and my stress caused me to eat what was easiest and led me to control my intake- I cooked plant based because it was fast, cheap, and yummy but I also used that as a diet without knowing it. I had food rules and missed out on fun stuff because fun typically doesn’t align well with rules. Stuff like missed ice cream walks and 1/2 eaten dinners out or subtle avoidance of fried foods or refined carbs except for special occasions.
(Senior year DZ September 2016 – here I had realized I might not be at my happy weight. This was around the time I started working on it- I talk about it in my intuitive eating story).
My hard work in school did pay off. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science, but I only started really enjoying Chicago in the last 7 months and I regret that.
Ever since I started to just adventure more and start to explore the world a little more intuitively, my body weight has slowly crept up to where it is now but I can tell you my stress levels have gone from a constant 7-9 out of 10 to a constant I would say 2-5 with ups when appropriate. Its amazing. My weight has a also leveled out and yes, fluctuates a bit, but for the most part hovers around a certain area! Wohoo!
I look at food as an opportunity to engage in conversation with friends, exercise as a way to breathe fresh air and smile, and I have let my body guide me versus my mind.
So if I’m happy and my body is 2 pant sizes bigger than before then I’m so game. My sleep has improved exponentially. It took me about an hour to fall asleep in undergrad (which truly was due to my anxiety but still, it’s worth mentioning). I was sitting up just running through life in my head finally falling asleep to 6 hours of sleep and more stress in the morning. Now, I lay my head down, say my prayers, and boom 5 minutes and I’m out like a light.
I think my weight gain has been one of the best things to happen to me honestly.
This summer in Spain- I ate. When I say I ate I mean I went for it. Full fat-full sugar ice cream, tapas on tapas on tapas, and lots of sangria. I appreciated each area of Spain’s slightly different take on the classic Spanish style of cooking. When I think back to my trip to France amidst the beginning of my eating disorder in 8th grade all I remember is wanting to eat another buttery croissant and restricting myself. If I were me now- I would have eaten that second croissant. When I go back there I am going to do it so differently.
Seafood Paella in Madrid- we shared it as a family. DANG GOOD.
Tapas Toasts also in Madrid
Chocolate on Chocolate on Chocolate in Sevilla, Spain
Food brings experiences and I freaking love that.
So for all of you who have gained some healthy weight and are struggling whether to accept it. I ask you- are you happier? Is your mind less pre occupied? Do you remember the food and conversation at a meal out? Are you genuinely enjoying your exercise? Has your period returned?
(Falafel and hummus and BREAD with my grad school gals after finishing our first week of our new semester last week- laughs and food!)
When the answer to any and all of these questions is yes then I’m smiling for you. Weight gain is so frowned upon in our society, we are fat phobic and number centered, and we don’t give our bodies enough credit. Weighing more doesn’t mean you are worth less. Weight fluctuates, even at your set point weight, and that’s just how life works. Spending extra mental and physical energy to try and override our bodies natural processes is futile, it’s what diet culture wants you to do.
So eat your greens and your whole grains but eat your cake too. Move your body and experience life. When we begin to reject the diet mentality and embrace the joy of intuitive eating our bodies have the ability to reach that set point which may be more or less than you weigh currently (mine just happened to be more). It’s all a journey and I’m on it too!