Side Notes: Acceptance

Site Notes: Acceptance

I knew that when this time came it was going to be difficult.  After so many months, my response could go in so many different directions.  I could stay positive and fight off the negative thoughts and anxiety, or I could fall into the harmful acts that I’ve taken up in the past.

My last post about anxiety about gaining weight was not all that positive. It didn’t get any better as I got closer and closer to coming home.  The thought of finding out how I had lost control of my body was terrifying to me. I was so so so afraid of what I was going to see on the scale. What would it say? What would that say about me?

I tried to give myself a few days before I stepped on the scale after getting off the plane at LAX, knowing that all the sickness I had endured (I was horrifically sick the last three days I was in Cuzco, as in I couldn’t get out of bed and had to go on antibiotics) and the exhaustion of travel would have an effect on my body. My anxiety only let me wait 3 days before I gave in and stepped on the scale.

I anticipated seeing a big difference; I knew there had to be with the way my clothes were no longer as loose or comfy as they used to be. I knew things would be different from when I left, but how much was beyond me. It took me three tries to look at the number. Every time I got the courage to look at the number it had disappeared as I stood there. By the third time I was able to look and simply became numb. There was no knee jerk reaction to negativity or staying positive; just numbness.

I had gained ten pounds.  Ten pounds.  To me that seemed almost impossible, but then in reality all possible. I simply didn’t know what to think. I was almost accepting of it for a second, taking into account what I had been through in the past three months in Peru, but then wasn’t when my mind switched everything around and made me think about how I had lost control of my body, my weight, the one thing I had always been able to control and be good at.

It took a few days to sink in. But when it did, it wasn’t pretty. My poor family, friends and especially Whit took the brunt of it. I was stand offish, completely moody, angry, and flat out frustrated. I wanted this weight to go away in an instant, but knew in my mind, and reality, that obviously that wasn’t going to happen. I was going to have to work hard to get it to come off or at least tone up, but at the same time I was so angry that it happened in the first place that I couldn’t get myself to work out.

It’s been three weeks since I got home, and everyday has gotten better.  Ok, the first two weeks were really hard and frustrating, but after finally digging deep into myself and realizing that recovery from my past ED behaviours were more important, it got easier. I now don’t wake up everyday wondering if my pants are going to be tight and hating it, but instead know that they will be and that if I work hard, that they will become comfortable again.  There is no shame in them being tight anyhow, it just means that my body has changed.  If anything, everyone has told me that I now fill out these clothes instead of them not fitting me properly.

These past three weeks have been a journey for sure, and will continue to be as my body changes and I adjust to whatever direction it decides to go. I have taken up an adequate workout regime and have kept it in check to make sure I don’t go overboard, along with adjusting my food intake to healthier eating than what I had while I was in the jungle and Cuzco. I have taken hold of the support of my family and friends to get me through the hard times and make sure that I don’t fall back into harmful eating behaviours.

Besides, I have too much birding to look forward to to dwell over this.  I wish I were back doing this instead!!!

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12 Responses to Side Notes: Acceptance

  1. Maggie says:

    Hurrah for you for recognizing your reactions and working to prevent yourself from going overboard. It’s often not easy to accept changes in our bodies, even without an ED, and I can only imagine how an ED can make that acceptance so much more difficult. I think you looked and look fabulous in the photos you’ve posted from your time in Peru, not least because of the joy and excitement I can see radiating from you. :)

    You’ve got this, and you’ve come a long way in that you are now able to reach out and rely on your family and friends for support. To ask for that support when you need it. You’ll find that next birding adventure before you know it! Sending you a big hug from the western plains.

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks Mags. It’s support from friends like you that keep me going through the hard times and looking forward to the fun times!

  2. I agree that you have too much birding to do to dwell over this! Worrying about such things is such a time and energy suck, and it does nothing to solve the problem. I have been in your shoes many times before, and I know that it is very difficult. I personally think that recent photos of you have looked fantastic. Although I know you have to feel this personally, for what it’s worth I just don’t see even the tiniest bit of extra weight. Even setting that aside, however, you are absolutely right that the recovery from past ED behaviours is the priority. Everyone – not just those who have suffered from an ED – finds that their weight fluctuates depending on life circumstances. Learning to cope with those changes can be tough, but it’s a very important part of recovery.

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Sarah! Thanks so much for the heartfelt comment. Knowing that you have made it through what I am going through always keeps me going, and positive that I can one day overcome my disease like you have! Happy birding! (I’m sending you some hummingbird pictures as I type!)

  3. I love you. You’ve come so far and are so strong!!! <3

  4. I can definitely relate to the anxiety you had/ have gone through because I am going through/ experiencing some of the same feelings you discussed. It is SO difficult to try not to fixate on the number on the scale and your weight. It is difficult to not take it out on others and to not be frustrated. It is so hard to accept changes in our bodies!

    I am rooting for you and I think that your attitude is great. What I have always admired about you is that you are not afraid to reach out and ask for support from your loved ones. That is something that I wish that I could do. I know that my parents/ loved ones would give me support, but I also don’t want to worry them with my problems when they have their own life stressors to deal with.

    Oh, and I think that you look great in all the pictures you posted from Peru. You looked happy, excited, and truly “in your element” out there. :)


    • Melissa says:

      Ah Katy, don’t ever feel like you are worrying those you ask for support. Ok, they may worry, but they are there for you because they love you and want to help you. I used to think this way, worrying that I was making people worry or just being a nuisance, but it’s never the case. Asking for help whenever you need it I believe is one of the most important things to letting your mental health heal from what we have been through. I am always here for you Katy, as we both know what we are going through and I will always be there to support you! Don’t ever feel afraid or hesitate to contact me!

  5. Tavolini says:

    Hugs, Melissa :) You are doing well and I loved seeing all your pictures from Peru. Keep being strong, girl.

  6. Pearl says:

    Sounds like you’re handling this information really well. It can be so hard to adjust to a higher weight than we’re comfortable with. As much as I encourage you to be accepting of yourself at any weight, I know that it isn’t the same when referring to oneself. (I’m having really negative feelings about my own weight right now even though I know it’s ridiculous!) You’re doing all the right things- getting support from loved ones around you doing healthy things for yourself. You’ll get through this!

  7. Big hugs, lady! You always inspire me when you write these posts because even if what you’re dealing with is overwhelming, you still manage to compose yourself and your thoughts to rationally figure out how you’re feeling and how you need to respond. You really are an incredibly strong woman, both mentally and physically! And you are always beautiful – no scale is going to tell me otherwise. Stay positive – love you!

  8. G says:

    I am a bit late here, but I wanted to add that you did something really challenging out there- living the way you did could have led to a total loss of control- which to me means losing control to the ED in your past. But you let it stay in the past and lived with the anxiety instead of trying to tame it with unhealthy behaviors. Living with and through anxiety is so hard but you did it and are still doing it and that is success.

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