After eight days of running, I took a day off to think about things. I was mad and upset today. I am a recovering anorexic just starting to eat again after a period of starvation. It is hard to cope with my body right now. I am eating healthy and exercising a lot, and it feels like my body is betraying me. I have gained a half pound a day for the past week. I actually watched the scale go up.
My T and I talked about this. No, the first thing out of her mouth was not “Don’t weigh yourself, Julie.” We talked about how the body replenishes. She likened what my body is doing to what a desert does when it soaks up rain water. She said all my organs were soaking up nutrients from the food I am putting into me. I told her that according to every chart on the Internet that I could find, there was no way that I should be gaining a half pound a day, or any pounds at all, given what I am eating. Actually, I would probably lose weight under ordinary circumstances, or if I am lucky, break even. But my therapist pointed out that the “charts” on the Internet don’t take into account the fact that I starved myself for so long, and that I am now starting to eat.
I think what really got to me this morning, and last night, was that my ankles are ridiculously swollen. My T says that this is because I was starved for so long, and ankle-swelling, apparently, is common among people with ED’s. I guess it’s a by-product of having starved myself. My T says it’s “fluid retention” and not fat on my ankles. That’s nice to know. But the fat ankles make me feel fat, and I associate them with the dreaded Massive Weight Gain.
So today I got mad at my body for betraying me. I got mad at my body for making me feel out of control and scaring me. I felt like I hated my body and wanted to punish it for doing what it was doing to me.
My body, in turn, thanked me for eating right. It thanked me for not abusing it any longer. It thanked me for taking pride in it and caring for it finally. And it also requested more sleep.
So the dialogue went on between my body and me, there in my therapist’s office, back and forth, until I realized that I am doing exactly what my body needs me to do–I am feeding it and caring for it lovingly and kindly. I am not feeding it too much, and it would be stupid to cut down on my food at this point. Why punish my body for soaking up the nutrients I give it? Why punish my body for doing what it needs to do to survive? Why call my body “fat” and “ugly” when these are demeaning terms that I would not call anyone else? I would not want to hurt anyone I love and care for–why hurt my body?
So…I am sad today. Tomorrow will probably be a better day.