Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Seen from the Outside

IMG_3192So yesterday I wrote about my body’s changes and how I wanted to regain the strength and energy I had before.

But I think there are questions of,”Okay, so what do you really think of your body–when you look at it?”

Admittedly, this is still a difficult one for me.  Especially since during my last time I was hospitalized, I hit my idea weight–not the insurance’s ideal weight, but my actual ideal weight where I functioned best–and then in the previous year I have gained even more. Enough that I bought new jeans and shirts that were form fitting were a little too form fitting for my comfort.

Sometimes I get angry.  I realize some of this–aging, the slowing of my metabolism, surgery, lifestyle changes–are all out of my control.  But I like being in control, especially when it comes to my body. So yes, sometimes I feel like I’ve done something wrong to get to where I’m at.  Sometimes I look in the mirror and I don’t like what I see.  Because I still picture me X pounds ago, and somehow that still sneaks in there.  It’s difficult working on a large university campus where I see (and teach) young women who haven’t even finished puberty yet.  That social comparison is still there.  Even though I’ve 14 years older than them, I still think I should look like them.  And I have to remind myself that they aren’t fully developed yet, that by the time they graduate, their bodies will have changed, too.  And that there is still a difference between a 22-year-old body and a 32-year-old body.

I don’t know if it’s called radical acceptance or willingness or turning of the mind, but the temptations to restrict or overexercise are not there.  I have a respect for my body I did not have before recovery, and harming it is not an option.  But there are still some cognitive changes that I’m working on.

I do not believe that having body image problems means you have an eating disorder.  If it did, then probably 98% of our society would be hospitalized right now, and while that would clear up road congestion, it’s not realistic.   As I said in my previous entry, we are wired to have these negative thoughts about what we should look like.  Yes, these thoughts are stronger for me partly because I had an eating disorder.  But right now, I don’t attribute it to the eating disorder.  It’s more of a quality of life thing that combines physical health with mental health.  As I’ve stated before, I’m still a work in progress, recovered or not.


September 24, 2009 - Posted by | Body Image, Eating Disorders, health, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I absolutely know what you mean in regard to being on a college campus. I struggle with the same thing. Logically, I *know* that the “average woman” is in the range of my set point. But, it’s hard to act on that logic when I am surrounded by young undergraduates who have not fully developed their “adult body” yet.

    I’ve often heard it said that “body image issues are the last to go.” Though that has not always proven true in my personal e.d. recovery experience, I know many for whom it is true. And like you said, would you even be a woman in the US if you *didn’t* have some body image difficulties??

    Comment by Sayhealth | September 24, 2009 | Reply

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