How I Feel About My Weight Gain!

First of all, hello! It’s been a while. I took a bit of a break from this site (about a year) as, when it suddenly stopped functioning due to a necessary and neglected widget update, I was awash with relief. Something in me really needed a step back from this world of being constantly embroiled in mental illness and wellness and self-care, and it’s been amazing.

I’m back with a few updates before I get into the title-indicated topic for today. First of all, I’m a rising senior at NYU! I’m getting ready to apply to global fellowships, grad school, and jobs, in the hopes that something sticks when I throw it all at the wall. I’ve also gained about 50-ish pounds since my lowest Anorexia weight, four years ago. At my height, this makes me between 5 and 10 pounds overweight, depending on the day. I have so many feelings about this, and I want to explain them in as non-triggering a way as possible.

To start, I love the way my body looks and is sustained, in a few very important ways. I am feminine and powerful, and contrary to some popular belief, I work out almost every day, whether it be 5+ miles of walking around New York City, a run, water aerobics classes, or just showing up at the gym (the latter being the rarest). I am strong and I take up space

I used to hate the idea of taking up any space. Part of my motivation for being Anorexic was that I could become so small such that I’d eventually be unseeable, dust in the wind, like Voldemort’s untrue and frankly offensive movie death. In many instances I prefer to be meek and malleable and yield to the people around me. I want to be unassuming, non-threatening. This is partially tied to my history of being bullied, where I was not only bullied for general existence or dating someone’s favorite person, but for being fat, too. I figured that if I stood out less, I’d be a less appealing target. This turned out to be untrue; becoming “skinny” presented unique challenges within the bullying sphere that I hadn’t anticipated. 

In any case, I’m not going to share how much I weigh or exactly what I eat, nor will I share comparison pictures. I’m not here for your fatspo or war stories. I will say that I eat at or below the recommended daily calorie count, and I know this by estimation, not because I count. I know that I exercise consistently. And yet, I am overweight. 

There is a ton of literature out there, which my therapist and a bit of googling has provided, which explains why someone who was severely Anorexic at several points throughout their life (in my case, arguably off and on for eight years) would gain weight fast when they begin eating normally, again. This doesn’t make me resent the process any less, but it does explain that I’m not losing control over my eating habits, rather that my body is storing fat as much as possible in case I do it all over again.

I love my chest, I love my waist and upper legs, I love the cheeks on my face and I love the curve of my back. These are things that are unique to my body type, and which I would be very sad to lose.

I also hate certain parts of my body. Whenever an online dating excursion doesn’t work out, I’m afraid it’s because of my weight. Whenever it does work out, I assume it’s in spite of my weight. My best friend and I broke up romantically last year, though we are still inseparable, and a large part of me (that we’ve discussed) is afraid that it happened partially due to an erosion that stemmed from my weight gain. 

It’s hard feeling as if I’m doing everything “right” with diet and exercise, and yet am not losing, or sometimes even maintaining, my weight.

In any case, a girl with the twitter username @allie_zapson, who has been harassing me for a long time, posted that I was “***” on twitter, which I assume does not stand for “dazzling” or “strong” or even “decent” (“meh” is, I suppose, a possibility!). She equal parts confirmed and distracted from what she did in later communications, but she’s not alone. When I was at my highest weight in junior year, I was snorted at by a boy from Ridgefield High School. I was at the high school to support my friend in a play. He later kept whispering “pig” from behind me. I developed my eating disorder shortly after.

Many folks, this twitter user and this boy included, claim to be feminists, or progressive, or any number of things, but when it comes to fat bodies (including fat bodies of color, of queer and/or trans folks, etc) the progressivism goes out the window, because they benefit from skinny privilege (as I once did!) and have little to no empathy for those who are unlike them, and are eager to find someone else to put down in order to manage their own self-hatred.

Regardless, daily reminders that I am “fat” feed into the narrative I tell myself. I know I am good looking to some extent, can be sexy, and am, if nothing else, interesting. But I have a tough time thinking anything other than if I was skinny, I’d be much more successful at creating romantic relationships.

This is, of course, ridiculous. My best friend thinks I am smart, funny, brave, and more, and I think the same of him, regardless of what he weighs (he is on the thinner side). My friends, parents, and casual romantic partners think the same of me. There is no world in which I would ever judge another person’s character, or weaponize against them, their weight. Why would I ever do it to myself?

I’m learning to appreciate the things I love about my body and foster forgiveness within myself for the things I want to change, but which are currently present. I want a cookie from the bakery a block away once a week, even twice? That is perfectly healthy and normal. Even when I was in residential treatment for Anorexia, I had mandated dessert three of more times a week. Enjoyment is okay, curves and valleys and mountains are as the universe intended, and are beautiful beyond measure. 

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