“Overweight”

Happiness Scales

I am overweight.

That’s what the color-coded table on the wall behind the scale says. That’s what the nurse wrote down on my chart. That must be true.

After all, these are the experts. The doctors, the graphs, the numbers. They know.

I’ve never seen them do it before, maybe I never noticed. I’ve been the same weight for about a year now, give or take. After my body hoarded fat for a while as it tried to rebalance after 15 years of an eating disorder, it’s finally calmed down. It’s landed and settled. It’s a lovely place to be, because I feel happy for my body. Like it finally trusts me again.

Like it knows I’m not going to starve it anymore.

I feel amazing. But I’m overweight. That’s the word. For my height, if I weigh this number, I go into an “orange zone.” It’s not the “normal” zone. It’s over the line. I’ve gone too far. Medically, I set off an alarm.

There is no category for “underweight.” Not on the chart behind the scale. I looked. My old weight, the weight range I was before I got healthy, it isn’t even listed. It’s not worth the effort of assigning a color. I weighed myself obsessively every single day for years, and I know all the numbers. Not one of them was on that scale. Continue reading

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When Someone You Love Can’t Accept Your New “Imperfect” Body

Loveyourbody

I’ve been on this journey of recovery from my eating disorder for about three years now. I purposely have taken it slow, going step by step. Once I realized I could stop feeling the way I felt my entire life, I wanted to be sure I did everything in my power to put an end to it for good.

That’s not to say I really ever think I’ll be totally “cured,” for lack of a better word. Everyone’s journey is different, and most people I’ve connected with or read about feel that an eating disorder is something that never quite goes away. My therapist compared my disorder most closely to my anxiety and depression, as an imbalance that manifests itself in a specific way. Indeed, as I’ve let go of my regimented eating and workout habits, I’ve felt OCD coming back in certain ways pretty strongly, so she’s onto something.

However, I’ve always mentally compared it to alcoholism, which is a tactic that’s helped me a lot. Since my dad is an alcoholic and I’ve spent years in Al-Anon, I know a whole lot about it. I’ve watched him go in and out (mostly out) of recovery over and over, and am practically an expert in this category, as one becomes out of necessity. I know for a fact that an alcoholic has to admit they are powerless over alcohol completely, and to succeed in recovery they have to accept they can never have another drink.

For me, this was a natural transfer. At some point early in my recovery, I learned that people with disordered eating are really at risk if they venture into any regimented diet or exercise plan, even the “healthy” ones. (Whether there is any truly “healthy” way to restrict and control what we put into our bodies is a topic for another blog.) Right away I admitted to myself that I was powerless over the need to control my body and that I had to give it up altogether.

This may not work for everyone. It helped me a lot. I backslid a few times- more than a few times- but my goal was to get to a place where I ate and exercised only to feel good. I had to let go of all calorie counting, all instances of forcing myself to work out if I felt it was for the wrong reasons, all restrictions of this food or that, basically let my body eat and do what it wanted for a while to learn about its needs, what made me feel good or bad, etc.

Naturally, I’ve gained weight. I try to stay away from numbers and sizes in this blog because I think comparisons are very dangerous. Every body is different. For me, I’ve gone up several sizes over these three years, and that’s how I know how much I’ve changed. Of course, this is common, and since I’ve stopped starving and purging, it’s naturally going to happen. There is the added element that I denied my body enough food for so long, it’s holding onto fats for dear life. Continue reading

Modeling Post-Eating Disorder

Ever since I shed the oppressive weight of my eating disorder, I’ve assumed my modeling career to be over. Not just because it’s impossible to stay at or under 110 lbs on my frame in any healthy way, but also because, naturally, I’ve been getting older at the same time.

Modeling was never the end game- I always wanted to be an actress forever, a model for now. It was a way to make money without waiting tables. I liked getting photos in beautiful clothes and being spotted by friends in magazines, and I liked having my hair and makeup done and getting into character in front of a camera, but, if I’m honest, really the whole experience was hell.

I was always, always, always hungry. No matter what, I starved before every shoot. Sometimes, when I was busy, I was eating 300-500 calories a day for weeks. I will never forget that first bite of food in the car or on the train coming home from a job- usually a pop tart or something equally bad for me. It was the only food I ever felt I deserved. I worked, I starved, I posed, I was sweaty and shaky- this food was earned. Continue reading

Goodbye Eating Disorder, Hello, Loving My Body!

Want to know something crazy?
I had this eating disorder, right? And I woke up every day hating my body. Barely over 100 pounds? Hated it. Hovering around 112 where I still had boobs and my butt? Hated it. Didn’t matter.
I would wake up every day with one of two thoughts. 1. “I can’t believe I ate so much yesterday! Today, I’m going to finally start being disciplined.” Or, 2. “I lost weight! This is the ONE part of my day where my stomach will feel like this, so flat! I HAVE to keep this up, don’t mess it up, Sabrina! Don’t get fatter again!”
Every day, hating this body that was pretty crazy amazing, in hindsight.
Now, I’m far into recovery, so I’ve gained weight to a healthy point (thank goodness), and then some. I’m still finding my healthy, best feeling place for my body as I practice new ways of living, but it’s safe to say I’ve gained the kind of weight I used to have nightmares about. I don’t weigh myself to know exactly, but it’s quite a bit.
And I’ve turned the corner. All this extra ME here, and I FINALLY, just recently, started waking up every day LOVING my body. I run my hands over my curves. I touch my little belly. I see my face in the mirror and I think I look beautiful, no makeup at all. It’s absolutely amazing!
Loving your body has nothing to do with its size or shape. I wish SO much I hadn’t suffered through my entire life up to now not knowing this. Because WHO CARES what you weigh? It’s your BODY! It takes you from point A to point B, it allows you to do everything! It’s your heart and your brain in there! It’s YOU! We spend so much energy trying to make as little of us exist as possible- body and spirit.
I’m HERE. I have substance. And I’m finally loving ALL of it!
Working out to be healthy? Yes! Of course! Eating clean foods to nourish the body you love? Perfect! Sure!
But, today, put your hands on your body, and really thank it. Love it. Oh, my god. What an absolutely exhilarating rush. Way bigger than all those rushes I got from standing on the scale and seeing the number go down .02 lbs. for the 8th day in a row.
Those highs were always followed by crippling anxiety about “going back.”
This feels like it’s here to stay, somehow…. ❤
Love, love, love, love, LOVE yourself. Please.