Before I was ever disordered, I really loved my body. While I didn’t exactly spend time staring at it in the mirror or idolize it, I did really appreciate it and had a lot of confidence in it. I wasn’t ‘skinny’ or ‘fat’. I believe I was what would maybe be considered average? Close to where my current body settled a couple of years ago. I ate a SOLID amount of food consistently and literally never had any reservations about it. I naturally moved my body or didn’t based on however I felt. I didn’t think about it.
There were several intense, traumatizing things that did eventually lead to my developing an eating disorder, and once in it, I wasn’t able to see weight gain as anything other than terrifying. *side note, I never once viewed anyone as less than for living in a larger body or for having any amount of fat on them that my disorder deemed as ‘bad’. It was purely my own body.
Fast forward to my recovered self who allowed and continues to allow my body to call the shots, my perspective on weight/fat completely changed. I went from viewing it as something horrid to something incredibly healthy, beautiful, life sustaining, and necessary.
For me, having the societally ‘ideal’ body meant I was infertile (no period for years, irregular when I did have it), had a low libido (goes along with the whole infertile thing), emotional instability, chronic hunger, chronic fatigue from lack of energy from food, and often bouts of anxiety and depression. I never felt okay or at home in my body, and instead looked at it as something separate from me, something I was always at war with.
When I learned how to flow with my body by allowing and honoring its cues for energy, movement, rest and connection, the weight that came with it felt very right. Admittedly, at first the weight was struggle, as it will be for everyone, but with enough time and commitment to the health and well being of my body, I was able to shift my perspective on weight/fat, health and beauty.
Having spent a few years in the place where my body, right now in this season of life, wants to be, I not only accept the size of my body, but love it. I love the extra weight that my body holds now vs my disordered self because for me, it meant regaining my fertility, easy, pain free, regular periods, a fairly high libido, stable energy and a stable mood. For me, fat on my body represented finally feeling at peace and at home in my body, enjoying good health, finally being able to relax and enjoy life, and letting go of the past.
I have zero desire to ever go back to having a child’s body. For reasons far too long to discuss in this post, our societal ideal is that of a not-yet-a-woman teen girl’s body and I just don’t see that as something grown women need to be striving for. *This is not to say that women who are living in naturally smaller bodies are wrong or less of a woman. This is for those who feel they need to manipulate their bodies to fit an ideal that simply isn’t possible, healthy, or sustainable for most women.
For a long time while I was still disordered and then recovering, I still felt like I was the same 16 year old girl. Partly, I think I got stuck there because of the events that happened when I was 16, and I needed to process through them to be able to move on, but I also think I continued to feel that way because physically I wasn’t allowing my body to mature. I was forcing it to stay the same as my 16 year old body, and it simply wasn’t where it wanted to be. Processing through my emotions, allowing the weight to come on and fill out the adult body my body wanted to be in allowed me to finally move on and stop fearing weight gain and fat. Instead I saw it as something beautiful and exciting.
I embrace new, changing, growing seasons of life and have no interest in attempting to continue living in the past. Every pound on my body, wrinkle on my skin, grey hair that ever appears, softens me. It shows the experiences I’ve lived through, the things I’ve learned and the knowledge I now hold. While I have many more seasons of growth, struggle, joy and learning ahead, I’m grateful for where I am now.
*I’m of course not saying we all need to start gaining a bunch of weight and we’ll miraculously feel awesome in our bodies and have amazing health, etc. I’m simply saying allowing my body to be where it physically wants to be and taking care of it in the ways it needs to be taken care of while dealing with the emotional trauma that had made me sick and kept me stuck helped lead me to this place. Everyone’s weight set range is different. Everyone has a different amount of fat their bodies want to hold, and every shape is different. There was a lot of emotional work that went in to my healing/recovery from an eating disorder and diet culture, and I can say most of it was completely unrelated to my body or fat itself. That said, if you’re in a place of disordered eating or an eating disorder, I am not a medical professional and I highly encourage you to seek one out to help you through this season of life.