(242) How do I handle weight gain on my Food Peace Journey with guest experts Ali Eberhardt and Hannah Robinson

Julie Dillon

Tags: eating disorder, eating disorder recovery, weight gain
(242) How do I handle weight gain on my Food Peace Journey with guest experts Ali Eberhardt and Hannah Robinson

Moving away from diets and its recovery often includes body changes. Unfortunately, Food Peace proof is often misinterpreted to mean weight loss. What if weight gain was/is how your body recovers from diet culture? What if anti-fat bias is blocking you from food freedom? Listen on ways through with guest experts Ali Eberhardt and Hannah Robinson from the Let’s Eat Cake Podcast.

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Dear food,

We’ve had quite the rocky relationship, haven’t we? I used to loathe you and even hate myself for needing you in order to survive. I wished that I could just take a pill with all of the nutrients and vitamins I needed to keep me alive and never have to eat any food whatsoever. Many years of therapy, nutrition counseling, outpatient eating disorder programs, multiple residential treatment stays and most importantly, my own extremely hard work, have brought me to a completely different place. I no longer loathe you. I can now appreciate that you bring people together, that you help us celebrate different cultures and histories, and that you allow us to connect and make memories. But here’s the thing: I’m still scared of you. Not in the same way I was before, though. I’ve conquered all of my old fear foods and I’ve learned the difference between foods I’ve feared and foods I genuinely don’t enjoy. I don’t avoid you and I eat intuitively. I’m able to give my body what it needs, knowing that sometimes that’s a little more and sometimes it’s a little less. I “eat kale AND cake”, as a former dietitian of mine used to say (although I enjoy spinach much more than kale and ice cream more than cake, but that’s beside the point). It’s taken many years of agonizingly painful work to get to this place, and I’m finally able to recognize that and give myself the credit I deserve. So why am I still scared of you? To be honest, I’m not sure if I’m scared more of you or scared of what my body will do with you. I still don’t trust my body to handle you “correctly”.  My last treatment program (2 years ago) allowed me to complete an ideal step-down program, going from residential to full independence slowly and surely. I wish everyone had this privilege and will forever be grateful for the opportunities it gave me. I left confident that I could return to my “real life” and continue to eat intuitively, even when things got stressful, and that’s exactly what I did. My weight remained stable and in the range my team had estimated for me through my last two months of treatment and for some time after I discharged. I was doing well and was finally experiencing freedom regarding food. And then the unthinkable happened: I gained weight. My and my eating disorder’s worst nightmare came true. It wasn’t an alarming or unhealthy amount, but enough for my team to take notice and to necessitate buying new clothes. Shame enveloped every part of my being. I was and am still completely healthy and not in what others might perceive to be a large body, but it sure feels ginormous to me. It’s the heaviest I’ve ever been, and it came right on the heels of finally feeling free to eat intuitively. My eating disorder screams at me, “See?!? Intuitive eating leads to weight gain! You’ll always want to eat sweets and junk food and you’ll never want to eat enough vegetables! You’re fat and disgusting and should go back to going days without food”. I’m proud to say that I held strong and have remained stable in recovery to this day, but my confidence has taken a huge blow. Rationally I know that it could have nothing to do with you – it could be due to new stressors from starting graduate school, medication changes, or a variety of other things. But I can’t convince the rest of me of that. All I can see is the flashing neon sign in my head that says EATING INTUITIVELY = WEIGHT GAIN. Losing weight is constantly on my mind. I don’t want to go back to the unhealthy, underweight body I had before, but I desperately long for the healthy yet smaller body I had immediately following treatment. Food, you have hurt me deeply. Both you and my body have betrayed me. I trusted you and you let me down. Will I ever be able to trust you again? Will I ever be able to eat without second guessing myself and my body again? Will I ever live without fear of weight gain and the desire to lose weight? I really don’t know…


Untrusting and betrayed 

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

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