Perfectionism: (noun) Refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.
Or in other words, refusal to accept any other form of peanut butter other than creamy.
Oh come on, y'all know I had to slip some type of peanut butter reference in there.
Anyways, this whole idea of perfectionism, being perfect, is quite a dominating emotion. It forces you to disregard anything less than unattainable standards. Except you don't know they're unattainable until you are given a different result, over and over again. This brings me to my current struggle, the roadblock I keep butting heads with continuously.
Weight gain, or accepting myself at any form other than my usual "fragile" state.
You see, recovering from an eating disorder is not just eating a massive amount of calories to put an individual back at a healthy body weight. If you ask me, recovery TRULY begins when you are forced to work on self acceptance, at every stage of change within in your body.
5lbs ago, I thought I was at a healthy weight.
10lbs ago, I thought I was at a healthy weight.
20lbs ago, I thought I was at a healthy weight.
Hell, 40lbs ago I thought I was at a healthy weight. This unrealistic perspective leads me to hold high expectations for myself that just aren't possible for me and my body. In the last almost two months, I've gained near the upwards of 5-8 pounds. Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking, "The hell you bitchin' about? That's nothing!"
When you struggle with an eating disorder, anything greater than weight loss seems like a ton of bricks. 5-8lbs on a smaller frame like myself feels like a lot. I feel like I can feel the weight gain everywhere on my body. Yes, some of this comes from that lovely body dysmorphia struggle. I don't see myself the way others see me. No matter what amount of weight I gain, I need to learn to face it, grow with it, and accept it. In the past, as soon as I've felt my body change or seen a higher number on the scale, I would immediately relapse and do everything in my power to shed the weight I gained. I'm so tired of that bullshit, that endless cycle that doesn't get me any farther in my recovery process, but yet sets me back farther than I initially was. When I stepped on the scale a few days ago and saw a number I was not expecting in the slightest, Ed instantly freaked out, and I felt my gut coil up like a snake around its prey.
"I TOLD you. I TOLD YOU that you were eating too much food. I tried to warn you. Now look at you, your clothes are going to squeeze the fat on your body, you're going to hang over your bras, your thighs are going to rub together, the weight gain is never going to stop. But it doesn't have to be this way, Lauryn. Come back to me, I can make it all better." demanded Ed.
One thing I've learned in recovery is to listen to what Ed says to me, but then do the exact opposite. So I sat with his lingering words in my mind for a few hours, but didn't comply to his orders. I went about my training session in the gym as normal, ate my normal meal plan, and didn't do extra cardio to try and compensate for the sudden weight gain.
I'd be lying if I said I was comfortable in my body right now. For years and years, I have been inside this frail, small, fragile body. I was convinced that if that was the body I had been in for years, that was the body I was supposed to be in forever. Except our bodies are a pretty amazing thing, and will be changing daily, hourly, and even by the minute. Fluctuations happen ALL THE TIME. I find Ed telling me in moments of insecurity and discomfort that this weight gain is temporary, and I'll be back to "normal" in no time.
Except what if this isn't temporary? What if this is my body so desperately trying to do what I've been pushing away for years? If there's anyone I wish I could say I'm sorry to, it's my body. I'm so sorry for hating you when all you were trying to do was heal my damaged organs and give me the extra skin I so desperately needed. I'm sorry for destroying so many vital functions, functions I might not ever be able to get back. I'm sorry for being so cruel.
The one thing that is helping me hold on with this most recent struggle is powerlifting. I have a dream, a goal. Since I tend to be a perfectionist, I will not stop training for this goal until it is obtained. I'm less than 8 weeks out from my next powerlifting meet; A meet that could potentially qualify me for NATIONALS. That is something that I won't be able to do if I revert backwards and listen to Ed. I've tried every style of workout, and nothing makes me feel as confident as powerlifting does. It's not about looks, it's about strength.
In times of self doubt, I focus my thoughts and energy on listing out the things that gaining weight will give me.
1.) STRENGTH. I feel so much stronger at a more solid weight.
2.) Less aches and pains. My injuries, tweaks, and aches hate me so much less when I'm heavier.
3.) MORE FOOD. Eating more than 2,400 calories everyday is amazebawls.
4.) MUSCLE. While I'm working my ass off in the gym, I'm actually working on putting my ass on. ;-)
I know I've said this over and over in the past before, but I'm serious this time. No more being the girl who cried wolf. I'm going to lift the shit out of these weights, feed my body what it deserves and needs, and work on accepting myself in ALL stages.
Less than 8 weeks to prove Ed wrong. Starting now.