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Yesterday was my bi-monthly meeting with my nutritionist. I am recovering from a lengthy history with disordered eating, and while I have made huge progress the last 20 months or so, I still have a long way to go. I am also in the middle of prepping for a major certification exam for my career. Since my ED has stress management implications, this leads to a rough balancing act.

But, this week I had a kind of ridiculous epiphany. I've been maintaining with 5 pounds or so the same weight since I started prepping for this test 10 months ago. I've exercised steadily and my eating has fluctuated in and out of healthy choices. (Don't get confused here, "healthy choices" is not some fucked up code for dieting. I mean eating in a way that makes my body feel good and allows me to experience my emotions rather than stuff them down with food.) I have none-the-less stressed that I should be doing more "work" in this area.

I'm not sure what brought it on, but this week, I got some perspective. I imagined what emotions I would feel if one of my "normal" sized friends told me that she was prepping for a major life change, doing extensive planning, juggling a whole host of new responsibilities, but she felt like she needed to be focusing on weight loss at the same time. I'd be angry at her and for her. I'd be mad that she considers "weight" as important as these other things. I'd be annoyed that she is spinning her wheels with this issue when there is all this other stuff going on. And I'd be angry for her that she feels like she needs to take on this task RIGHT NOW on top of everything else.

This revealed a part of my psyche that I am still struggling with- because I am not "normal" sized, I feel like I don't get that pass to ignore my weight when I am already dealing with so many other things. I don't have a right to just be myself - healthy, active, comfortable- because I wear a size 20. That isn't right. I am active and healthy. I manage stress through exercising and other productive means. I practice self-care. The fact that I am not losing weight is pretty inconsequential in the scheme of things. My nutritionist took it one step farther and pointed out that stress causes your body to slow weight loss because it is holding on to those reserves for your "fight or flight" moment.

The other part of me it reveals is just how deeply seeded the "diet mentality" is. At the beginning of the summer, I would have told you that I am not a dieter. I don't diet. I try to eat intuitively- food that satisfies me and makes me feel good. But this focus on why I am not losing weight amid everything else tells me that there is still some diet mentality going on in my noggin. More work to do there...

In the past, under this kind of stress, I probably would have quickly lost a lot of weight. Dieting was my tool to "control" what I could control- calories going into my body. Some part of brain kind of expected me to lose weight and is disappointed, even though my even keel is one of the best signs of my new, healthy lifestyle.

I have to make peace with the fact that this is the right way to live, working with my body to treat it right rather than trying to force it down the path my brain thinks it should take or hiding from it. Some days, this is tough road.


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October 2011

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