This process – of feeding myself more – has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

It took me months to realize the extent of my restrictions and to fully go All In. That only really happened in June.

Some days I feel miserable. Where I’ve only slept 3 hours because I didn’t eat enough before bed because I was tired and just wanted to get to sleep so I’ve woken up starving and had to eat an unbelievable amount of food at 3 am to even begin to feel satisfied.

My body is swollen and it’s worse in the heat. A lot of my skin hurts to even lightly touch. Some days I feel like a giant water balloon. It’s called edema and it’s a normal part of this process.

My feet have hurt all the time for the past two months. You see me sharing in my stories images of me laying with my feet up the wall and this is literally all I do a lot of the day.

My feet hurting is probably a combination of weighing so much more so quickly and the swelling. Oh, the swelling.

My digestion was so bad for the first two weeks when I fully added everything back in that I spent so many hours per day on the toilet. I could not sleep because I suddenly had acid reflux, which I’ve never had before in my life. I’ve had gallbladder pain, too. Just weird pains everywhere.

Before you go all up in arms about ItS BeCAuSe yOu aDdED iN pRoCeSsEd FoOdS!!!!! Let me tell you some things.

The digestive stuff is much worse when I feel stressed. I feel stressed when I do not sleep well. I do not frequently sleep well bc my body hurts and/or I am hungry.

On nights where I have an unbroken 8 hours of sleep – which occasionally happens, and which hadn’t happened for two years before I started eating more – it feels like magic. I feel incredible. I have so much energy and I want to get so much done and it makes every little bit of this worth it.

My digestion is fine then, no matter what I eat.

The other thing that makes every little bit of this worth it is how HAPPY and balanced I feel. It’s hard to explain but it feels like these parts of my personality are coming back that I haven’t had since I was a child.

Jordan is like, you make a lot more jokes now. I dance publicly on the street. I have so much fucking gas and I “toot” as Jordan would say and I LAUGH at it even though the entire time we’ve been dating I’ve rolled my eyes at Jordan doing the same thing.

I’m just… looser. I’m more fun.

I posted this in my stories the other day – what have you noticed about me since I’ve gained weight?

And so many people said the exact same things – you are more relaxed, peaceful, calm, you giggle more, you feel more present, you are sillier, you seem happier.

It feels like I have woken up from a fucked up dream where we are all trying to shrink ourselves smaller and I just feel more ME.

I didn’t know it at the beginning. I honestly can’t tell you if I would have started this at the beginning if I knew this. But this process that I kind of fell into on my own has a name.

It is called eating disorder recovery.

And all of these physical symptoms are an extremely normal bodily response to finally having the calories to heal itself when someone has been malnourished for years and years and years.

Let’s talk about the word malnourished. I wouldn’t have believed I was malnourished.

I ate the “healthiest” diet full of vegetables and grass fed meat and barely any sugar. I’ve done pretty much every “healthy” diet you can imagine.

But guess what – actually I was just always cutting out different foods AND even when I wasn’t doing that I was never eating enough!!!

I didn’t KNOW I wasn’t eating enough. I knew “oh I have a hard time feeding myself.” But I never thought it was about weight gain. I just felt like I did this weird pattern where I was always too busy to eat or didn’t feel like eating or didn’t have the “right” foods around me to eat.

Oh or I got full “so quickly.” Know why? Because my stomach was shrinking. Which is what happens when you don’t eat enough.

It’ll stretch back out but it’s not fun while you teach it to do so.

I have eaten at least 1000 calories less per day than I have needed for my body to function optimally for AT LEAST the past ten years. Probably the last eighteen.

That’s a big deficit to pay back to my body now.

The most frustrating part for me about this whole entire process has been when people try to tell me their disordered eating thoughts.

When they are like, but don’t eat carbs. Or don’t eat sugar. Or don’t eat the processed food. Or you should do this diet. Or this thing is in this food and you shouldn’t eat it. Or why are you promoting “unhealthy” foods?!!

When I hear that I want to laugh and cry at the same time because something you might not know about me is that since I was TWELVE YEARS OLD I have been learning “facts” about food.

Endless hours per day during my teenage years were spent researching what to eat and what to cut out.

It got really bad after my brother’s accident especially when I started teaching yoga because that world was FULL of it. Vegan. Macrobiotics. Food combining. Paleo. Keto. Candida diets.

I had a couple years reprieve where I actually think I healed it but then it got activated again and came back.

I know so many things about food that I could fill a thousand page book with what is wrong with each type of food and every single food in each food group and how scary additives are and why it’s so important that we eat the purest most perfect diet.

It’s called orthorexia and it is rampant in American society.

I know it can feel healthy but it’s actually a belief system and it runs so so deep.

So listen I can’t do much about people that write things to me because I’m choosing to be public about this and no matter how many times I set boundaries people will still say what they want.

But I’ll tell you from this side of it. From the other side of “the perfect healthy food” world that it is Fucked.

My body is in so much pain right now because I am getting to feel how much damage I did to my body by trying to make it be healthy.

I didn’t feel it when I was doing it. Not really. I had gotten really really good at shoving down how my body actually felt.

Now everything is awake.

It is a slippery slope into learning more about food. Eating disorders are genetically activated so you might not develop one. But you’ll almost certainly develop disordered eating and will not eat enough. Like most of our current society.

There are so many people who have gone through this process I am doing and when I read their stuff I just want to cry. Because I can feel the freedom that comes from the normalcy of eating.

Even with all of the difficulty it has been a million times worth it. These little glimpses of food freedom are everything. I feel it sometimes. Eating something because I’m hungry and that’s the option that is nearby.

Going to a restaurant and choosing what actually sounds good to me instead of mentally processing through the dozens of bad things in each different menu item and trying to determine which is the least dangerous.

Popsicles. Cheese sauce. Donuts. Chips. Lemonade. Worth it.

Know what doesn’t sound good? All the fucking nuts I tried to make myself eat. 93% dark chocolate which is actually disgusting. All vegetables. (I’m sure my love for them will return but right now I am like did I ever enjoy eating broccoli??? Or did I just convince myself that I did???)

What keeps me going is that it just feels True.

Even at 3 am when I feel nauseous from eating so much but still starving and I can’t sit in a normal way because my feet are aching and I just want to cry because I just want to finally sleep.

It just is true.

And I don’t ever get angry at my body.

I just don’t.

It’s not my body’s fault.

It’s not my fault really either.

It’s just our world.

Recovery always feels worse than restriction because you have to feel it all.

For some people this process takes a year and for some it takes four years. Some people only gain 10 lbs and some people gain over 100.

But it always works. Your body always heals again.

As I watch the scale creep up closer to 200 lbs I am finding this interesting place of just a deep love for my body.

It feels like the deepest trust in it I have ever had.

Yes I trust you to bring us back to health.

I surrender.

I am sorry for trying to mentally figure out what was the right way to eat and for forcing that on you.

And I love you.

I imagine a reality where all food is welcome in my diet.

Where I don’t spend any more of my precious life force trying to learn more about why things are bad.

Where my hunger signals are so clear and trustable again that I eat when I am hungry and it feels easy.

Where my body comes back into a place of balance and it leads me to eat the foods that make me feel good and make me happy.

Where my body brings itself to the weight that is healthiest for it by communicating its hunger to me and it feels easy to move around. (And I hope I get to keep all my new curves to be honest but I also trust it if I don’t).

Where I find joy in movement for no other reason than it is fun and feels good.

I imagine a reality where food does not feel stressful at all.

And where my health is so good because I am so fulfilled and happy that my body can filter out whatever it doesn’t want with ease.

I already know this is happening. It’s just a long intense trip to get there.

See no one ever felt the need to comment on my diet when I was skinny.

When I was underweight and my menstrual cycle was slowly getting worse and worse to the point where it could ruin my fertility.

When I was waking up in the middle of the night every night for years.

When my metabolism slowed down and my body temperature and pulse rate slowly dropped.

When I didn’t eat for hours and hours even though I was starving.

When I cut out so many groups of food that eating out anywhere required constant modifications.

All those things are socially acceptable.

And they are all now either gone or are in the process of reversing.

I wish I was at the end so I could tell you –

This worked. This is what happened.

But I am not. I am squarely in the middle or if we’re honest I’m probably still quite toward the beginning.

And so I will just keep sharing with you where I am at.

You don’t have to agree with it.

But I hope you can feel the truth of it.

Because I do.

 

If you liked this piece, you might also enjoy:

Everything to do with my food journey & weight gain in chronological order

The fitness world is built to disconnect you from your body

Feeling like I “ruined” my body & having more than enough

Going through death & rebirth, together

Healing my inner teenager & being hungry before bed