Putting on Weight With an Eating Disorder (How I’m Staying Sane).

Recently, because of my hormone therapy and because I’ve been happier in myself, I’ve been putting on weight. And although I recognise that that’s a very positive thing, it can be hard to watch my body getting bigger when for so long, I felt like anything but a loss in weight was a failure.

The other day, I couldn’t zip up one of my dresses. I pulled and pulled at the zip until I actually had to sit down in order to stop myself from crying tears of frustration. It sort of shocked me to see how upset I was by something as meaningless as a dress that doesn’t fit, but it was clear that even though I feel as though I’m over my body dysmorphia, I still struggle with changes in my body.

As it turned out, I had just forgotten that there’s a knack to zipping up this particular dress, but I’d still had a very extreme reaction to something that I shouldn’t have, and that worried me. Because I thought that I was managing the fact that I was putting on weight, but it came as such a shock to me that my clothes weren’t fitting.

What I’m trying to say here is that I’m a work in progress, so although I’m about to share my method of staying sane while putting on weight, I don’t have all the answers and I’m currently going through a struggle that I’m still coming to terms with.

Nevertheless, I think that if I continue to do what I’m currently doing, then my image of my own body will continue to improve.

When I began my hormone replacement therapy, I was very conscious of the fact that my body would go through a lot of changes, and how that might affect my mental wellbeing. I came up with a strategy that you could call exposure therapy.

Instead of trying to pretend that these changes weren’t occurring, or that they didn’t bother me, I decided to embrace them.

Every day, I get up in the morning and I go into the bathroom to brush my teeth. I then take off my clothes and force myself to look at my body. I pinch my flab and I make it jiggle a bit. I let myself think any dark thoughts about any changes that have occurred, but ultimately I make myself recognise all of the beautiful parts.  

I take it all in, I take a deep breath and I tell myself that I’m beautiful, even with some extra weight on my body. Then I get dressed and I continue to prepare for the day ahead.

I wear a lot of tight dresses and skirts these days, meaning that I’m very aware of the shape of my stomach or my legs, making it even more important for me to, I suppose, prepare my self-confidence for the day.

I love my body and I starved it for a long time, so I’m definitely aware that if I put on weight, that’s progress. But I’ll probably always suffer from my body image issues in some form or another.

I never want to be intentionally naïve about my state of mind and how certain things are going to affect it, so I’m really happy that I adapted this strategy early on. Now, it’s a habit to assure myself that I’m beautiful and I find it simple to ease any fears I have of being fat or being ugly.

Because I don’t believe that it’s a bad thing to be fat and even though I’m currently quite thin, if I were ever to become fat, I hope that I’d be able to continue to love myself and my body.

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