Option A: Fully let go of all control, restrictions, and forbidden foods. Allow your body to rest as long as it needs.
Option B: Baby steps. Long, constant, grueling baby steps. Instead of skipping dinner you eat a bowl of broccoli. A few months later, instead of eating egg whites you eat the egg with the egg yolk.
Which is easier? Which one works?
Both work. As far as which one is easier, I’m not quite sure yet.
Option A) Two summers ago, I was visiting my family after 6 months in Africa. (During that trip, I totally malnourished & dehydrated my body, I knew it too, but back then I was in so much denial- I didn’t see I had an eating disorder.) During my time with the fam- because I was in a comfortable and familiar atmosphere- I just started to eat. I ate what I wanted and how much I wanted. (Not daily fast food, but 2 or 3 bowls of cereal at 8 or 9pm if I was hungry!) I remember the hunger being so ravishing. I started retaining water right away. Within a month I gained 15 lbs. Mentally, I wasn’t ready to deal with the rapid weight gain. I got terrified. I researched how it was possible to gain weight so fast, but somewhere inside I was starting to know the answer: Rapid weight gain is totally expected in ED recovery. I left back to Africa knowing I hadn’t finished the process I started & soon I relapsed.
Option B) Last summer, I finally admitted to having a problem and committed myself to recovery. I upped my caloric intake maybe 200 calories a month. I steadily gained 5lbs per month for 7 months. (Idk if I am still gaining, I think I might be actually.) I took the slowest baby steps. I stopped all exercise. I got my period back within 4 months. Yet rarely in the first 5 or 6 months did I eat what you would typically call a “meal.” Mentally I’ve had more time to catch on, I think. I steadily have been seeing a therapist. Yet, majority of days I still catch myself restricting. It’s hard to keep pushing, it’s hard to eat more when I see my body so changed already.
(These pics are off my Instagram feed. Since I’m posting them here and have moved well beyond them, I’ll finally erase them from there.)
I’m free-er & free-er each day. I will never go back. I value relationships more than Ana & want to use my time on other things like college. I want to spend time with people, not only with myself. An ED requires a lot of work. Or, more like demands. So, mentally- option B has been more successful for me. Physically? Perhaps allowing my body to gain it all at once would have been easier? Anyway, either choice is good. One day I’ll look back & see if A or B was the easier choice.
On my better days: (these have been dinners in the past 2 months)
Going the right direction is what matters in the end.
Has A or B worked for you? Or, perhaps you have plan C. Now that’s one I’ve not heard of.