Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Why your lowest healthy weight might not be your actual healthy weight

Many people in recovery seem to think that if they just reach their lowest healthy weight, often BMI 18 or 18,5 , then thats enough. Then they are recovered and they will maintain their weight and they wont need to gain anymore weight... a type of compromise. Ill reach the absaloute lowest "ok" weight (which at times is even 16,5 or 17 when some doctors or dieticians get lazy and say "thats good enough") and then wont have to gain anymore weight.

But that is not how it works. You can not decide which weight your body will settle at. BMI 18,5 has just been set as an "Ok marker" based on different factors but it is also very individual. Just because one person maintains and is healthy at bmi 18,5 doesnt mean that everyone else does as well. Some people - infact most people - gain more weight and settle at a higher bmi often BMI 21,22,23 and there is nothing wrong with that, you are not doing recovery wrong. Instead that is rather healthy... it means that you are letting your body find its own healthy set point. It might feel scary thinking, will the weight gain never stop. But it does eventually... you just have to remember that most people wont maintain a very low BMI after an eating disorder if they arent naturally very skinny or unless they still use controlling methods to maintain their weight. But most people after an eating disorder gain more than the absaloute minimum and there are plenty of positive reasons why.

The body is under a lot of stress when you have an eating disorder. Organs and bones and muscles are all affected and often for the body to feel safe again and for hormonal balance it means that your body is at a safe weight, and not just balancing between healthy weight and underweight. Also it takes time for your intestines to start working properly and for all other organs in your body to get the right energy and nutrition and balance in the body to function as they should. Not to mention that having a higher weight (i.e a completly normal healthy weight that isnt just on the edge of underweight) is recommended because if you get a cold, stomach bug, life happens and you lose your appetite or dont have alot of food or need to fight a bad infection, then you wont automatically end up underweight just because you lose some weight. But also not being underweight HELPS your body to recover better from most things, as well as generally having more energy.

You can not choose your healthy set point, it varies. But also it varies over life and how your lifestyle is. Trying to manically maintain a certain weight just because you dont want to be higher than X kg isnt healthy. Controlling your weight isnt healthy, instead trying to let it settle and maintain itself. You should not need to calorie count or track obsessively to maintain your weight, instead your body should find its balance so that it keeps you there. And whether your healthy weight settles at BMI 19 or 24 shouldnt matter... where your body settles is where it is healthiest.

Dont try to compromise with your eating disorder because it will always try to keep you at a low weight and eating little. Your eating disorder will never be happy and compromising by saying "ill reach the lowest healthy BMI and then stop there" isnt always how it works in reality, your body will more than likely settle at a higher weight if you just try to find balance and not control.

Of course my recommendations are often to not weigh yourself or calorie count but often that has to be done in recovery to make sure that you are eating enough as well as gaining weight. But the goal should be to move away from those things so that you can live a life where your body works as it should and maintains your weight - with the normal fluctuations of up and down - and you dont need to track or calorie count for that to happen.

Gve your body time to recover and heal. You might even notice that you at first gain up to BMI 22 or 23 and then just naturally lose weight as your body settles at a lower weight or MAYBE IT DOESNT. Everyone is different and everyone has different healthy set points, so never compare your weight or body to someone else, it wont help you!

I hope this comes as a reminder to you all. Less focus on weight, more focus on happy and healthy and let your weight take care of itself. The important thing is to be a healthy weight and whether that is X or Ykg doesnt matter.
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8 comments:

  1. It's a very complicated thing and hard to kind of talk about without saying the wrong thing! I'm an out patient but having treatment so it means that specific goal weights are set, and I'm now at the goal weight recommended by the doctors -after a pause where I insisted on being a slightly lower weight like you're saying about but my periods didn't start.... and now I'm just hoping they do now. I don't see why it would be necessary for anyone to go to a really high bmi like 23, I hope I don't need to, because I never was that high a bmi before I lost weight anyway...

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    1. BMI 23 is perfectly healthy though. And if you don't get your period back then your body isn't at a healthy weight. And like mentioned above it is necessary to gain weight and not just be at the minimum as that often isn't where the body will settle or maintain, not right after an eating disorder anyway. These thoughts you have about 23 being too high or unnecessary aren't so healthy thoughts... instead letting your body settle at it's healthy weight is the most important,not just a decided number. I was given BMI 18,5 as my goal weight and I stayed at that weight for a while but then with strength training my body settled at a BMI 0f 20/21 and that's my healthy weight even if my weight fluctuates up and down. So even if you want to be the lowest weight that might not be the healthiest for you

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    2. Yeah I know I still struggle with thoughts about weight and stuff. Like I said I'm not at the very lowest 'healthy' BMI anymore and I'm starting to feel ok with that, because it's only a small amount of difference and I still look fine, though I've only been this weight for a month so it's not long enough to really tell if I'm healthy physically and how I properly feel mentally. But yeah these negative thoughts are so hard to eradicate :(

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  2. I don't understand the 'weight will magically settle at the right weight' because if that's true then how are there obese people?

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    1. If you eat balanced and find healthy eating it will settle. Obesity is due to an unhealthy eating behaviour over a longer period of time. Obesity doesn't happen over night. So if it were that your weight keeps going higher and higher and shows no sign of stopping then lowering calories a bit would help to slow that down unless there is a medical reason for the weight gain. But with balanced eating listening to your bodies signals you should maintain unless there is hormonal imbalance or medical reasoning for the weight gain.

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  3. It took me ages to accept this, and in the end I think that giving up weighing myself (or owning scales) was really helpful. I always knew in my head about healthy set points, but it was harder to accept when it was measured and numbered all the time. It is much easier to accept when one just lives life and learns to value different things in different ways.
    Thank you for teaching by word and example, Izzy.
    X

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  4. Before my ED my weight was always stable - give or take a few pounds either way. I never had to struggle to keep that weight (didn't even think about it) it just stayed that way. It would be really nice if one day I was to back in this position. I guess I need to trust my body to find that set point again.

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  5. when I saw the dietician she gave me a really low goal weight too - when I was healthy I was never this low! I find it hard to believe that I am expected to be healthy at this weight so won`t be at all surprised if, when the time comes I overshoot it.

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