Losing Weight After an Eating Disorder
Updated: Oct 4, 2020
I will write a few of these, just because there are so many ups and downs to losing weight. Period. There are more when you are an eating disorder survivor. I started my journey last year, and I have had my fair share of setbacks. Here is what I have learned so far.
WITH HELP - My Weight Loss Method
They say behind every great man; there is a great woman or vice-versa. Well, behind every weight loss journey is an excellent mentor/program/coach/teacher. I am going to tell you this right now - you need HELP. You cannot do this alone. Making significant life changes is a complicated and lengthy process. You will get better results, heal faster, and stick to it if one) you are paying for it and two) if an expert is there to coach you.
I am using Noom. It is a weight loss app with a calorie counter and daily articles about the psychology of losing weight and eating in general. Noom compiled a list of mental tools to help you overcome bad habits. I enjoy the articles the most; they help me get in the right mindset. If you want to see my review, I will link it here.
Yes, I am counting my calories. It is the simplest way to lose weight. The significant change this time is I know all of the ways I can spiral out of control. I have taken steps to avoid specific triggers. I don't obsess over every calorie.
- I don't count condiments. I don't pile on the barbeque sauce, but I don't count items less than 50 calories.
- I don't stress about getting the exact recommended amount. If the serving size is 12 crackers, sometimes I grab 11, 14, or a handful.
- I always try to be honest with what I eat. I don't look at the overall count when putting in my calories - I don't cut a few here or there to get the right calories I needed for the day.
- I don't stress if I go over my calorie count. That is the most significant part! Just because I overate food today, doesn't mean it is going to wreck the rest of my day.
Some methods don't require calorie count. Trim Healthy Mama is a great program that I would recommend. The gist is: You can eat as much as you want as long as the meal consists of only carbs or fats. I couldn't do it because it is a lot of cooking your food from scratch and I'm very much a microwave girl. I never have and will never make my pasta, but you can if you want to!
SLOWLY - taking it 10 to 15 lbs at a time and pause when you need to.
The pace is the key to weight loss, eating disorder survivor, or not. What people don't understand about weight loss is that it is not a straight line. Most journey's consist of losing ten pounds here, plateauing, losing fifteen pounds there, gaining five pounds, plateauing, etc. The purpose is to go in a downward direction and change habits, not necessarily the change in weight.
I lost ten pounds in the winter of 2019, then took a break for the wedding. I started again in about August/September and lost fifteen more pounds. Then I took a break during the holidays - from about November 20 to January 10. I am about to start losing weight again, with a goal of losing ten to fifteen pounds, then taking another break. My overall goal is to lose fifty pounds.
I paused my weight loss journey during the holidays, so I could focus on maintaining my weight, checking myself, and loving my body. I did a lot of internal reflection to see where my brain was in terms of mental health. It's like checking to see if the stove is on when you are cooking. I reminded myself my worth is not rooted in my weight; I am loved and cherished despite my appearances.
There are times where I had to pause involuntarily because I get burnt out, or I start obsessing. If that happens, I don't step on the scale or count my calories that day. And I won't until I feel ready to do so.
I don't have an end date. I don't set any goals like losing ten pounds before January 1, because this is not a sprint, it's a marathon. My goal is to lose ten pounds. If it takes me six months to do that, it takes six months. It's more important that I am mentally healthy than lose a few unwanted pounds. Losing fifty pounds is HUGE, but losing ten pounds is manageable. Breaking down my goal into smaller goals enables me to take it a chunk at a time.
I would recommend this method, mainly because your end goal is to be "back to normal." The purpose of losing weight is to keep it off, so taking breaks here and there to practice maintaining is excellent. It also benefits your body. Have you ever known someone who lost a bunch of weight really quickly and kept it off? Precisely the opposite, they gained it all back and sometimes more. Your body doesn't work like that. It's not an overnight sensation. Losing weight is hard on your body, so taking breaks can reassure success.
One big problem those with an eating disorder have is their motivation for doing what they are doing (binging/starving/etc.) is wrong. For me, A big part of losing weight this time is remembering WHY I'm doing it. If I start to fall back into the eating disorder mindset, then I have lost. I can't be motivated by being pretty or having friends as a reason to lose weight. That type of mentality will get me back to square one.
I am never going to stop talking about the motivating factor behind my life change - future kids. Just the thought of my children going through the same things I did devastate me. I can't let that happen, so I am changing. It is a better motivator than anything else. If I ever have thoughts of losing weight to please others or be famous, I replace them with my future children. It works every time.
What is your motivation for kicking your eating disorder? Kids? Wedding? Death of a loved one? Write it down and leave it somewhere; you will see it every day. Make it fancy. Leave it where others can see it. Light is the best disinfectant.
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