This is my body.
Last night, I received a message from someone early in eating disorder recovery saying that my larger body is triggering for them, makes them scared to fully recover, and that I shouldn’t post pictures of it.
I instantly felt like I was punched in the gut. However, I also felt empathy because I once felt the same way. Early in my recovery, I was terrified of weight gain and told myself, “I can recover but only if I stay x size or x weight.” The truth is that we don’t get to decide what our bodies will look like after eating disorder recovery. Finding full recovery means completely letting go of control and radically accepting the fact that your body will settle where it needs to be for your unique needs, whether that means gaining weight, losing weight, or staying the same.
Another major part of full recovery from an eating disorder is unlearning the fatphobia that is enmeshed in our society. Thinness is not an indicator of health or worth, and we all naturally come in different shapes and sizes. In my recovery, I had to gain a significant amount of weight to regain my health, even though I was never clinically underweight. Through a huge amount of work in therapy, I’ve come to accept (and even sometimes love) my body as it is.
This body has taken me through my best days and my hardest days. This body has survived anorexia, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. This body has experienced trauma and pain. This body dances, hikes, and does yoga. This body graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology and will be pursuing a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This body published a book at 22 years old. This body loves, lives, and thrives.
If you’re in recovery and seeing bodies like mine scares you, I’m sending you lots of love. I know how painful and difficult eating disorder recovery can be. However, I refuse to hide my body and reinforce your eating disorder. If you’re feeling this way, you still have a lot of work to do in your recovery journey. But full recovery is possible, and you can truly find peace in your body, regardless of your size.
This is my body, and I am proud.