The idea of body or weight changes may feel scary during recovery or in healing your relationship with food. If you are feeling this way, you are not alone and it is fully understandable. Sometimes weight gain may be necessary in recovery if you are underweight or are experiencing symptoms that you are below your setpoint weight. However, this can be really tough to deal with and accept.
To help you manage how you deal with the possibility of weight changes, here are a few tips:
It may be necessary for your treatment team to track your weight during your recovery. However, if you find that knowing the number on the scale is not serving you, consider asking your team about different options. One potential option may be blind weights. Or, if your team determines that you do not need to be weighed as frequently, consider throwing out the scale entirely! Depending on your health journey, frequent weigh-ins may not be necessary for healthy weight maintenance.
It is easy to feel out of control in your recovery when challenging your beliefs and potentially seeing your body change. Instead, try to focus on implementing healthy behaviours that can benefit your physical and mental health.
This could include nourishing your body with adequate meals and snacks and incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and fats in your diet. You can also focus on incorporating joyful movement if approved by your care team. Further trying to get adequate sleep and finding healthy ways to managing your stress levels are all beneficial behaviours to put your focus into.
We do not have to always love the way our body looks or the number on the scale. However, it is important to still treat our body with respect. Something that can be helpful is working towards body neutrality.
If you are having a bad body image day or struggling with weight changes, consider listing positive affirmations about yourself that have nothing to do with your weight. Are you a loyal friend? A great mom? An inspiring teacher? A creative artist? Remember that these things shine through more than your weight!
Recovery is not always going to be an easy road and can involve many emotions. If your emotions surrounding body image and fear of weight changes are affecting your outlook on life, your body, or your recovery, it is important to talk these through with a professional who can help.
Find a distraction. Preferably one that does not involve social media, especially if you find it negatively impacts your recovery or mental health.
Consider calling a friend or reading a book. Maybe try watching your favourite show on Netflix or pulling out your knitting needles. If that doesn’t work, try sending love & gratitude to your body. Make a list of all of the amazing things your body can and does do for you. Your therapist may also be able to give helpful grounding techniques/breathing exercises to help you through the moment.
Remember, the idea of weight gain can be scary and uncomfortable. These thoughts are normal and can coexist with working towards recovery. Take it day by day, one step at a time, and reach out for help when you need it.
If you are looking for support in your eating disorder or disordered eating recovery, we are here for you! See the services provided by our registered dietitians HERE.