A New Name

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  1. Kondwani
    May 10 - 9:53 pm

    Yes, I still struggle. The thing that has probably helped most is just being incredibly busy; I barely have time to think about what I look like these days, and my body needs to be strong enough to run around after some young children, to work part time, and to do all the things I need to do. I don’t often get time to think about what I look like, and I don’t wear many of the nice clothes I have as I make choices based on what is warm enough and practical for many hours running around outside!

    But I still struggle. I can relate to your cartoon. Sometimes I feel aware I am too thin. Later on (perhaps not a single minute later, but maybe an hour or two), I can feel quite enormous and want to hide away. I get triggered by small, ‘silly’ things – like you, it is often more to do with feeling self conscious or inadequate, sometimes it is seeing somebody very slim and self-confident and envying their freedom, sometimes I can’t even say what it is.

    I HATE people commenting on my size or shape in any way. I hate it because I hate the fact it still triggers me after all these years. I hate it because there is so much more to my life than a body. It frustrates me because it is superficial, and I get frustrated at myself for caring. And then I can go on a bit of a spiral and get self-conscious.

    What helps? Just forgetting size/ weight/ shape and tearing around in the fresh air with three year old boys who think I am beautiful. One of them said to me today, ‘Mummy, can I ask you a question?’ (it was going to be the 214th question of the morning). ‘Why are you always so lovely?’ was the question. That kind of thing changes your perspective.

    What helps you Emma? What triggers you? What do you do when triggered?

  2. PWP
    May 11 - 12:31 am

    In the past I was forced to gain a lot of weight veryrapidly in hospital. My head never really caught up with my body and I lost most of it again a year or two later. The next time I decided to gain the weight back slowly by intuitive eating and not to weigh myself at all – just to know that if I was wearing reasonable size clothes I was probably “ok”. This was a lot easier on my head and I managed to keep the weight on for about 8 years (though sometimes in spite of efforts to lose some rather than because I actually wanted to).

    About 2 years ago the weight started to fall off me again. Combination of physical illnesses, complete lifestyle change in moving to East Asia and… the return of Ed (maybe he never really left). I’m not very underweight now, but sometimes I look at my body and it scares me. Then a minute later I wonder how I could have let myself get so fat. I know these feelings can’t both be true so I don’t really trust either of them. I experience the same chasm between feelings of hunger and satiety, love and abandonment, hope and disappointment, depression and joy. I’ve no idea how to deal with this so I tend to push myself towards living one side or other of the chasm. But it feels artificial – I am acting a role not being myself.

    I guess a therapist would say the answer is to recognise both sides and accept the gal in between. Which sounds nice and reasonable in theory but I’ve no idea what that means in practice.

    All this to say, my feelings of “fat” are part of a broader struggle with defining reality, attempting to live with integrity in the midst of massive swings of perceived reality. I don’t have any answers – but if I hear of any I’ll be sure to let you know!

  3. E
    May 11 - 10:30 am

    When you find out the answer please let me know. Currently really struggling to cope with weight gain as part of this hospital admission.
    Something that was suggested to me is to focus on my goals; looking at why I’m doing this, how much more fulfilled my life will be once I’m better, and how that is so much more important than a number or size. But easier said than done.

  4. Karen
    May 12 - 8:18 am

    I think it has helped to remember getting thinner and thinner just led to more and more misery, and what I really needed was to get to what was at the roots of my fears of fat. For me being thin meant being in control and getting something right to make up for all the things I’d got wrong and felt guilty for. It was a way of trying to deal with my shame. I needed to encounter God’s grace.

  5. emma
    May 13 - 7:14 pm

    Thanks Kondwani: I love that picture of your children’s love drawing you out of your self – and of a strong and beautiful body. What helps me are friendships and expressing how I feel to God and others with words, instead of with food.Also remembering how awful it was to be in that place: what it did to me and my family and my marriage. And knowing Jesus can be trusted – even though I don’t always know the way.

    PWP: Experts reckon that coming back from anorexia, your BMI should be a minimum of 20: any lower and you are much more likely to relapse. I guess if you’re a low weight and then get sick, it’s so easy to stumble back.
    ‘My feelings of “fat” are part of a broader struggle with defining reality, attempting to live with integrity in the midst of massive swings of perceived reality’ – such a good way of putting it.

    E – I’m sorry you’re in the middle of this right now: it’s a really tough place to be. I found that my brain only started thinking straight once I’d regained weight, so give yourself time. This is the work of your life: and dealing with it now is so much better than living a tiny, isolated life that you just manage. Praying for you. xxx

    Hi Karen – I completely agree: thin is never thin enough and when we try to deal with shame ourselves we fall deeper into it.But Christ’s grace breaks right across our systems: and offers us rest.

  6. AnOrmous
    May 13 - 8:55 pm

    Struggling. “Voice in my head”: Disgusting, greedy failure. Vile.

  7. emma
    May 14 - 6:59 pm

    An – don’t listen to that voice. It lies – and no matter what you do, you will never be enough for it. But the truth is:
    you are loved.
    you have needs – for food and relationship and love. These needs are good and they can be met.
    you are not alone.


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