NEDAW Thursday

I recently experienced a period of profound stress. To some extent the stress continues, but it has alleviated at least 60%. This wasn't "fun" stress, like the stress of planning my wedding or the stress of moving, or starting a new job. This was no-shit, adrenaline-driving, panic attack-inducing stress. This past two months has probably been, now that I think about it, the most stressful time in my adult life, and certainly the most stressful time since I recovered from anorexia or [mostly] bulimia.

We keep a scale under the bed because it keep me in touch with reality. At the height of this fraught few weeks I'd lost a little over five pounds. By now I've gained back about three, so we're at net minus two. (I should really know if that's an actual accounting term, since I do our books and all.) Hardly a big deal either way, two to five pounds, and no big or small deal at all, medically speaking.

But it was truly intoxicating. I felt all the textbook things that weight loss triggers in eating disorder patients (and even just in some dieters). I imagined that everyone could tell I'd lost weight, and I imagined I had more energy and was more productive. I felt as though I was accomplishing something and bringing the world back under my control, and I envisioned keeping on losing weight, and keeping on cutting out meals and food, and I imagined that I could "get it right" this time and find the perfect balance of weight loss and optimal mind-body aesthetic.

Then I snapped back to reality. I had a bagel with eggs and cheese and realized I couldn't go back to anorexia not because I didn't have the ersatz willpower, but because I didn't have the desire. I realized I couldn't get back into a restrict/purge cycle not because I couldn't do it to my esophagus, but because I couldn't do it to my common sense and my desire to experience a full life.

I think I'll stay away from the scale for a week or so. I usually weigh myself weekly, since the daily number can fluctuate in a healthy person anywhere from - guess what - two to five pounds. It's the more general numbers, like weekly, or at least every three days, that chart the real trend, if there is one. So I'll step back, I'll make sure my head is on straight, and, more importantly, I'll do stuff like eat three balanced meals a day, remembering that Odwalla bars do not count in that category, and we'll see how it goes from there.

Eating disorder recovery is a lifestyle choice. Need to learn how to make the choice? NEDA can help.


  1. I'm learning so much from these posts. I truly had no idea. I've only had one friend with anorexia issues and it was a man (in Grad School) and was difficult to talk about with him. Reading about this is educational, because it's so far removed from how my mind works (although I too do not have a healthy mind/body outlook).

    Thank you for opening up about this.

  2. I feel your pain. I still get crazy happy when the scale goes down two to five pounds. And then when it goes back up, I get discouraged. I get the urge to purge quite a bit. Especially when I go to a party and eat too much. I panic. As if that one evening is going to make me morbidly obese.


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