This week, I feel like a different person to the one who wrote this post.
I’ve had a mixed week, but overall it’s been very positive and I want to share the ups with you all as well as the downs.
Last week and over the weekend I really struggled. We get weighed on a Monday and a Thursday, and although I did gain on Monday I didn’t meet the minimum requirements. If this happens regularly I will be sent on ‘Reflective Leave’ for a week, and you only get one period of leave for the duration of the programme. So I picked myself up and tried really hard to make those gains. To my total dismay by Thursday weigh in not only had I not gained weight, I’d actually lost some. Now this is both good and bad. It’s bad because I need to gain quite a big chunk over the weekend now to meet the requirements by Monday. It’s good because my body is waking up. I’m coming out of starvation mode and my metabolism is kicking back in – I’m no longer clinging desperately into every calorie or drop of liquid entering my body. Psychologically, for me, this is huge.
I can guarantee you the majority of people with anorexia think they will keep gaining weight forever when in the restoration phase. Most of us will have worries that our metabolism’s are permanently defective after being starved for so long, and that we will never be able to eat as normal people do again. When I started refeeding, I lost weight in the first week then it skyrocketed which sent me into a tailspin. Our meal plans are increased every Monday and I begged them to let me stay on mine for a second week – I knew there was no way I’d be able to follow an increased plan when I was struggling to follow the one I was on. Luckily, my dietician agreed that for the sake of my mental wellbeing, it was worth stalling the increase by a week which I am so grateful for, because it has led me to this moment. This realisation that actually, metabolism is just science, and why do I think I’m so unique and special that I am the exception to this?
I feel like I can fully throw myself into this process now. I’m all in. We fill food diaries out every week and when my dietician ran through it with me we were able to identify areas where I’ve gone wrong, where cutting corners here and there all adds up over the day and where I’ve let anorexia sneak in. With that awareness comes the power to challenge it. I am starting to trust my body and my team, and I really hope they trust me that I am trying and challenging myself every day. I’ve been honest with them, I’ve recorded the times I’ve not buttered my bread or skipped the milk in my hot chocolate or missed out a sprinkle of cheese. Because the more honest I am about anorexia, the more it loses its power.
My dietician and keyworker have both tried to reassure me that I shouldn’t be too worried about my review on Monday because they knew that keeping me on the same meal plan for the sake of my mental health might sacrifice a weight gain. But I am still anxious – I desperately want to stay in this programme. I had the choice of waiting until Monday to go up to the next meal plan but I chose to do it immediately – I have a lot of catching up to do this weekend and I want to prove how committed I am.
This process is an absolute rollercoaster but I feel like I’ve really turned a corner this week. It’s been up and down for sure, but definitely the most ‘up’ it’s been since the day I started.
Two steps forward, one step back, is still one step forward.