I’ve gained 30 lbs: feeding myself fully & trusting my hunger

133. 147. 162.

I think some people think I am trying to gain weight.

But that’s not true.

The weight gain has been a byproduct of fully listening to my actual hunger.

Letting my body tell me what it wants instead of judging it, controlling it, trying to fix it, or make it be the way I think it should be.

So when I look at this first photo. The woman on the left.

I see a girl who is starving.

She didn’t know she was starving. She would have told you that she eats however much she wants and she doesn’t have to worry about her weight.

But she is constantly controlled.

Constantly thinking, is this healthy? What are the ingredients? Does this have gluten or dairy? I shouldn’t eat sugar. I shouldn’t eat this much of this. I can have one bite but that’s all a good healthy person would have.

She struggled to hit 1800 calories a day and she was secretly proud of that fact.

Look at how little I need.
Look at how little room I take up.
Look at how tiny I am.
Look at how you can feel my hip bones, they feel sharp.
Look at how I only need half a meal to feel full.
It’s just so hard to have more.
I eat as much as I want.
What I want is just dictated by all the rules in my brain.

It’s currently hard for me to look at her.

I did not know that human bodies run on sugar or else they are eating themselves.

I did not know that 2000 calories is barely enough to sustain a child – let alone a full grown adult.

I did not know I had been lied to my entire life by a culture that was intent on keeping me small.

Eating disorders masquerade as “eating healthy” and we have become so far removed from what “healthy” actually is.

I have been astonished at how difficult it has been to fully feed myself to my actual levels of hunger, now that that hunger has awakened. I constantly want to sabotage it in one way or another.

Every single time I realize I am hungry I have to make a choice whether I will eat. Choosing it over and over again. It is not yet a habit.

Hunger is a very basic biological signal.

The photo of me at 133 is actually from the summer of 2019 because that’s the most recent photo I had of me in a bikini before I started to gain weight.

When I decided to start fully nourishing myself I did not really think I would gain weight. I did not take a “before” photo because I didn’t think there would be a before to see. I didn’t think it would be this big of a process.

I did not think I was underweight. I did not think I had any issues with weight. I did not really think my body was capable of gaining weight.

When I hit 147 (the middle image) I realized that I should probably start documenting it because my body was very different.

In the third photo (which was taken last week) I was 162. Currently I am at 164 – and that’s when I wake up in the morning. It is still rising.

I think the place I felt the best in my body was around 155 (as in – physically living inside of my body, not how I felt to look at it). I’d happily stay there forever. And I feel that it is likely that that’s the place my body chooses to settle back into, eventually.

The process I am going through is actually really well-documented. There was a human starvation experiment in the 1940s which is fucking wild to read about (a hint: starving people at that time meant feeding them 1500 calories/day and they became anxious and depressed and obsessed with food and had psychological breakdowns. and other things – I highly recommend you click through to read about it).

Many other people have done this process. Of going “all in” and fully eating. 

What seems to happen is that as long as you keep eating to satiety and don’t panic and restrict when you hit a higher weight, then eventually your body will feel safe and fed and will drop whatever weight it needs to drop in order to feel comfortable.

I deeply trust this and believe that this will happen.

And also the more weight I gain the more I am like… what if I am the only special exception to this rule?

Weighing 150 lbs felt curvy and cute.

As I get closer to 170 I can feel my mind start to panic.

Like where is the top of my set range? What if I have to cross 200 lbs before my body feels safe? Do I have an emotional limit – where I just won’t be able to hold this anymore?

It also feels like it will soon cross the point where it is no longer attractive and everybody decides they don’t like me anymore and I end up all alone.

It is all ego. And I know it is not the truth because when I weighed 140 I was convinced that 150 or 160 would be the point where I suddenly was fat and diseased and no one loved me anymore. The number just keeps shifting.

It’s really deeply terrifying.

And it also feels like the only thing that matters. To trust my body completely.

This last period I had was the healthiest period I have had since I can remember. Definitely in at least 5 years, maybe in 10 or more.

It started and ended with bright red blood. No brown, no dark clotty red, no being slow to start or end, no lasting for more than a week, no intensely heavy days that didn’t end.

I actually did not believe it when it ended. I was still waiting for the brown to come back. I was like ok, it has been bright red for this long, but now my normal period is going to start.

It did not. Today is day 13 of my cycle and the bright red blood stopped on day 7 and has not returned.

I can’t even explain to you how unbelievable this feels to me. I am still checking my underwear like – this must be a fluke.

And that (on top of my generally happier moods, more energy, etc) gives me so much faith in this process.

After I crossed 160 I started to reach the point where my body felt a bit more uncomfortable.

Thigh chafing in the heat is a thing I have never experienced. And it was PAINFUL.

Some days my body feels super bloated and like a giant puff ball. I don’t really know if it’s the weight or the heat or the combination of those things but some days in the past week my legs and feet have just felt so full of water. My hands are so swollen feeling. My arms felt puffy to move around.

I can tell from these things that this is probably above the weight that my body would be the healthiest at.

And I also know we are still on the journey of swinging the pendulum to the other side so that we can settle back in the center.

I feel a sense of freedom with food that I don’t know that I have ever felt.

Jordan and I went out to eat the other day and it was the first time in at least 10 years that I have sat down, looked at a menu, and not filtered all the options through the rules in my mind about what would be best for me to get.

I just looked at the menu and was like: what do I WANT?

What sounds good to my body?

All these options are available to me.

I got two frozen lemonades and steak and lobster ravioli and donuts with cream for dessert. And it was amazing.

When my thighs were chafing so badly that I could not walk, Jordan and I stopped at the drugstore. I desperately needed a quick fix. Baby powder was the only thing I saw that I knew for sure would help.

Old me would have said “baby powder has bad chemicals in it, I don’t trust it” and would have felt victimized by having no other options and would have chosen to walk in pain letting my legs form an even bigger rash rather than use it.

This version of me said, “this is not the option I would choose but it is the only one that exists in this moment” and I used it without worrying about it and ordered a better option once I got home.

I’ve reframed the phrase “out of control.”

Because the more I allow myself to have the foods I’ve restricted, the less it actually feels out of control. “Out of control” feels like a phrase my mind came up with to make it sound scary.

In reality it just feels like freedom.

Even with full permission to eat everything in sight, it turns out that my body isn’t really all that interested in just gorging solely on foods that aren’t good for me.

I opened up my first bag of Doritos in years – fully expecting to let myself eat the entire bag. Instead I ate maybe 10 and then was like.. eh.. I’m good.

I just didn’t want them. I wanted dinner instead.

I am still currently very into donuts. I think it’s because donuts were a main food I just would never ever let myself have because I so strongly disapproved of them (I convinced myself I didn’t like them!). Donuts and desserts are still extremely fun and I’ve been eating them pretty much every day.

And even then – it’s not like they’ve been replacing my meals. My body still craves full nutritious meals – meat and potatoes and fruits and really filling up on all those things. And then having lots of dessert.

I am starting to think we place way too much value in what our minds think about food. We listen to our minds and the newest science instead of listening to our bodies.

Seagulls will eat all the shit you snack on at the beach but when it comes to feeding their own babies they will not feed them cheese puffs. They will only feed them fish. 

Chickadees typically feed their babies worms and bugs of all types but at one particular time of development when their babies need it most they will only search out spiders. Spiders have a specific chemical in them needed for proper brain development.

The chickadees don’t know the science behind this. They are just like – this is the correct food at this time.

We trust our bodies to heal their own cuts and repair their skin and fight off a cold. But we don’t trust them to know what they want to eat?

We don’t trust their amount of hunger?

It is astonishing the amount of disgust I have for nuts and avocados now that I’m allowing my body to eat butter and milk and cheese again.

Jordan and I went to get my finger re-fitted for a ring today.

I knew my hands had gotten fatter. I was sized for the engagement ring two months ago.

It turns out that during that time my finger has grown one entire size. Not like a quarter size – it went from a 6 to a 7.

I have photos of my hand from then and now and my hands look so much healthier now. Fatter, sure. But also healthier. More filled out. It feels like this is how they are supposed to look.

I also feel a lot more like “me.”

Like I am no longer trying to shrink to be something else.

I have received a lot of comments recently to that effect, and it’s true. I just feel happier. Filled up in every area of my life. It has extended everywhere – to my sex life, to what I let myself buy, to what I allow myself to say.

I can have what I want.

I can have more than enough.

I don’t know what the “after” photos will look like from this process.

But this is what it looks like during.

And during feels pretty damn beautiful.


If you liked this piece, you might also enjoy:

Feeling like I “ruined” my body & having more than enough

Gaining weight: the first two months, going shopping

Food & ice cream & weight gain & nourishment (the beginning)

Running on empty: the pattern of not nourishing yourself until it is too late

Donuts & doritos & crossing 160: going “out of control”