A few days ago I was at a doctor’s office, in a room with a scale for the first time since December.
I hesitated for a moment.
In December when I weighed myself for the first time since September I had gained another 35 lbs without really even noticing.
One of my biggest fears on this journey has been that I would keep gaining weight forever.
That somehow I had messed up the process, did it wrong, and that I would be an anomaly, someone who just didn’t stop getting bigger.
Through all of this I have continually returned to the deeper knowing in my body.
That what I was doing was true.
That my path was true.
The doctor wasn’t asking me to get on the scale, she had left the room.
Jordan was there with me and it was just the two of us.
Some people when they go on this journey ignore the scale entirely.
But in my own journey – and in all of my work – I am really only interested in “how open can I be in all situations.”
Not, people and things shouldn’t trigger me.
But, how can I hold my nervous system and stay open and receptive in any situation.
And so while I have done a lot of work around weight and at this point believe that the scale is such an arbitrary number…
I still wanted to know.
And more importantly I wanted to have the opportunity to alchemize whatever might come up that I might feel.
So I stepped on the scale.
245 lbs, it read.
A whole 2 lbs more than it did in December.
For the past 6 months my weight has plateaued.
It took about 10 months for that to happen.
For the first 3 months of my food journey, I slowly, slowly gained… til June when I went all in and it skyrocketed (I gained 20 lbs in the month of June alone)
and it continued to climb, at a rate of around 10 lbs/month.
A great deal of it packed on to my belly.
For the majority of the time I looked super pregnant.
My body protecting my organs, now that I was feeding it, at all costs.
And then it started to come elsewhere.
My belly is still disproportionately big – I think I would be a couple sizes smaller if not for it.
And, that’s ok with me.
My body is protecting itself.
I imagine it will redistribute in time.
And it’s ok if it doesn’t.
I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t gained any more weight.
It wasn’t so much about “being fat” or “not getting fatter” – I really feel I’ve alchemized so much around weight and am pretty content with being a fat person for the rest of my life if that is what my body feels it needs.
But it was more… this relief and sense of validation that my body really knows what it’s doing.
I had read over and over again that “your body will stop gaining weight when it feels safe. It has a natural set point.”
But my mind was always like, what if I am not showing it it is safe enough. Why am I still gaining weight. What if something is wrong? What if I don’t have a set point and that theory is bullshit.
And what I came back to over and over again was this deeper trust.
Sort of like a blind faith, that this is what is true and my body would not lead me to something that wasn’t good for it.
The middle part of this journey, about September-January (months 7-11), felt like a no man’s land to me.
I was eating consistently…
I had pretty much removed my fears around food…
But I wasn’t sure How to eat.
As in, the endless ice cream and McDonald’s was no longer what I wanted, but I didn’t really know what I did want and I was hyperaware of any inkling of the eating disorder part of my brain coming back.
I started craving some vegetables – it started with a raw carrot. And I was like, is this ok? How do I know this is ok? I hadn’t wanted a vegetable in 6 months.
But slowly, I started adding some things back in as my body craved them.
And I noticed my body’s cravings start to change.
And then I could really see my patterns around nourishment that were not related to food.
I want to really make this part very clear: I don’t think it is possible to work on these patterns without eating more and eating consistently enough, first.
Otherwise I think people get stuck in this spiral where they never fully heal their stuff around food.
But I had healed my stuff around food.
To my surprise, honestly.
My judgements around food had disappeared.
One day, I think in January, I found myself sitting on a call and telling my students how I had gummy bears and cut up vegetables in front of me and both of them were equal in my mind.
And it was completely true.
I could want either one of them, I could eat either one, neither was “better” than the other, it was just solely between me and my body – what did I feel like having?
But the patterns around my nourishment I could see much more clearly were how there were still ways I didn’t “feel like” taking care of myself, and there were ways I had turned recovery into another diet.
For example. I was still worried at times about if I was “doing recovery” right, still unsure if I could eat in the way I felt like I really wanted to eat, since it looked quite similar to how I had been eating at the beginning of my food journey… and while I was pretty good at listening to my hunger, sometimes I was just reaching for ice cream or chips not because I wanted them anymore, but because I “didn’t feel like” making something else.
To reiterate: this was ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL at the beginning of my journey!!
But in the fall, it started to shift, and I wasn’t sure if I could trust it shifting.
In February I started working with a non-diet dietician because I felt like I was going crazy – like I wasn’t sure how to eat, what I could trust about what I wanted and what I couldn’t.
And having that 1:1 support I really feel whooshed me through the final stages of my journey. Like it felt like I was wandering around near the end of the tunnel in the dark, and she was like hey here is a flashlight, here is the way out, it’s actually really simple.
And the essence of what she told me was: you can trust yourself.
The same way I had trusted my body throughout the whole journey…
I could still trust my body. Even though it was now saying different things.
I started to relax. I started to realize that I could trust when I felt full. I stopped feeling panic and fear around my hunger, and started to realize that I was actually in a place where what I was experiencing was just normal hunger.
It felt important to hear how “normal” eaters related to their hunger at this stage, because I didn’t really have a baseline for what normal felt like, I couldn’t remember.
And as it came back, I did remember. I remembered this sensation around food I had as a little girl. Freedom to have whatever I wanted, enjoyment of cooking the things I liked, trust that I could stop when I was full and there would still be more food later.
I think the final shifting point for me was when Jordan and I went away on our honeymoon in the beginning of April.
We were eating breakfasts with foods that had excited me during recovery, and I was realizing that I was not excited about them at all, I didn’t feel great or fully nourished eating them.
And we were eating out every night. We had fresh oysters I think 5 days in a row, and I remembered how much I adored oysters.
And then the biggest moment…. suddenly I had this MASSIVE craving for raw liver.
I honestly don’t think I knew what a true craving was really like before this journey.
Sure, there were things I “wanted” before… but the way my body experiences cravings now is different. It feels like a deep, almost erotic need of I desire this now.
And it was that way for raw liver.
I think the reason this surprised me so much is because I hate liver. It’s not, like, a thing I particularly enjoy.
But it was a thing I started eating last year when I started my food journey, when I was trying to intentionally nourish myself, and my body just desired it.
(my food journey began when I found this pro-metabolic way of eating, but I moved away from that once I realized I had an eating disorder I needed to heal – if you need to catch up on this click the link here).
So we got home… and I was like… I want to start eating raw liver.
And then it was like the last bits of full permission opened and I started allowing myself to eat in the ways I was deeply craving – which just so happened to look a lot like the way I was eating when I started this journey.
Bone broth. Lots of fresh fruit. Orange juice. Oysters. Raw liver. Meat, all kinds. Nettles. Full fat raw dairy. Yogurt. Rice. Sourdough. Ice cream. Brownies. Eggs.
And I started to allow myself to source the food from where it felt good – buying a quarter cow from a local farm, finding a local source for raw milk, a local sourdough bakery.
The difference is that I am a completely different person.
Last year, I could not introduce these foods without becoming activated and obsessive. Without being like, you say to eat less nuts?! I will never eat them again! Or you say seed oils aren’t good for my hormones? I will become paranoid of every ingredient label!
Also I was starving, and my body wanted quick, easy to digest sources of calories – like donuts and McDonald’s.
The way I’ve been eating looks quite similar to how it did when I began this journey.
My relationship to it is just entirely different.
I attended a class the other day about nourishing foods for pre-pregnancy, for mothers – and my nervous system stayed calm the whole time. Neutral.
I did not move into “this is good” and “this is bad.” I was like, this is neutral information and I can add some of it in.
I cannot even believe I am writing that sentence.
Anytime in my life when someone has been like, eat more of these foods! I have twisted it and turned it in on myself and made it mean that I should only eat those things all the time and that was the superior way to eat.
Now it feels neutral.
I am sitting here writing to you eating chicken thighs, rice cooked in bone broth, and hot buffalo wing pretzels, because I wanted them.
My meal might be more hormone-supportive if I added in some fruit and didn’t eat the pretzels… but my body wants the pretzels, and this is the meal I want right now.
There are no “bad” foods. There are no better foods than other foods, to my brain anymore.
There is just full permission for everything. If my body wants fruit it will tell me it wants fruit (and I am already eyeing the watermelon and mango sitting in the bowl across the table).
My body is covered in stretch marks, on my arms and thighs and hips and slashes on my lower belly that look as if a little child were standing in front of me and tried to reach up and grab it.
I am somewhere around a size 20, or anywhere from a 2x-5x, depending on the brand.
I have gained 112 lbs since I started.
I have become an entirely new woman.
All you have to do is look at a photo, see a video of me from a year ago compared to now.
My entire life has changed, inside and out.
A married woman living on this magical lush land with her hands in the dirt.
Making butter from raw cream and coordinating plumbers and well drillers and cleaners.
And I just looked – I made more than double the money last month than I made the same month last year.
My woman is here and she can hold so much.
Receive so much.
I am still on a journey with food and my body but it feels calm, now, and exciting. Like I can finally learn what my body loves the most, and eat the ways my body loves the most, and also be able to easily eat anything in any situation.
It is this total freedom I have never felt.
Intentionally nourishing, supporting my body to hopefully get pregnant sometime in the end of next year…
And full permission to have anything I want.
I had hoped this spot was possible.
I didn’t know if it was.
But now I can tell you….
It absolutely, certainly is.
If you liked this piece, you might also enjoy:
– Moving my body in a feminine-oriented way, returning to “exercise” again after a two year break, unwinding conditioning around exercise (podcast)
– How food became neutral to me
– Our minds do not know better than our bodies
– Everything to do with my food journey & weight gain in chronological order