How much weight gained after bulimia?

April 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm 2 comments

This was a search term someone used yesterday and which landed them here. When I see such questions, I want to address them. There is no simple answer to this. It depends on how much you weigh before recovery, your build, height and genetic influence or predisposition, I would say.

Ideal weight is relative. During the first nine or so years of my bout with bulimia and anorexia, my ideal weight was always: Less. I couldn’t be thin enough. Obviously. Then a few years before I recovered, I chose the weight I was at. It was more than at my worst, but not enough to be able to concentrate, sleep well, or feel energetic and enthusiastic. That I eventually was able to admit.

Before I started to eat “normally” I was aware that I would gain weight. I decided that I would give my body the freedom to find its own weight — whatever it wanted. That was no easy decision, but it was helpful to anticipate the discomfort ahead of time. I simply assumed that it would take a while to adjust, and maybe I would even gain more than I thought necessary. But I trusted that once my body was used to regular nutrition, it would settle down somewhere. And that is exactly what happened. For someone whose trust in just about everything had been shattered, that first experience of trusting my body was a true milestone!

After I’d spent so much time trying to be thin enough, during which I was ready and willing to do anything and everything necessary to achieve that aim, I turned it around. I was ready and willing to do anything and everything necessary to achieve a new goal: I wanted to have energy, enthusiasm and feel alive! I desperately wanted a life!

Numbers are useless, but perhaps this number will help, just to show how skewed perception can be. My “ideal weight” before recovery (although more than at my worst stages) was somewhere between 15 and 20 pounds less than what I weigh now. These days, if I lose a few pounds after having the flu, I feel crappy and under the weather. I find it truly amazing that I was able to function as well as I did with so little physical substance. The human body is truly a miracle.


Entry filed under: life after bulimia. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Close quarters Actually…

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. hannah  |  May 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    How do accept your natural weight?especially when you know its what most people consider “big” or “curvy” or “too heavy” and they think you would look better if you lost weight?

    How do you wrap your mind around the fact its ok to be your natural size when you know (because of the comments people make) you look better 20 pounds lighter?

    • 2. diaryofarecoveredbulimic  |  May 5, 2011 at 8:37 pm

      It’s sometimes difficult to come to terms with personal qualities — whether personality or appearance — which make one stand out next to “average” people. Personally, I think we ourselves notice these blatant differences more than others.

      But you are absolutely right. I’ve heard people say, “If she lost 20 pounds…” But that’s an awfully narrow way of looking at a person: judging them in comparison to an artificial norm rather than perceiving them for who they are. I confess, I am sometimes prone to think that, too, but more from the other side: “If she could put on 10 or 20 pounds…”

      I have a few women friends who are very curvy and absolutely shine with a life-loving radiance. There’s no other way to describe it. I’m sure somebody could say that about them, and if they were to lose 20 pounds I don’t think they would look anorexic. But personally, I coundn’t imagine them slim and trim — they wouldn’t look like themselves! I do believe it depends on your inner feelings about yourself.

      As I write this, a former work colleague comes to mind. She had an absolutely stunning, perfect, feminine figure. (No, she wasn’t skinny.) Yet she always put herself down, worked out a lot, and was very careful about her diet. I often felt frustrated with her, because she was so blind to how she truly appeared.

      It is hard. I know the ideals and norms exist and women are encouraged to compare themselves, “improve” themselves and keep the diet market with all its pills, formulas etc. etc. in business. It is very bad for business if we are satisfied withourselves they way we are. That’s all I have to say.


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