Finally! A hashtag I can get behind.
I’ve been off of instagram for about a year now. Let me tell you- life is AMAZING without it. I urge everyone to at least take 2 weeks off because you don’t realize how much it sucks out of you. Eating disorder or not- that shit messes with you, take a break from it.
Unfortunately, a recent surgery has left me on the couch for weeks bored out of my mind! Once I exhausted all the seasons of Breaking Bad on Netflix, I found myself lurking back on social media..big mistake.
Seconds onto the platform I’m seeing fitness models, half naked women, I even read one post “In order to get a good body, you need to want it. You basically have to sell your soul to the gym.”
10 months ago, I would have agreed. Now, I’m utterly disgusted.
Anywho, within days of mindlessly scrolling IG my mindset went to shit. I was back to tearing my body apart, back to obsessing about abs, back to itching to get back into the gym and back to restricting my food intake. I even saw the picture below and my initial thought was “This looks like the perfect life. I want this one day!” And then I immediately thought “I’m too fat to have that. It won’t look like that for me.” …..like what? The bitch is wearing an oversized sweater you can barely see her body, what is my brain even trying to say?
I paused for a moment, thanks to all my hours of therapy I was able to catch myself and do what we call a downward arrow. Basically, you take a thought and you keep digging deeper to see what you’re actually saying. In this case, I thought: They look very happy in this picture–> but she’s very skinny and I’m not–>I can’t have this if I don’t look like that–>I can’t be happy.
So ok, maybe to people without eating disorders this picture of a baggy sweater & a shit ton of snow took a drastic turn for the worse. But let’s backtrack and see how exactly my brain got to this point: marketing.
We don’t even realize the messages being pumped into our heads but trust me, they are there, glorifying a skinny body. Constantly pushing the idea that happiness comes with a size zero. Why was my first thought “They look happy” when I can’t even see their faces!? How the hell do I know if they are happy? I guess I just automatically assumed since she was skinny she must be happy.
This was a remarkable moment for me because I had never realized my thought process behind the pictures I saw as I mindlessly scrolled on instagram. Here I am, a girl hyper focused on anything body/food, a year deep in treatment and I was falling for what now seems an obvious pile of bullshit: you cannot be happy unless you are skinny.
So when I saw the hashtag #GainingWeightisCool I was beyond happy. Amen to the sister that started it. That is what we need to get trending.
I’ll be honest, comparing my own pictures was the scariest thing. I’ve avoided it for a long time, in fear of where it would take my mind. They say recovery comes in stages and the last thing to come is body image. I’m not there yet. I look at my comparison pictures and I get anxiety. I remember taking the first picture and being upset that I hadn’t lost more weight, that my abs weren’t showing enough, that my waist wasn’t tiny. And I look at my now and see a much fluffier stomach and a wider waist. I got sucked in for a moment, thinking I want to get back to my old body, but quite honestly, I don’t think I could waste any more time living that way.
Because really, when I weighed less I was not happy.
I was lonely. I was exhausted. I was depressed. I was hungry.
So yes, I’ve gained weight. But I also gained more friends. I’ve gained memories. I’ve gained hobbies outside of calorie counting and fitness planning. I’ve gained energy. I’ve gained more social skills. I’m working on gaining more confidence. But the most important thing I’ve gained: happiness.
So yeah…gaining weight is cool.
**Please note the woman in the picture is probably really nice & I mean no disrespect.