Being “Bigger” – the good and the not so good

**This post contains personal information about me. After debating whether I should share it or not, I decided to as I haven’t felt comfortable enough to really share it with any of my friends and I’m hoping if I continue sharing things like this on my blog, it will help keep me accountable for my health and not slip back into destructive behaviours. I also hope it helps others that are currently struggling. We can all support each other.

More honest blogging for you today. I have been in recovery from my eating disorder for 10 months. I honestly thought that I would be “all better” by now. Ha ;p I suppose I should have known better, that this will be a lengthy battle.

I recently joined a gym. I had been attending a boot camp and doing my own workouts, but really missed the community feeling of a gym and I really like going to group fitness classes. I managed to find a deal with a nearby gym and they offered a free fitness evaluation. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I figured I would take them up on the free things (they also offered a free personal training session and a free facial!!). I prepared mentally for this evaluation as I assumed it would be a lot of numbers about my body. I told them I did not want to know my weight, and they were really nice about it. I will be completely honest with you, I snuck a peek at the end of the session. I tried so very hard not to care and not to look, but there you have it – I’m not the greatest with willpower. And the number I saw, didn’t upset me. I think I sighed in relief. After not knowing my weight for well over a year, I broke down and needed to know. It was a number lower than I was expecting. Despite the fact that my clothes are tight and I certainly don’t feel lighter. I’ll admit that it’s a little sad, but seeing that number did make me feel better.

What didn’t make me feel better was the body fat percentage measurement. Holy crap. I was not expecting the number they told me it was. And they told me I should be concerned. I instantly went into a mini meltdown (ok… I went home first and waited for my husband to come home so as not to meltdown solo). I told him how concerned I am about it and how things need to change. When I think about some of the things we’ve been eating over the past several months, it actually adds up to a very high fat diet. And a fair amount of it would never be considered healthy fat (I’m looking at you potato chips and chocolate bars!). He freaked out a bit in return worried that I’m going into a restrictive mode again. And it made me think. Of course I am obviously concerned about the health implications of this, especially since my family has a history of hypertension and high cholesterol. But I know deep down, that I’m really just terrified of being fat. I hate that I feel that way.

So what am I going to do about this? I’m not going to completely and radically change my diet. I’ve been there, I’ve done that and it doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to eat less food, I do want to eat better quality food. We’re going to eat fewer chips and enjoy healthier forms of potato. Instead of buying chocolate at the store, I’ll make my own. We’ll eat more vegetables (ok… we already eat a TON of vegetables). We  can definitely eat less fat and throw in more protein without drastically changing things.

And I’ve made an appointment with my GP to have a physical and get blood work done to check my cholesterol and triglycerides and have her opinion on how things look and see if I should be concerned. She is after all, a medical doctor who knows me and my history (no offense to the complete stranger at the gym).

I also wanted to put a more positive spin on some of the things I’ve experienced since I’ve gained weight over the past 3 years.

  • got a dog (ok… obviously has nothing to do with weight gain, but awesome nonetheless)
  • got faster (I shattered my PR for half marathon running)
  • got stronger (I can lift heavier weights)
  • my husband loves my curves
  • my hip roll looks way cooler in dance class

Alright, so I’m obviously still working through things, but I think I’m better than I was a year ago and that small step in the right direction makes me happy.

Do you struggle with body image?

Have you found ways to love yourself?

22 thoughts on “Being “Bigger” – the good and the not so good

  1. Oh man, there is no such thing as “all better” when it comes to eating disorders, that’s for sure. All you can do is STAY positive and try to keep any negative thoughts OUT OF MIND! You only live once, you want to try and live your happiest life EVER!! Life is tooooooo short to rue over whether or not you “look fat” today! 😉

  2. Hey Kimmy, It will definitely be a work in progress for a while and I still think you are doing great, and honestly, I thought you looked fantastic. Most importantly, you know know what has not worked for you in the past and you are actively trying not to repeat that. Shoot me an email if you ever want to chat.

  3. I recently had a total spiral this year after doing a weigh and measure after getting back from my US trip (where I gained 2kg, no surprises), seeing my body fat percentage on some fancy scales and being told it was high, and then googling it on the internet and the internet told me that woman of my age with that level of body fat was actually obese, even if she didn’t look it. I definitely bordered on disordered eating at that point, which was scary.
    I have lost the holiday weight and a bit more since then, but even so my body fat percentage remains ‘high’. Then I spoke to my doctor who was very reassuring and said that I don’t need to worry about it, my bloods were fine, and that I was in no way obese. I hope your doctor can give you similar reassurances! But it is hard when numbers are staring you in the face and they don’t match up with the ‘ideal’ numbers from some table.
    Sending lots of ****HUGS**** to you.

    1. Ok… so I’m not the only one getting tripped up over stupid fancy scales and body fat percentages.
      I will talk with my doctor and see what she says. I’m trying hard not to freak out over it and I do know that I need a professionals opinion before I really do anything. Body image and weight are such tricky issues :/
      Thank you for sharing that with me, it really helps.
      *hugs* back =)

  4. Hi! Thank you so much for posting this! I am also recovering from an eating disorder. I’ve come a long way and have maintained a healthy BMI for about a year now, but that voice is still in the back of my head. I am very controlled and ritualistic with my eating, and I keep my weight within the lowest five pound range of what’s healthy for my weight. I’m still abusing laxatives though. I am so afraid of being obese again, and I struggle with constipation. so I don’t know what to do at this point.

    1. Recovery is hard. I honestly thought it would be easier and I’d be further ahead than I am by now. But I also know I have to be patient with myself and to give myself time to sort through things.
      KL have you thought of talking to a counsellor? I Found that very helpful. I also found a support group in my area that was really helpful. I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time, hopefully we’ll both be better with time. *hugs*

  5. This is such a wonderfully honest post. I do think that interface between worrying about health and worrying about weight is a really tough one – and in today’s Western society, hard to avoid. We are told to love our bodies and work towards body acceptance and not dieting, but then we have to navigate a world where so much high-fat food is available, that if we’re not careful, we’re also warned about obesity. I do firmly believe that healthy is not just about the number on the scale OR body fat percentage and I think many gyms have unrealistic / misguided definitions of healthy body fat, especially for women. Seeing your doctor is thus a really good idea! But also, regardless of what that body fat number is, your recovery is for the long term. A restrictive diet can only ever be short term.

    Good luck with it all xo

    1. Thanks Kari – so very true! I’m feeling a little better about things after a few days to think about things. I know restricting doesn’t help anything and I just have to take more time and be patient with myself. Seeing the doctor is obviously a good move too.
      Thanks so much for the kind words Kari. I really appreciate it =)

  6. Great post Kimmy. Being in recovery must be hard with constant numbers everywhere to contend with but you sounds like you are doing well at looking inside yourself rather than getting too hung up on the numbers. You always seem to eat lots of healthy food so that is huge advantage in trying to eat better as you seem to love it. Good luck!

  7. It is a little shame that people think fat doesn’t equal fit, especially for women. As you mentioned you have gotten faster and stronger, and making sure you get enough nutrition and calories is part of the reason why your body can do that. I watch football with my husband and it sucks to see athletic men who have lots of body fat but perform extremely hard physical activities. But if a women was athletic, muscular, and fat, there would be lots of discussion about her health. Not saying the person at your gym had a personal agenda to “take women down” but what she was taught might of been a little bias.

    It is good to go to your doctors to get blood work done. I think doctors tend to not be a bias against a lot of dieting market and understand that “heavy” people are healthy. It is crazy looking at historical photos since we are told that in the past people were thinner, which is half true. A lot of the women and men in the photos have a fair amount of weight on them. There aren’t that many skinny skinny people. Even in painting and sculptures there aren’t that many skinny people, so maybe that is saying something about our mainstream standards of beauty? I personally take it as a link between the stress of an unattainable standard of beauty and eating habits.

    1. The woman at the gym was trying to be helpful, but definitely also wants me to think about how to change my body (part of that I think is them wanting me to buy personal trainer packages). Our society definitely holds women to a high standard for body image. It’s tough to live up to… it’s actually impossible. Like you say – even historically, people weren’t “skinny”, they had more weight on them. Even today, people have more weight on them and it’s airbrushed off for magazines and such.
      Thank you for the kind words Jennifer – I truly appreciate it.

  8. Kimmy, you’re gorgeous as you are right at this moment! I’m sorry you got triggered at the gym, but know that those bioelectric impedance analysis units (what they usually use to determine % body fat) aren’t always the most accurate. (We worked with them a bit in our nutrition assessment class.) Luckily, it sounds to me like you know yourself well and are proceeding with compassion and care. Also, your athletic accomplishments are amazing–would that I was as fit as you!

    1. You are so very sweet – this means a lot to me. It is tough at times, but I’m feeling better about it already (some of that definitely has to do with the amazing & unexpected kindness I have received from fellow bloggers). Thank you so much Lee =)

  9. Thank you for sharing such a personal post Kimmy! I have never had an eating disorder so I can’t totally relate or even really have any advice, except that I think that is a great idea to have a checkup with your GP. Like you said, she is a trained medical professional and knows more about you than the stranger at the gym :) I also think it’s great how you’ve turned a negative situation into so many positives – identifying areas in your diet that you can improve gently, and focusing on your achievements. Don’t forget that you are a beautiful woman! Don’t let anyone make you think that you are fat (because you most definitely are not!) :)

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words Kyra. You are such a sweet & supportive person. I will continue working my way through this! It makes it easier with such great people rooting for me =)

  10. Kimmy,

    I was browsing your blog looking for food ideas and came across this post. That person at the fitness center is probably just using some template and has no real idea of what you’re capable of. If you are running faster and lifting more, that’s so much more important. How do you feel health-wise? That’s so much more important. And you look gorgeous.

    1. I think you are right – she is just working with the numbers she was given and hasn’t really thought about the whole picture.
      I actually feel healthy! It’s funny that I never even thought to think of it that way – that’s the most important thing. Thank you Betty!

  11. Kimmy, thanks for sharing this. I think we all feel so alone in our struggles with weight so when someone like you talks about it, we feel like we’re in it together. I myself have gained 10lbs in the last 9-10 months and can’t seem to take it off. As a nutritionist in training I know what I should be doing but I can feel myself slipping back into wanting to calorie count and restrict. It’s so hard not to. This in turn stresses me more and then I feel even worse when I write articles like I just did about how to eat during the holidays when I don’t feel that I’m the picture of health myself. I’ve wanted to so a post about how I’m feeling and my own insecurities but I have been hesitant to do so. Maybe I should.

    1. “As a nutritionist in training I know what I should be doing but I can feel myself slipping back into wanting to calorie count and restrict. It’s so hard not to.”
      Exactly!! You understand where I’m coming from especially since you are training as a Nutritionist. I think part of the problem is wanting to “look” a certain way to be part of the health industry.
      I liked your post on eating around the holidays. It’s a struggle for a lot of people and had some good reminders and tips.
      Thank you so much for the kind words.

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