Hello guys. I am back. I would like to start by saying I am sorry for taking so long to write another blog post. There has been TONS going on in my life and unfortunately the blog fell behind a little. I am still sharing my story and helping others through Instagram and Facebook but that takes up a mass amount of my time. I also am currently working full time and studying to get a fitness nutrition certification so sitting down and writing is really hard. That being said I wanted to talk about the link between anxiety and my eating disorder or a little more broadly my weight.
My anxiety has always been of an obsessive nature from obsessing over what people think of me, thinking negative thoughts when things don’t go my way, planning all the time, etc. Growing up skinny and having people always actively notice how skinny I was and then when that suddenly stopped it triggered something inside of me that created a bridge between my anxiety and my weight, which obviously led to an eating disorder. In this blog I will go over specific triggers of the anxiety linked to my weight.
The big bad scale:
The scale was my biggest battle, it still is, and I believe that it always will be. The link between anxiety and the scale is obvious because the scale literally triggered anxiety attacks for me. Not just the weighing myself but the thought of the scale and just looking at the scale would put me in a frenzy. When I thought about weighing myself it literally felt like 100 pounds got added to me. I would physically FEEL like my feet were 50 pound weights each and that when I stepped on the scale I was going to be so overwhelmed by the number I saw, and guess what I was.
I really did this to myself with the scale. When I initially lost a ton of weight from running back in 2014 I obsessively weighed myself to see how much weight I lost. I would become consumed by trying to keep the number down. I didn’t care about muscle or strength I just wanted to be stick thin again. This is what made it really hard when I gained weight back even if a large chunk of it may have been muscle. In doing that I have made it the hardest habit to kick. I knew I wasn’t at that low weight anymore but I couldn’t just tell myself to not weigh myself because I was to invested and almost addicted to doing it. I was waiting for some magical thing to happen where I lost 20 pounds again even though I was eating like shit, working out half assed, and drinking 3-5 nights a week. I was literally triggering my anxiety attacks myself. When I looked at the scale and didn’t like the number I saw I freaked out, I thought my life was over, that my body was ruined and I would never be able to have the body I want. It caused anxiety attacks and me being upset for days after.
I rarely weigh myself anymore but I do still get overly concerned about my weight at times and it can be a source of anxiety for me. I avoid the scale at all costs if anything that is negative is going on in my mind. If I cannot look at that scale and not be bothered by what I see I don’t weigh myself. This isn’t just for my own safety but because it eases my anxiety. Before I looked at the scale as something that I HAD to do. I NEEDED to know my weight in order to measure my success but now I am perfectly fine with living in ignorance to my weight as long as I am happy with what I see in the mirror.
I have mentioned that some of my biggest habits were
- Body Checking
- Covering my midsection with something
In my anxiety I have obsessive habits when I get thoughts into my head and can’t let go of them. I put this in my previous post about anxiety (my last blog before this if you have not read it yet). Within my eating disorder I started forming obsessive habits that are still hard to shake. They became so obsessive that I was doing them multiple times a day or every time I sat down (covering my midsection). I won’t go to in depth about this because it truly speaks for itself.
I woke up every single morning and spent up to 20 minutes looking at my body, through out the day, and at night. Anytime I sat down I became so obsessive over the “rolls” on my stomach that I had to cover them up with whatever was close by pillows, my purse, ANYTHING.
I still fight with the body checking but I have gotten much better at it.
It was hard to talk myself down from a ledge that was my mind. I was so set in my ways and convinced of certain things ( I.e. Eating pizza one time will make me gain weight that I will never lose) that straying from those certain things would cause anxiety. When I lock into something like a certain thought or belief it makes it extremely hard for me to change my mind and that is why getting over an eating disorder, among a million other reasons, is such a big deal. It literally required getting over thoughts that I had set in stone in my brain and accepted as the truth. To get over the disorder I had to change my whole perception of reality, which I am still shaping today.
Its similar to how I am with all life situations feeling the need to plan everything out, obsessing over my loved ones safety, etc. I.e. If a loved one doesn’t let me know that they are safe when they arrive somewhere then I go into obsessive thinking that something happened to them. That can lead to obsessive actions such as texting and calling.
So lets relate the anxiety tendency to the eating disorder:
Action: I eat a food that is not good for me (I.e. pizza, tacos, a piece of cake, candy, anything)
Thought process: Why did I do this, my body is ruined, I weigh so much weight now, I will never be able to lose weight, I am such an idiot. I give myself anxiety thinking all of this.
Obsessive reaction: In being so obsessed about my weight I act on my eating disorder because in my mind that’s what is going to solve my irrational thought process.
Obsessive thought processes are apart of my anxiety in all aspects of life not just my weight. However, in already having the habit of these thought processes it was easy for me to make that transition into being anxious about my weight and having irrational thought processes about that. Truly speaking many of us have issues with our weight and have some negative connotations linked to it but clearly mine was a little more unhealthy than most and contributed to an eating disorder.
Where I am today:
A lot of my eating disorder was triggering of my anxiety because I was actually working myself up into anxiety attacks, however the reason that was happening is because I had started linking anxious thoughts to my weight.
I am not perfect, I am not cured of all bad thoughts and habits about my body. I still struggle daily. Whats different is that I would never cause harm to my body now. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have negative thoughts about my body from time to time or that I don’t struggle with myself. Now a days I think my biggest battle is still the scale and my weight, I am trying to train myself to know that my weight is not reflective of my success. Truly there is so much that goes into the fluctuation of weight from food, water, hormones, etc that relying solely on the scale would be ridiculous. However, I know how hard it is to train my mind (Someone who is recovered) so I know its even harder to train someone who isn’t recovered mind to think this.