Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Struggle With Food & Weight

In the spirit of Disclosure: An Open Book, there's something that I'd like to share.

vintage weight gain ads
I've been struggling so very much with food and weight over the past few years, but in a very different way than most others.
I don't need to lose weight; I desperately need to gain weight.
There's not really an outlet for those that are having difficulty maintaining or gaining weight. Most people just say, "I wish I had that problem." Not to this extent, you don't!

I don't have an eating disorder... well, it's possible that what's happening to me may actually be part of a disorder that I'm not aware of. I've been labeled as anorexic my entire life because I've always been very skinny. I hated that being said about me, especially back in my school days. It's the equivalent of people saying nasty things about people that are overweight (like calling them a pig or whale). It's hurtful! When I was younger, I used to eat and eat and eat, and I was active in sports. I knew I was skinny, but I wasn't afraid of gaining weight. And, I never binged or purged.

My challenges have been different. I know that I need to gain weight. I know what to eat / how to eat well. But, I still can't do it consistently. I also know that I need to work out to regain some of the muscle that I've lost; but I have to get the eating under control, or I won't have enough energy to even think about working out in any capacity. It's a daily battle!

vintage weight gain ads
I sometimes feel a sense of helplessness because I truly am trying my hardest to do what I know I need to do. I don't want to be or stay an unhealthy low weight. I want to be back up to what I was before the accident... it would help with my treatment, too (neurostimulator, medications, etc).

I don't really care for looking at myself in the mirror (I've written about it before in a post called Mirrors). There was a day in late September that I looked at myself in the mirror, and I was frightened. I looked like a skeleton. It scared me, but I still haven't been able to eat more or put on weight.

To be completely honest, part of why I may not be eating enough could be that I fear the debilitating abdominal pain and cramping that I get (due to IBS). People that haven't experienced such wrenching pain simply can't understand. It's such a heavy burden to know that the pain is possible anytime I eat anything.

I've been using a calorie counter app (I finally found one that allows you to set a goal to gain weight). It helps me see just how little / few calories I often intake. After I enter everything in that I've consumed in a day, it'll tell me how much (or little) I'll weigh if I eat like that for five weeks. Seeing that number is sometimes pretty scary. So, I'm trying my hardest to reach the goal caloric intake, but I often feel like I'm just so desperate to meet the calorie goal that I'm actually looking for high calorie foods to eat (which are often very unhealthy).

I have to be very, very mindful about my eating. It's utterly exhausting!!! I hate that it's a daily struggle just to make myself eat (some days are worse / harder than others). I constantly have to fight horrible nausea and often have to try to force-feed myself. But, there are times that I just can't eat - even the thought of eating makes me feel physically sick, and it just worsens with the smell and taste.

But, I'm not giving up! I want to get back to my normal weight. I'm still trying!

This post was written as part of the National Health Blog Posting Month (NHBPM).

Disclosure: An Open Book

Today's prompt is about disclosure - how I decide what to share or not.

I've always been a pretty private person, but I'm allowing myself to be more open and vulnerable.

I battle with things that have a huge stigma around them. Migraine disease, Fibromyalgia, IBS, depression, anxiety... these are all invisible illnesses. People can't easily see the battles I face with these diseases. But, I've found that by discussing parts of these illnesses that aren't openly discussed, I'm inviting others to know that they're not alone in what they're facing.

So, I try to be open and willing to share anything... with people that I feel are sincerely / genuinely asking (either out of concern and / or necessity). People that I meet in life that don't seem to really care, often get a shortened version of things. But, I simply go with my gut - unless I feel uncomfortable with something someone asks me (which, again, is usually due to insincerity of the person asking), I'm pretty much an open book.

It's taken me quite a long time to get to a point where I can share this much about my journey. And, I've found that allowing myself to be vulnerable has brought with it great blessings. Others will sometimes tell me that I've put words / a voice to something they, too, have been facing. I feel like I'm staying true to myself, and it seems to be helping validate aspects of some other people's experiences / journey.

I share because I can. I share because it helps me sort through things. I share because it may help someone else out there. I share because God has put a desire to in my heart.

This post was written as part of the National Health Blog Posting Month (NHBPM).
Disclaimer: Nothing on this blog is intended as medical or legal advice.

What I write on this site is my own, and if it is someone else's, I take special care to attribute it to the original author. So, please don't use any of my material without proper attribution or permission. Thanks.