Self

I Gained Over 80 Pounds And It Was The Best Thing I've Ever Done

Photo: Courtesy of the Author
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Basically everybody I know has an eating disorder.

You could call it disordered eating, I guess, if that makes you feel better.

I’m finding that it’s really just a spectrum.

I didn’t know I had an eating disorder.

I thought I had one when I was 19, but I was certain that was gone.

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I knew I probably didn’t eat enough, but I felt like I was always trying to eat more.

And it wasn’t because I thought I needed to be skinnier.

I would have told you that I wasn’t worried about my weight at all — it had been stable my entire life. I was concerned about my health so I ate super “healthy” — at least, according to all the doctors I went to.

I didn’t eat gluten or dairy and last year I did keto and I successfully cut out sugar and pretty much all carbs.

I didn’t even know why people said that was hard. It wasn’t hard for me. I could just do it.

I was so good at restriction.

I never binged, but now I wish I had because that probably would have kept me healthier. Since binging is just a healthy body’s response to restriction.

Pretty much every person I know restricts food in some way.

They don’t eat certain food groups. They only allow themselves a small piece of “bad” food. They have a list of “good” and “bad” foods. They have moral judgments about food.

When we grow up in a culture where dieting and intermittent fasting (aka starving yourself on purpose) is the norm, we absorb so many behaviors that it just becomes normal:

Only having one dessert instead of two even though you secretly want two.

Being proud of yourself for needing less.

Just “not being hungry.”

Losing taste for foods you used to love.

Being happy when you fit into the smaller size jeans.

Being outwardly “fat-positive” as long as it’s not your body.

Checking to see how flat your stomach is.

How muscled you are.

I used to be able to squat 250 lbs. No one ever told me I was too skinny.

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I started eating more food in March of this year because my hormones were a mess and I wanted to fix them.

And I finally owned up to the fact that underneath all my million conscious excuses for not eating more was a buried deep fear of weight gain.

At first, I thought I would eat all whole foods.

I would do it in a safe way. In a “healthy” way.

There is a video of me from back in April, talking about how on the high end I might gain 30 lbs. I said so many times to my now-fiancé, there is no way I’ll gain 30 lbs. He was like yeah, I can’t picture you gaining 30 lbs.

I hadn’t ever fluctuated 10 lbs over my weight at that time. And when I was my heaviest, I had been in college, drinking every day.

I just didn’t think my body was capable of gaining weight.

I wasn’t “underweight” according to any doctor.

And then I started trying to eat every few hours.

And I was shocked when my hunger came roaring back.

I hadn’t known I was hungry, not really. And definitely not to this extent.

I had never experienced anything like this.

It was what I call “desperate hunger.”

I would eat and no matter how much I ate an hour later I would feel starving again.

It was so intense in my system that I couldn’t do anything else besides listen to it.

I broke my own food rules a couple of times and had a burger because I was so hungry that I just needed it.

My hunger woke me up in the middle of the night and I had to eat immediately or I would not be able to fall back asleep.

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I began to get curious if my consistent nightly wake-ups for the past few years had been because I was hungry and I just hadn’t known it.

This was proven when I suddenly had four nights in a row when I slept straight through the night.

I was eating a pint of ice cream before bed.

I had never in my life eaten an entire pint of ice cream.

I used to buy a pint of ice cream and it would last in my freezer for months. I thought I only needed a few spoonfuls to feel satisfied —until I gave myself full permission to eat as much as I possibly could.

I wanted all the ice cream.

I suddenly wanted to just chug milk, even though milk was on my do-not-have list because it was pasteurized and had synthetic things added to it.

Around two months in I was at my fiancé’s parents’ house and I decided to weigh myself. (We didn’t even own a scale, that’s how much I thought I didn’t care about weight).

I had gained 12 lbs.

April 2021. When I had gained 12 lbs. So cute to look at now — I was so nervous about sharing this image.

And at that time I felt fascinated and proud of myself.

It felt validating like I was really feeding myself.

And then suddenly I started craving desserts.

One day I wanted a donut.

And I about had a meltdown.

The donut was the turning point and I knew it was going to be the turning point.

I was convinced that if I had the donut I would go off a cliff of eating “bad” foods and I would end up diseased and alone because no one would love me anymore.

It was at this point that I realized maybe I had an eating disorder.

I was documenting my entire journey on my social media and people were starting to write to me saying “this sounds like my ED recovery journey.”

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I read “The F**k-It Diet” and found Tabitha Farrar’s work.

And I was horrified.

Because I realized that the sheer terror I felt at eating donuts and Doritos and Oreos and McDonald’s was a big problem.

And my avoidance of all the additives and foods I deemed bad in my head was actually causing me to be malnourished.

As in, I was not getting nearly enough calories and I hadn’t for years.

I would choose to not eat over eating something that I thought might be bad for me.

There was a lot of catching up to do.

I went All-In.

That was in June.

Now it’s November and I’ve gained somewhere over 80 lbs this year.

I can’t tell you how much because I threw out the scale I bought in April last month.

I’m fat now.

Like, considered by most people’s standards fat.

Clothes-don’t-fit-me-in-most-stores fat.

BMI obese fat.

Snore-when-I-sleep fat.

And I am the happiest I have ever been.

My fiancé says I laugh at his jokes now.

The difference in my hands, before & now (I got engaged in June!)

I laugh at everything.

Jordan (my fiancé) used to fart and I would roll my eyes.

Now I fart as loud as I can and I laugh first.

My hunger has calmed down quite a lot and I would say that I have a very healthy appetite that is still quite sensitive to not being fed on time.

I eat whatever I want.

I sleep through most nights. The only nights I don’t sleep through are if I had a day when I didn’t eat quite to my hunger levels.

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I feel so much more like me. A version of me I haven’t felt since I was little.

I feel landed in my body.

I take up room in the world.

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Sometimes people are like “But your health!!!!” and the truth is that I am healthier now than I was before.

I still have things. And there are things that come from being this weight (like the snoring) that aren’t the most fun. I have edema (a common part of this process) and my body still needs to get stronger to move around more easily.

But before I had a low white blood cell count and no one knew why, I got cold easily, my hair came out in handfuls in the shower, my periods were debilitating, and I was generally moody and tired.

I may have “looked” healthier to most people, but I wasn’t.

All of those things have changed.

And I have found a level of loving my body that I didn’t know I could have before.

I thought I had done so much work on loving my body, but really it was conditional.

This is unconditional.

It’s knowing that my body is what I would have previously considered being “disgusting” and I love it more than I did before.

I work with women leading them deeper into their emotions and their bodies and something I have noticed is that 100% of them either currently have disordered eating or have in the past.

100%.

It’s so filtered through our culture that most people don’t even notice it.

We make jokes about fat people not being able to control what they eat and we assume that fat equals unhealthy. When in actuality the science shows the opposite of both those things.

This might be my favorite photo. January 2021 vs Oct 2021 — same jacket.

I often think about how proud I was of myself for being smaller.

And it feels like a weird dream I got to wake up from.

Where I would feel good about not having to eat as much.

For being tiny enough to curl up in small places.

For being a size small, and occasionally being able to buy an extra small.

For having my hip bone be hard and pointed when I laid on my side.

Thinking that was sexy.

Now my boobs are massive and my belly is soft and quite round and my hips don’t fit comfortably in many chairs.

And I love how my body feels to touch and what I look like naked.

So does my fiancé.

To most people gaining over 80 lbs in 9 months is shocking.

And it is the best thing I could have ever done for every single aspect of my life.

I’m 9 months in.

This journey often takes one to two years or more, to full recovery — and I can feel where I am.

I have gone through the hardest part.

Now it is me continuing to learn from my body, and to keep listening to it.

I can’t tell you what it looks like all the way through (though others have).

But this is what it looks like, for me, 9 months in.

I cannot tell you how many psychological aspects of my being I have analyzed for so many years. How many patterns I have explored and health issues I have tried to figure out that were all actually just related to not eating enough food.

I want to tell you that being bigger is not that scary.

This process was the hardest thing I have ever done and it has also been the best.

I have so much more fun.

The world has more food than it ever has and most of us are living in a state of scarcity.

And it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Demetra Nyx is a guide and teacher of the path of the feminine. You can read more of her writing and learn about her group journeys by going to demetranyx.com.

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This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.