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  • Inwardly Renewed

UPDATES & ANSWERS (I think...)



Hi!!


Yep, it’s been a long time!


I still get lots of messages and blog views so I decided it was time for an update on my recovery and how it’s going! I also have recently gotten a few answers as to why my recovery went the way it did and wanted to share it in case yours is similar and it can be helpful!


First things first…..


How am I??? Am I still recovered???


YES! Why yes I am :)


I entered treatment in December of 2015. It is now June of 2024. It has been 8 going into 9 years since I made the decision to recovery from anorexia and exercise bulimia. STILL. HANDS DOWN. THE BEST. DECISION. I. EVER. MADE.


Was recovery hell? 100%. Honestly, it may be the hardest thing I have ever gone through and I’m 40. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It was still worth it though because I live a life of freedom from the pain and prison of anorexia and over exercise.


Would I consider myself fully recovered now? For the most part, yes! I eat freely, I don’t over exercise, I have good and bad body image days like normal people and am pretty dang solid emotionally, spiritually and mentally.


My husband and I adopted two beautiful children in 2022 and I’m living life as a toddler mom (which is almost as draining as recovery haha), photographer when I have the time, which is rare and a piano teacher.


I just went on a missions trip to France recently, I still play keys at my church and honestly, my life is full and for the most part great!


So for those wondering if a relapse has happened? The answer is NOPE! I’m just really busy enjoying the life I fought for in recovery.


Now, let's get down to the REAL TALK. Are there things I still struggle with even though I’m doing pretty great? YES.


I still have no control over my weight. It seems that no matter how much I work out, eat healthy (healthy to me means all food fits, not too much, not too little) or normal, my body has never gone back to or even near my normal weight pre-ed. It has been frustrating and painful. No matter how healthy my mind is, how normalized my exercise is or how great my diet is, my body just hasn’t budged much and it’s been really hard.


Living in a “bigger” body can be emotionally and mentally draining. I know I’m not HUGE, but I’m also not my “normal” size and it’s never made sense to me. At times I would have thoughts that I wish I didn’t recover because I was told over-shoot goes away and frankly that has never fully happened. Some has gone, but I have been in the plus size range since recovery, no matter what I’ve tried with-in recovery reason. I always correct myself and lean on the truth that recovered in this body is better then anorexic or dead. It’s still frustrating though.


The reason this is frustrating is mostly that…….drum roll please…… people are A-holes. For real. People suck. They are judgy, rude and just because I recovered doesn’t mean that everyone else is now body neutral, anti-diet talk and accepting that bodies go through things and being bigger doesn’t  always mean you are just lazy and don’t work out or binge pizza.


I still am surrounded by people that believe thinner and leaner are the ultimate goal. That if you eat a carb you are ok as long as you walked it off. That being in a bigger body is the ultimate nightmare and if you aren’t currently trying to be smaller or watching every morsel that enters your mouth you aren’t disciplined. IT IS ANNOYING. Honestly, as a recovered person it is sad to watch. I remember those days and they were so controlling. Also, as much as it’s annoying..it will NEVER make me want to be like that again. So cheers to recovery!


Here is the issue for me…While I’m anti-diet culture, anti over exercise, anti compensation diets, anti being rude to people in bigger bodies..…I still want to be in my normal body and lose my overshoot weight. That thought has NEVER gone away. It’s sticky isn’t it? I am recovered and in the body I’m in, but I always have this sadness that I never went back to what I felt was my normal weight.  Has this stopped me from living in any way? No. That’s why I consider myself recovered. Acceptance doesn't always mean I can't want change. (this took me a LONG time to agree with in therapy). Maybe you disagree, but I can only speak the truth as I see it for me. I wear my bathing suit, go on vacations, shop without crying, get on stage without anxiety attacks, go out to eat without looking up the menu and my body size, food, and mental disorder don’t keep me from doing anything. Yet, I still wish I was in a smaller body or had control over it.


I think there are a few reasons for this.


  1. I live in the society I live in. No matter how recovered I am, I still live where thinner is considered better, prettier, etc. I have watched people lose weight whether it is through exercise, surgery, medication, illness or eating disorder and as long as it’s loss it’s praised. UGH.

  2. I love clothes and real talk, while a lot of places have become size inclusive, most still aren’t and it sucks.

  3. There is something infuriating about not being able to control my weight. To know something is off and wrong, but I don’t know what it is or how to fix it.

  4. Because I can’t control my weight after anorexia and I live in a society that is anti bigger body, I live in this sadness of being judged. Of always wanting to share my story so people know I’m not lazy or just fat. It’s not right, but it’s the truth. I always worry if people see me as the fat one. The one who let herself go. The one that needs to lose a few LBS. I know the truth. I’m recovered and HEALTHY. Yet, it doesn’t stop me from knowing that others don’t always know this and there IS judgement. I know it’s there because they say things…or they say things about other bodies in front of me. IT SIMPLY SUCKS.


The truth is, I think I’m as solid as a person can be after anorexia recovery in a body that never seemed to fully recover.


So that’s my update. I’m doing great! I live my life! I’m actually pretty dang happy other than being a tired mom of two toddlers.


So let's move on to the second part of this that I called ANSWERS.


This part may be triggering. It discusses weight gain, weight loss, new glp1 medications, metabolism and what happened to cause the overshoot I experienced (or at least what my doctors and I think happened.)


If this stuff is not something you should read because of where you are in recovery, please take care of yourself and skip this next section!!! Rememeber I am almost NINE years into recovery so I've put a lot of work into where I'm at to get to this place.


Ok, now let's talk.


I already shared that I’m frustrated with my weight. It never fully went back to normal. It has been annoying to say the very least. I can’t help that I want to feel good in my body again.


Before I move forward though I want to define EXACTLY what feeling good in my body means to me. It is NOT a certain weight or number. It is NOT a certain size. It is NOT so that I can look good for everyone else. (That ship has sailed) It is NOT so I can run a 5k or keep up better with my kids (I’m doing that just fine thanks…I’m tired because I’m 40 with a one and two year old, not because I’m not skinny).


To me feeling good in my body is a confidence that I don’t have health issues. It is knowing that I’m fueling my body and moving it and it responds appropriately. It is no longer hiding in saggy baggy black. It’s about walking into a room and feeling good in my skin and not thinking about what others think.


Part of this is mental. Of course. I’m there mentally. I’ve done the work. I don’t wear certain clothes because I am uncomfortable. I don’t feel fully good yet. Mentally I can do it. I’ve done it. I wear bathings suits and try new things BUT I don’t FULLY feel good and it’s my weight.


Now that I’ve cleared that up….here is the catch…


As a recovered anorexic and exercise bulimic, we have a problem. I want to be in a body that feels good…HOWEVER… I will not restrict food in an unsafe manner or overexercise to get there. I also have reached what I feel for me is acceptance of where I’m it. My body doesn’t hold me back from doing anything I want to do according to my morals, values and participation in life even if I'd like it to be different. Because of that….I’m simply in the body I’m in.


There are a few facts that I know too. I don’t over eat. I have continued to work with a dietician on and off. I’m not and never have been a binger. (No judgement, just facts)I actually eat on the more “clean” side of the spectrum, but don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat pizza and burgers and fries too. All foods fit. But I’m a pretty nutrient dense eater. I move my body. I’m keeping up after two little kiddos. I walk a lot. I go to the gym or an intentional walk  a couple days a week when I can fit it in. I’m what you would think is just plain normal. Doesn’t work out too hard but isn’t sedentary.


So why is my body still bigger and never gone back to normal? Why at times do I continue to gain? Or lose? It makes literally no sense.


THIS has been my biggest problem. It making NO SENSE.


A normal person who has never had an eating disorder can move a little more and lose weight, or party on vacation and gain a few. It balances out. They can control it if they want to, or not.


I can’t. I have no control over my weight after recovery. I know this is controversial but I DO want that control back. Not in a way to abuse it by restriction, starvation and over exercise, or so that I can be so fit and lean so society loves my body (It's a factor butlike 1% to me),  but to know that I’m healthy and my body works. It simply hasn’t worked right since anorexia.


SO….I went searching for answers as to why. I went to doctor after doctor. Some would say eat less. I never would go back to them. I wasn’t eating too much and eating less would be too little. Some would say exercise more and harder. Wouldn’t go back to them either. I wasn’t going to the gym every single day. Not going to happen. I am a mom of two and I need it to fit into my life. (Some of you might be thinking…well there is your problem, you refuse to eat less or work out more, so no wonder you don’t have the body you want.) Well, SUSAN, that would be true if I actually ate too much and didn’t move my body. But the truth is I DO eat very mindfully and I DO move my body. Some would say it’s hormones….had those checked…it’s not. Some thought diabetes….had that checked…not even close to pre-diabetic. There just seemed to be no answers….until I went to my current doctor.


I went to a metabolic specialist at University Hospitals in Cleveland. I’ll call my doctor by name because she is amazing and listens and GETS IT. I had an appointment with Dr. Fetzner and to say I was nervous was an understatement. As an ED recoverer I didn’t want to hear eat less exercise more. I knew that wasn’t working for my body and in fact would make me gain at best and relapse at the worst. I needed someone to REALLY look at my history and figure out what was up. Dr. F did that.


I shared my story with her and she listened. REALLY listened. (I cried a lot) She did a full lab work up on me (which results said I’m in perfect health)  and we sat down and talked. She said my case is rare but she has seen it before, specifically with people with prior ED’s.


My issue….insulin resistance. Very high insulin resistance.


Now, I’ve heard this term before during recovery. I was told that if I continue to eat well and enough, and move normally my body will even out and it will go away. Well…that never happened.


This is how she explained it to me.


When I entered recovery I was very thin and underweight. I had little muscle and almost no fat on my body.


I started re-feeding.


This caused rapid weight gain.That is the point! That rapid weight did not come on in the form of skin, muscle or organs….it’s fat of course. To protect me, to save up to heal.


Within a month I probably went up 10% fat from re-feeding. Maybe more?? That might sound like a lot, but when you have almost NO fat on you it’s really not that much….HOWEVER…this rapid and sudden change in fat can cause insulin resistance.


Insulin resistance now means that my body is NOT taking in the nutrients and using it. Instead it is storing it. I eat…the nutrients break down…insulin is released…my door to take it in and use it for healing and energy stay shut and says NOPE I need to store this for safety. The nutrients get’s turned into fat and boom….off I go.


This does not ALWAYS happen in recovery, but it did to me. Why? Only God has that answer ha.


It’s a real pickle isn’t it? I’m recovering from anorexia so I HAVE to eat more. Eating more caused fat gain. Rapid fat gain caused insulin resistance even though I was still thin. Insulin resistance causes my nutrients to not be used…and it’s a cycle. I gain, it doesn’t get used, I become more insulin resistant, I gain, and so on. I'm stuck.


I’m recovering from exercise bulimia. I’m gaining fat from anorexia recovery, and at the same time I am not to exercise so I can heal.


So tell me….how do you recover from anorexia, exercise bulimia, eat, gain weight and yet reverse insulin resistance which for the most part would take restricting certain food groups and exercising to get the fat off your body and reverse it???


Ya, it’s a true pickle isn’t it.


So the more I recovered, the more insulin resistant I became. Now I have all this excess fat on my body and I can’t get it off because I have high insulin resistance and I won’t restrict, do keto or run sprints every day. I maintain recovery as the most important thing so what the HELL DO I DO???


For a long time I just accepted it. This is my body, it is what it is. But as I said earlier, I’d be lying if it didn’t bother me. It didn’t bother me enough to go back to heavy restriction and exercise, but enough to have real sadness about it and at times anxiety and regret. I can accept it, but I’ve never felt good about it.


Dr. F shared this theory with me and to be honest…it makes perfect sense doesn’t it?


So I asked her what choice do I have?


What I love about Dr. F is she didn’t say…whelp…keto sweetie. Or, hit the gym…it's all you can do.


Nope…she said since restriction and over exercise are out. I’m left with two choices…further acceptance or medication.


To be honest…I think I’ve come as far as I can with acceptance. It’s been almost nine years and I’m living life. I just have this sadness of what happened to my body lingering. Can I accept something and still want it to change. I've wrestled with this. I think the answer is YES. Take it for what it is.


I’ve never tried medication, and what was she talking about?


Well….she was talking about glp-1s. Also know to most as ozempic, wegovy, zepbound, monjauro. You’ve heard of them I’m SURE.



Now….this was triggering for me.


I have to be honest..I wasn’t the biggest advocate of these medications. They didn’t make sense to me. I thought it was a quick fix. People using them as they should for diabetes but I also knew a lot of SAH Moms that were using them for those last five pounds, or people that actually weren’t eating in a healthy way but using it to lose weight while still binging and hurting their bodies.


I try and practice body acceptance and these meds just seemed a little too blurry of a line when it came to ED recovery. After all, isn’t the goal of recovery to accept where we land and be ok with our body? How would taking a medication to make you thinner be in line with the values I have of recovery. How can I tell people to recover and be ok with their bodies but take a medication that would purposely make me lose weight????? I thought it was a very black and white issue for me, until my doctor presented me with my metabolic disorder. Then it suddenly became grey. Can I use this medication to fix my metabolic issue after anorexia, but remain recovered? Can I lose weight and want to lose weight but still remain recovered and body neutral? How much of this is about my metabolic disorder vs just wanting to be in a smaller body and feel good again? I don’t know! What I do know is that I am still unhappy with where I am at physically and the doctor gave me answers as to what happened and possibly how to fix it.


The choices she gave me...


  1. I either exercise a lot and restrict food groups. We agree... NOT AN OPTION

  2. I accept where I am. I’m healthy and my blood work is perfect other than the resistance. She has known many people to never have health issues and the body just stays put with this. An option but I also feel like it’s where I have been the past four years.

  3. I can try medication to lower the amount of fat on my body without food restriction and over exercise to reverse the insulin resistance and get back to a place I feel normal and good. An option! But will I relapse? Is it in line with my recovery values?


This was a big decision for me. I didn’t take it lightly. I prayed a lot about it. I weighed all the pros and cons. I wrestled with my values. What do I believe about weight? Why would I do this? Am I a recovery failure for still wanting to feel good in my body again? What would my recovery family think? Do I care what they think? You name it….I thought about it.


Then…after more discussion with my doctor we made a decision.


I’m going to try it.


Now usually this medication is used for diabetes and binge eating disorder. HOWEVER, it can help in these other cases, like mine, where an ED led to a metabolic disorder.


The plan was this.


  1. I had to go to a psychologist from her practice to assess me and make sure I was ready for any type of weight loss. Our biggest concern was relapse or triggering relapse. No amount of insulin resistance or medication help should end up with my butt back in the slums of anorexia and exercise bulimia.  So they took my eating disorder history very seriously. If they didn’t think I was mentally strong enough, with boundaries and a healthy mindfulness of food and weight, she wouldn’t allow it.

  2. I start at the low dose of the med and maybe only increase it once or twice. Because I don’t binge or have diabetes we need to see how it reacts with my body.

  3. I have to work with my dietician and eat my meal plan. No restriction of calories, food groups or over exercise. I am to not change anything about my diet while on this medication. (This is VERY different than most people on it. Most of the time they are encouraged to restrict carbs and eat a lot less. I am doing the opposite.) The goal of this is so my recovered metabolism will stay high while my body decreases the extra fat on its own through the medication making my insulin resistance stop and hopefully completely reverse and fix my metabolic disorder.

  4. Know this is very very hard and we will stop at any time at the first signs of any ED behaviors. The reason it’s hard??? Well, the medication makes you not as hungry and makes you want to eat less. So I’m suppose to eat normal while my body doesn’t want to. BUT GUESS WHAT?!?! I’ve done that before in recovery, so it’s not something I’m unfamiliar with.


I know that this choice is probably going to be divisive for some in the recovery world. I accept that. I get it. I even wrestle with it.


BUT, I also know that I am allowed to do what is best for me. I know where I am at mentally and emotionally when it comes to food and my body. I take every step of my recovery with careful consideration and a team that supports recovery only. I found a metabolic issue in my body and I want to fix it. I’m going to try to. Would I do this 5 years ago? HELL NO. That would have triggered full relapse. But I’m not that person any more.


So….next blog I’m going to share how it’s going. If I’m losing? If it’s working? If I’m eating? Is it triggering? Have I set boundaries so I don’t relapse?


I don’t know…in a way I feel like a guinea pig for those that had the same thing happen in recovery. Is it possible to fully recover, have this metabolic disorder, fix it and remain recovered? If it works, maybe it can help all of you that have found yourself in the same place too?


I know this….no matter what happens in the next year with this medication….I fought hard to recover from anorexia and exercise bulimia and I’ll be damned if I ever let that go. Relapse is not an option. So I’m exploring different avenues to continue to recover my body from the damage of anorexia and recovery. I’ll take this journey with you all, for accountability but also for hope. I KNOW I’m not the only one out there that recovered and is stuck in a bigger body after recovery wondering what in the H E double hockey sticks happened?


I think we have some answers. I’ll let you know how it goes! All I ask is that you be gentle with me as I journey. I promise to be transparent about the process. My triggers, my fears, my hopes, failures and successes!


Til’ next time!


Xoxo


Sara




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1 comentario


sayhi
04 jul

I just want to say this post was really helpful, as have your others over the years. I've been "wondering what in the H E double hockey sticks happened" to me too. I'm four years recovered in a body that is not anywhere near my snapping weight of the past, and some of the symptoms of insulin resistance (frequent urination, vaginal and skin infections, slow-healing cuts and sores) are enough to make me go investigate this too. I hope this is a useful line of inquiry for you and that we both get to places our bodies feel comfortable at. Thanks for being vulnerable and honest in a space where doing so is really, really hard.

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