Thursday, 19 September 2013


I saw Mary on Tuesday
Tuesday is weigh day
I would have happily eaten my own foot than go to that appointment
I had stopped weighing myself as home but after being sick curiosity got the better of me and I weighed on Sunday
Somehow even though I ate next to nothing for 4 days
Somehow even though I slept for most of that time
Somehow even though I neither binged or purged in that time
I gained weight
This is hard to take because no part of me willingly participated in this gain
I decided to go to the appointment but politely refuse to be weighed
Yes, good idea Ruby

When the time came and she invited me to step on to the scale, I said 'No thank you'
I explained that my delicate mental state could not handle big horrible numbers right now
We talked for a long time and somewhere along the way I heard myself agreeing to be weighed
To prevent myself having a total meltdown I didn't look
But of course I was dying to know
It's like putting your hand on a hot stove
You know you shouldn't but you touch it anyway

Mary asks me what is so terrible about weigh gain
It's hard to explain
It has nothing to do with how I look
In my eyes I look fat whatever weight I am so it's not that
I tell her that I don't want to regain to a healthy weight and still feel anorexic on the inside
I have been there before and very nearly went insane
A couple of years ago I gained weight and reached my all time high weight
Even though I was still a healthy weight I still felt anorexic inside
People saw I looked ok and presumed I was ok
But I felt worse than ever
It's like I want my appearance to match how I feel inside
To give a visual clue of what is going on in my head
We talked about mental illness and how it's invisible
In fact anorexia is probably the only mental illness that manifests itself physically
Having an invisible illness in incredibly frustrating
If you have a broken arm people can see it
They can see you are in pain
They can empathize
They can ask you about it
But with mental illness no would ever know unless you told them and lets face it who wants to admit that they are depressed or bipolar or bulimic

I told Mary how my doctor said to me that I look well
I can't tell you how much I hate hearing those words
'You look well'
'You look good'
It's like a knife in the gut
To someone with an ED telling them they look well translates to 'You look healthy'
Which translated to 'You've put weight on'
Which translates to 'You are fat'
I know the person saying this means well
They think they are giving you a compliment
I understand that
I've done it myself
But I don't comment on anyone's appearance anymore
You just don't know how they're going to interpret it

The session with Mary is an hour and a half long and I'm exhausted when I get out
I see my father later that day and can't help but ask him if I've gained weight
He says no
I tell about the gain
I tell him I can't understand it
Then I remember back to March when I was in hospital
I gained weight then too and then suddenly lost it all
What is the common factor between then and now?
I wasn't purging
After realising this I spent yesterday eating and purging
More to test the theory than anything else
And this morning I had lost most of the weight I had gained
This is a hard pill to swallow
Knowing this makes it even more difficult to get the purging under control
I just don't know where to go from here

I can't even fully explain why gaining weight terrifies me so much
I guess it's symbolic
Of getting well
Of growing up
Of letting the past go
Of taking responsibility for my life
Of taking control of my life
Of being ready to recover
Of being normal
Of being average
So many things that I don't know if I'm ready for

Words aren't coming easily these days so instead of writing about myself I want to throw the floor over to you

Have you regained weight?
What have you found the most difficult thing about it?
If you have regained to a healthy weight, what helped you come to terms with it?
If you are underweight what is stopping you from gaining weight?
Are your reasons the same as mine?
Please do let me know


  1. Yes, I have definitely gained weight. I got down to 129 restricting this summer and when I decided it was time to get myself together or I was going to be lower and a wreck by school, I started lifting. I'm now up to 145. All of that is muscle and I've lost body fat. My first two pinch tests were really hard for me to keep it together because you see the scale go up but it's all about what the numbers as a whole calculate to be. It was really hard for me to redefine how I saw myself and accept myself, which is still a work in progress. Strength is much more beautiful to me now and I don't find myself thinking skinny girls are beautiful anymore no look for muscle definition. When you lift weights you have to work on your mental toughness too and it's just good therapy, challenging your self doubt in order to overcome. That's definitely what has helped save me. There's probably obsession going that way now but I would rather be obsessed with health than death. I also enjoy that I can eat like a horse. Your body needs the calories to sustain the muscle you gained so it's nice AND my friends have said in conversation that I must be 125-130, being dead serious, so that's nice. I get to eat a ton and still look small but fit. Better trade off.

    It comes down to you. You can say you know you don't want to live like this but what it takes is for you to do something about it. My friends were getting married and getting real jobs and here I was, afraid. It hurt my pride and made me scared. I'm sure you gained because of lack of fluids from purging. Water retention is a big thing. Gotta put water in to push it out. I understand the whole not wanting to be healthy while having the mentality. It's life though, you know? We're all hiding something under here. I know you can do it, you just gotta escape yourself, the doubting side. Do something that makes YOU feel beautiful and confident. Best advice I have. Mine is lifting. What's yours? Good luck dear. Lots of love!

    1. That's great Eve
      I'm glad you are in a place where your life is not dictated by the numbers on a scale
      Mary said yesterday that the number on a scale doesn't tell you muscle or fluid weight
      Logically I know this but I still let these numbers have power over me

      You seem to have really turned things around very quickly and that is amazing
      I know what you mean when you look at your friends
      It seems that everyone is having babies and getting married at the moment
      I know that I can't have any of that if I stay this way
      So why isn't it easier to change?

      You are right strength and confidence are much more attractive than skin and bone
      Now I just need to get that in to my head

      Thanks for this

      Love to you too x

    2. I feel myself getting anxious for my pinch tests still. I'm always paranoid that my days I didn't eat clean will have raised my body fat percentage and that I'll have lost muscle while gaining fat. I'm really, really trying to get that under control. You are so right when you say it's hard to not let numbers dictate your life. I'm trying to let the numbers in pounds I can push and pull be an indication of progress. Such a difficult, uphill task. Sometimes you just have to continue to repeat the logical things to yourself. What you think about continually is what you internalize and so you have to try to internalize the good and let go of the bad.
      Actually, just two days ago I was eating lunch down with a few friends and I had a huge plate and one of them looked at me very seriously and said, "It's so good to see you eating now."
      Part of me internally freaked out and the other part felt good because she was relieved about me and not concerned. It was a different kind of achievement.

      Yes, I really have. I thank God for that though. I have a much healthier relationship now as well and he's very supportive and aware of my ED and abuse and all that since we've been friends for 7 years. He's actually seen me when I was my sickest, even if he didn't know what was going on. The other half of that was really just an attitude change and attempting to challenge the beliefs I held about myself. It's amazing, the strength we all posses. I want you to find yours. I was also thinking that I hope you don't think I come off as bossy or something. I'm just blunt and honest and I do care about about you. :D

    3. No I don't think you are bossy or blunt
      I would prefer you to be honest
      I worry about that too sometimes, that I come across as blunt but I think people appreciate honesty, I know I do
      I think a true friend will tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear

      I am truly happy for you Eve
      I know you weren't happy
      It gives me hope that I can turn things around for me too

      Keep at it girl

      So much love to you x

  2. You are going to have to change those thoughts and bask in the compliment when someone says, "you look good." When someone says this you should be proud! Good luck, keep working.

  3. My heart breaks for you Ruby. I read your blog but I don't comment because I don't have any useful advice for you. I'm struggling with mental disorders myself ("who wants to admit that they are depressed or bipolar or bulimic" < truth) and I intentionally eat unhealthy food when I'm depressed. It becomes a never-ending cycle and I can't seem to get out.

    Anyway, I was going to link you to a girl I met that might be able to help (I just blogged about her) but I saw that Eve said pretty much everything I learned from Kayla's Joy: do something that makes you feel good in body/mind/spirit and keep at it. I've heard a million different people say that exercise gives you the confidence to overcome those obstacles. There has to be some truth in that, eh?

    Either way, I hope you can find the strength and support to get through this. Stay strong!

    1. Hey Chris

      Thanks for the link to Kayla's Joy, I just checked it out and I'll definitely go back
      Yes, I know people who have used exercise in a healthy way to help them recover
      I think there's definitely some truth in that

      Thanks for your kind words x

  4. Hey Hun, if you have read my posts which I know you have, you will know how sickening the comments are to me too. I suppose it comes from someone taking a visibly communicative disease and then deciding to comment in the physical appearance and believing this translates to a state of health. i feel like screaming when people do it to me, they judge you from your worst point and assume because you aren't there that this disease has gone away. when someone has cancer something someone can't see, may look 'well' initially but inside they are very ill. Hearing comments like that Is the most triggering, hurtful, disgusting thing to hear. I guess the thing is with the purging as I have read before it can also make you gain- it doesn't always make you lose and the thing that you lose, if you do sometimes lose is water, which the body tries to replenish. I know how hurtful the weight gain can be, it's like confirmation that you have actively tried to put on weight even when you haven't or that you are a freak of nature with something wrong with you. In honesty purging is dangerous territory I wish I had never gotten into it, weight loss and gain was easier to understand in a purely restrictive mode, for me anyway, purging complicates a lot,of things. Did you explain to Mary about the weight gain and question why it had happened? Did she have any answers? Sending you love and immunity from the thoughts that other people trigger in us.
    Remember Ruby, most of them have no idea! My GP said something similar to me on Monday and surface to say I ended up purging.

    1. Hey V

      Yes unfortunately I know you understand how horrible it can be to get a comment like this
      I know people mean well and would probably never say if if they knew the effect that it has on us
      I avoid commenting on anyone's appearance now, I just don't go there

      Yes, purging really makes weigh loss and gain difficult to deal with
      It really messes with my head
      I am back in the binge purge cycle now, it sucks

      Hope you are doing ok my dear x

    2. Sorry to hear you are back in the cycle be careful if your potassium drips too low and they do an I fusion you can get massive rehydration weight. Dd Mary have any explanation for the weight gain that seemed so out of character to you? I thought maybe it was from stopping the enemas, which can cause severe dehydration! I am not doing great and haven't posted in a while but picking myself up. Tomorrow is a new day, lets both try and start again? Take care of you. Xxx

    3. Mary did say that it was probably fluid
      She did go in to a long biological reason but I was finding it hard to hear anything after she told me what I had gained

      Yes, I noticed that you hadn't posted in a while
      I hope you are ok
      And yes, let's both start over tomorrow
      As Scarlett O Hara said, 'After all tomorrow is another day'

      Take care of you too x

    4. We can 'Get honest' with this eating disorder together, (sorry title of my blog post). So pleased to see that you have so many comments from people to support you here, you are not alone. I just wish we could have the foresight of answers and explanations before experiencing this stuff. Xxx

    5. It's so great to get this feedback and see what helps people get through weight restoration
      I'm glad that I'm not alone feeling this way so I'm so glad that I wrote this post

      Going to check out your post now x

  5. Oh Ruby, this post spoke to me so much, as do so many of your posts. I have just left a therapy session where 'weight restoration' was discussed as being 'our' aim. And this post described where I am at entirely, and explains to me why I am so resistant, reluctant, unwilling etc to gain weight. I'm sorry this isn't a very helpful comment, I just wanted you to know that your post really touched me. cx

    1. I am glad but also sad that you can identify
      I wouldn't wish these feelings on anyone
      Weight restoration is such a mine field
      It's the aspect of this illness that I find so hard

      If you would like to contact me privately don't hesitate
      I'm only an email away

      Hang in there x

    2. Thank you, and I puppy and my mum are my main drivers each day...expect an email soon from someone who sadly shares some experiences, but happily shares others x

    3. I'll look forward to hearing from you x

  6. When you first stop purging, there is definitely some weight gain. But then it goes away eventually. I promise! I know it's hard to gain weight. And I can definitely relate to the feeling of shame and annoyance when someone says "you look well."
    But you can't let how awful you feel about your ED stop you from gaining. Gaining is a step towards recovery, even if it is a tiny tiny step. Your ED will be with you no matter what weight you are. Recovery can come only when you're not emaciated.
    There are people who understand how hard this journey is, and how it doesn't get better just because you look a certain way. Find those people and cling to them, not the rest of the world that doesn't know any better.

    1. I'm trying Emily to be rational and not lose the plot over this gain
      I know I have to at some point loosen the reigns on my weight
      But you are right I need to stick with the people who understand and know what's what
      I just hate feeling misunderstood
      I hate how mental illness is misunderstood
      But I can't let that stop me from recovering x

  7. I've regained weight. Early 2011, I was sectioned and went inpatient, followed by outpatient. I gained back to my set weight, though I can't say I chose to. After hospitalization was no longer a looming threat, I went backwards even faster.
    I think one of the big reasons I don't want to gain weight is simply that I don't want to gain life. When I was at a healthy weight, I became actively suicidal, not just this passive-deathwish stuff. In a way it keeps me sane.

    Why is it always the doctors who tell us we look well?! They must think it's actually a compliment, something we'll feel good about. I read a quote recently, about only sick people being disappointed by being healthy. I can understand that you don't want to look healthy until you are healthy. It's frustrating to have invisible illnesses, especially when they run rampant inside.

    I'm sorry to hear the scales have thrown you so much. They are really evil little things. I think it'd take more than a few days for things to balance out after you stop purging, but I know it's hard to stick it out.

    I saw a little something for you when I ventured out of the house the other day. Could I send you a little parcel? A belated birthday present?

    Love you dear Ruby. Massive hugs to you <3 xxxx

    1. It really is difficult Bells
      I can relate to that quote you mentioned
      Part of me doesn't want to be healthy
      When I see people in the chemist buying all these health supplements and things I just can't understand it
      It must say a lot about me that I welcome ill health
      That is so very messed up

      The gain wouldn't be so rough if I had actively participated in it
      But I didn't
      Not one little bit

      Oh Bells that is so sweet, I would just love that!
      I can email you my address if you like
      Thank you so much for thinking of me

      Love you too my dear Bells x

  8. After getting to my lowest earlier this year and my GP threatening hospitalization, I have now put on weight. But not the healthy way. Mostly through binging horrendous amounts food. Partially to escape, but I think mostly to punish myself. So now the Doctor and parents are happy with my weight gain but I am feeling lower and more guilty and desperate than ever. I'm ashamed of putting on this weight (something that I needed to do to get healthy) because I have even made that into something unhealthy and damaging, through the endless binges.

    I feel completely eating disordered in my head. Because I have been fighting on and off towards recovery for the last year, I have lost all control. I used to be able to lose weight quickly, control my intake, exercise manically etc. But now I've just lost all control. I binge, restrict, exercise, fast, in an completely messed up and confusing way. There's no order, no control, no strategies. The demons are still screaming in my head constantly, but I no longer have the comfort of physically controlling it. It's hard to explain, but just so horrible. And because I'm in a healthy weight range, I 'must' be doing ok.

    I feel like this road towards recovery is the loneliest and scariest of all. You no longer have the comfort and control strategies that you used to have, and yet, in your head the battle still rages on. It's a hopeless place.

    Lots of love Ruby. Take care of yourself xxx

    1. Destiny thank you for such honest words
      You know I was where you are now a couple of years ago
      I regained all the weight I had lost
      People presumed that because I looked ok that I was ok
      But that couldn't have been further from the truth
      I was an anorectic walking around in a healthy persons body
      I really though that I was going insane
      I look at photos from that time and I cringe

      You are at a really difficult place
      But your illness is no less serious because you have gaiined weight
      People just don't understand that and it's so frustrating to be misunderstood

      I do believe that your head will catch up with your body though
      It may take time but it will

      Hang in there Destiny, you are precious x

  9. Ruby,
    Thanks for sharing how it is for you. It is a strength to write about things when they are tough.

    "Have you regained weight?"....yes I have. But I'm only in the low end of what is considered the "healthy range" for my build. I feel like I'd be healthier (warmer, stronger etc), if I had a few more pounds. I do have real digestive problems that make nourishing myself difficult. I am working on it with a naturopath doctor.

    "What have you found the most difficult thing about it?"....Since I don't believe I have the characteristic of anorexia that you do, I don't have difficult with the idea weight gain, or my numbers or having curves etc. I do have a bunch of reactions to having more food in my digestive system. I had to come to terms with the discomfort from just having more food. And distinguish that from the discomfort from the digestive ailments. And to find solutions for the real digestive problems. (for example I have low stomach acid production and a heital hernia in the top of my stomach so some of my discomfort is not from the eating disorder but real pain.)Does that make sense? Talking to the doctor about this helps me distinguish.The biggest help has been to be very GRADUAL in how much I've increased my food quantity. I don't count calories or grams I just added more food in very small increments. And getting treated for the real pain is helping. Maybe that is a little off track from your question.
    what else is hard for me is the bloating, the lethargy and the lack of mental clarity that seems to descend on me AFTER I eat.

    "If you have regained to a healthy weight, what helped you come to terms with it?" Doing it very gradually. Even when I was still bingeing and purging regularly, I'd make sure to eat one meal that I didn't purge. I felt like a hypocrite because I was eating and keeping it in but other food I would purge. In the long run it is what made the difference. When I say gradual I mean really gradual, really tiny steps. The other important part is no matter what I'd keep that one meal down and I'd give myself permission for that meal to be real small and "safe". Then when I could keep to that routine, I'd adding a tiny bit more food to it. It's the consistency that worked for me. Though I'm not all better....I weigh enough to be out of the viscious cycle of bingeing and purging daily and being in hell with it.

    "If you are underweight what is stopping you from gaining weight?"...The main thing is digestive problems that I mentioned above. I don't have body dismorphia and I want a bit more weight.

    I hope I didn't write too much.
    Sending love and respect.

    1. Thanks Gel for this, it really helped me
      It's good to know that I am not the only one who feels this way about gaining
      Sometimes I feel Like I am so shallow that I care so much what I weigh but I know it's part of the illness

      I think gaining gradually would be ideal and that's why this rather big jump s hard to accept
      I am inching ever closer towards a healthy weight and like you Mary thinks it's realistic for me to aim for a low but healthy BMI

      No you didn't write too much at all, I really appreciate you sharing your experience so thank you so much x

  10. Hi Ruby, I'm a "lurker" :)
    I've battled with an ED for over 20 yrs and this year finally weight restored. It is HARD and I thought once I'm done battling this ED life will be so much better and I'll be so much happier and everything will fall into place. I would BE someone.

    But I'm struggling. I'm "seen" now. I take up space.
    I get angry I can't seem to restrict anymore... I've "lost my touch".
    Now I have to face myself. Get to know myself.

    It can often times be overwhelming to be "present". Not numbed by ED.

    I feel quite mixed. Relieved to have the ED out of my life, that I admit, but confused about how to manage life without it.
    Much more difficult than anticipated.

    Having said all that, the grueling process of gaining, accepting a newer, healthier shape, the daunting task of buying new clothes in a larger size...learning to become a new, healthier person... wouldn't change all that hard work for a minute. It's worth it. And I'll fumble through and find my niche I imagine. Recovering is a long and complex process!

    But being healthier now is much better than spending each and every minute of each and every day planning around food/exercise/purge. My brain feels free and it feels a bit liberating!
    I'd love for you to feel this, too, Ruby.
    You are so worth it.
    You have inner strength that can and will see you through this!

    1. Thank you so much for this comment
      I'm glad that reached out and it really helped me to read this

      I know that feeling that you've 'lost your touch'
      I used to be able to go for days without eating and lose weight very quickly
      But now that I am getting older my body just won't tolerate that any more
      I also know that feeling of taking up more space, that you are bigger than everyone else

      Gaining is such a tricky thing
      Buying new clothes, getting used to a new shape is scary
      But I'm so glad to read that the positives out weigh the negatives for you
      That is reassuring

      It is a long process and I am so impatient
      I want it all now even though I know it doesn't work that way

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment
      You are welcome here anytime x

  11. Ruby, I have never been underweight... just the opposite and even though I have lost a great deal of weight, I don't really see it... it is so odd how we see ourselves...

    I have people stopping and dropping their jaws at how I look, I look in the mirror and I still see what I was..hmmm

    I don't know what to tell you, I wish so much that I did Ruby... but nothing and no one could get me to eat healthy and exercise but me... So even though I don't really see it, I keep going... I want to see it one day.

    I hope you want to see what really being healthy is one day too... you are right about mental illness, it is something people don't really see and don't understand... yet it is so terrible to deal with... I pray for you and I send out positive vibes for you all the time. You are such a talented woman :)

  12. "Having an invisible illness in incredibly frustrating"




Thank you for leaving some love x