By Shalini Wickramatilake
My body has changed in recovery.
Not all bodies change in recovery, but some do. Mine has grown.
For me, now that I’m nourishing myself, honoring my body’s needs, and moving only as much as my body wants to, I’m no longer the size and shape that I was prior to starting intuitive eating and movement. I recognize that thin privilege is on a continuum, and that even as my body has grown, it’s been relatively easy for me to accept it because it’s still a body that’s deemed acceptable by society. I’ve been able to go with the flow, taking each new pound and inch in stride.
But then a couple weeks ago I needed something to wear to a wedding, and nothing fit. I had been protected from this situation for the first few months of my recovery because I’d just stuck with leggings and oversized shirts (yes, even to work. Woops).
As I tried on my favorite dresses, I realized that none of them were the right size for my new, healthy body. For several weeks until then, I had been in such a positive mindset and so motivated in my recovery, but as the zipper kept getting stuck on dress after dress after dress, I felt a pang of pain. For the first time in a while, I longed for my old behaviors, my old body. My sick body.
I let myself have a little meltdown. And then, instead of listening to that voice saying that I had “let myself go” and that I needed to use my eating disorder behaviors in order to get my sick body back, I fought back. I kept eating. I didn’t over-exercise. I stayed committed to my recovery. I remembered that a momentary sense of control won’t give me anything useful in the long run.
I reminded myself that my healthy body isn’t wrong. My sick body wasn’t the body that’s meant for me. My body is meant to be whatever size it is when I nourish it appropriately and move it intuitively.
It’s hard growing, changing. It hurts sometimes. And it’s so normal to long for what was.
But I am so much happier here. Eating, laughing, dancing, resting.
I’m so much happier living.