I Practiced Self-Love and Gained 10 Pounds—How I'm Finally Learning Balance



It’s not out of the ordinary for me to write about my past issues with food. There's something safer about the ability to stylize my thoughts once I've conquered them and moved on. It's far less tidy to engage in a conversation about my current struggle—with ends left untied and no pretty, body-positive bow wrapped around my sentiments. But I'd go as far as to say perhaps that's the beauty in all of this. That we can write about our bodies when we're feeling strong and fearless just as candidly as we do when our thoughts are astray.

For me, it's a never-ending battle. I'll never be done worrying about food or trying to keep my disordered thoughts under control. But I try my best, with each passing day, to classify what's real and what parts of me are delusions.

In this case, a devotion to "self-love" (i.e. not counting calories, allowing myself to indulge, and forgoing healthy foods for heavier, comforting ones) has had a less-than-favorable result on my body. Over the last year or so, I decided enough was enough—I was going to eat what I wanted and silence the passenger-side demons telling me I had to restrict myself. A diet I'd once called balanced (one I previously worked so hard to streamline) was now reckless, with a devotion to "not giving a fuck" over all else. I mistook real hunger for my cravings to be "normal," as a person who doesn't have to care about what food she eats or how she looks to be happy.

Then, I gained 10 pounds. All of my hard-earned, expertly honed acceptance flew right out the window, and I began to feel helpless. That's the thing about progress. It can stagnate and regress in mere moments. One mirror check, tight pair of jeans, or unflattering photo and poof—it's gone. At first, I didn't mind. I knew I'd gained weight, but I've come to familiarize myself with a body that often fluctuates. But as time went on, I found myself more and more frustrated with the way I looked, indulging for the sake of it. My intimate moments were spent picking myself apart, relinquishing the compassion I'd found after years of merciless scrutiny. I finally stepped on the scale as my own tipping point, hoping that seeing the number would quiet my fears and put me back in the driver's seat of my own recovery. It didn't. Right there, in plain black and white, was a number I didn't plan to see. Though, rather than fall back into an age-old spiral, it forced me to confront what had happened. I'd let go of a hatred for my body while also washing away the lessons I'd learned in the process. I needed to find balance again and treat my body with respect—which means making health a priority again.

So I made a plan to get myself back to a place I'm comfortable with—both physically and mentally. Below, I outline what I've been doing to try to regain my stability because the journey to wellness, self-care, and body acceptance is winding and constantly oscillating.