Body Change During and After Recovery is Okay!
As many already know, nutrient deprivation can cause weight loss, and while weight fluctuation is normal, chronic deprivation can have significant negative consequences on both the body and the mind. This is why weight restoration and maintenance is crucial as the body has a natural resting place or in other terms a set point. This can be referred to as the weight range where both the mind and body comfortably settle and function optimally. Once at this point, it is safe to maintain this weight while ensuring that the body’s needs are met nutritionally and you are ready to find your freedom from disordered behavior.
What challenges may arise?
Firstly, physical discomfort is one of the more common symptoms of recovery. With the guidance of a Dietitian, gradual increase in calories will occur and with this it is normal to feel under the weather, but this does not mean there is anything wrong with you. If symptoms persist, please speak with your Dietitian or Physician as they can help manage several of the accompanying symptoms. However, trusting the process and continuing through with your meal plan will be the best for your recovery. It all comes down to energy, the more energy you consume through food the more energy available to help with restoration and repair.
This can even be said with fluid shifts as the body becomes rehydrated, fluid accumulation around the face, arms, and legs are normal and important. For many, this will redistribute naturally and discomfort will subside. Hang in there! All bodies are different and beautiful in their own way. Furthermore, with restoration change can be scary and cause increased anxiety, depression, and guilt. These emotions and feelings are real, do not dismiss them and be sure to talk them through with a licensed therapist. Your feelings are valid, and deserve to be heard.
Once restoration is met, much of it is likely to accumulate in the midsection. This is normal, and it is crucial to take it one step at a time. Reason being, the body is creating a protective layer around your essential organs before finding its natural set point and redistributing over time. Time can be one of the hardest pieces, but trust the process and be sure to talk it out with your practitioners.
How to handle poor body image?
There is not a perfect way to restore, nor is there a pace to match throughout recovery. However, the quicker you work towards your ‘set point’, the more time you can work with your treatment team to find peace with your body and food. It is valid to feel overwhelmed especially if this process happens much quicker than you are ready for and can result in an increase in anxiety. However, this is why a strong treatment team is crucial.
It is not fair to say that everyone will love their body at the end of recovery, because perfection is NOT the goal. However, finding a neutral place with your body not only will help alleviate anxiety but also help to form your new recovery identity and welcome your next chapter in life.