i-have-gained-and-lost-100

I have gained and lost 100 pounds
a few times
Up and down, down and up
My body has stretched
and shrunk rapidly
More than I knew
it could
Definitely more
than I ever wanted it to

To those who have never
had their weight fluctuate dramatically
it is hard for me to try and explain
what it’s like to be the same person
in so many different bodies

And it is really hard to explain
what it’s like
to have people treat you
completely differently
based solely
on how they see you
and your body

I remember
arriving at college
painfully slim
eager to please
and hungry

And I remember
when my best friend
passed away unexpectedly
just a few months
into my freshman year
finding myself eating
out of garbage bins

I put on 30 pounds that month
I couldn’t stop eating
I would stuff my face quite literally
till I was so full I would pass out
almost blacking out
from a food coma
and the pain of being so full
and so empty
simultaneously

I have been so thin
I could only shop
in the children’s section
for pants that fit me
And I have been so big
I could no longer fit into a size 16

It is not a fallacy
that people treat people differently
based on how they see them
and what they make that mean

I remember walking down
the hallways of my college dorm
50 pounds heavier than I had been that fall
and people who once greeted me gleefully
pretending not to see me at all

I was bigger
taking up more space
and felt invisible

When I was smaller
I would hear the whispers
the judgements
the speculations
and was constantly being questioned
about what I ate
And I was often celebrated
and attacked
in the same breath
by women who wanted to know
“my secret”

I haven’t weighed myself in 5+ years now
I plan to never weigh myself again
My weight has stabilized
drifting up and down a little
seasonally
But it’s so important to note
that weight
is not
an indication of healing
not necessarily
often not at all
I didn’t know what my body would look like
when I finally stopped starving, binging and purging
I had to trust it would find its way
and that was the hardest deep breath
I ever had to take

As I got healthier
I gained weight
And I remember sitting on the floor
of the bathroom
often
willing myself
not to purge

It was so hard
especially as people started commenting
on my weight gain
assuming I was binging
when I was actually eating less
than I had in years

I do want to stress that
someone’s weight
tells you very little about their relationship with food
There can be such a wide range of reasons
psychological, emotional, mental, hormonal, biological
for why someone’s weight
is what it is

I have been told
I looked “average” and “normal”
even “very healthy”
when I was secretly purging
60 times a day

I have been told I was too thin
when I was eating plenty
but was just so lit up by life
and in love with everything
I was rapidly burning off
everything that crossed my lips

In this picture
I was eating no more than 1,200 calories a day
and working out an hour a day
But my body was so freaked
it refused to drop
even the littlest bit of weight
It was sick of my abuse
and simply refused
to shift even a little

We do not know what someone “should” weigh
We do not know anything
about what is going on for a person
internally
just by looking at them

And we aren’t doing anyone a favor
by judging them
telling them how they should be different
or assuming we know
what is healthy for them

“Tough love” when it comes to body size
is often just a backhanded way
to make shaming okay
And as far as I am concerned
body shaming is never okay
Not to mention
it never actually helps people
get where they want to go
even if they do want to change
The road will always inform the destination

So my suggestion:
Get curious instead
with those around you
and yourself

Our challenges with food and body
are a doorway into
what might really be going on
They’re not something getting in our way
They are the way

And in my experience
they are presenting
for exquisitely tender reasons

reasons that might otherwise be missed
in the business of our day to day

Be gentle
Be kind
Be generous
Be smart

This is how we get to the heart of the matter
always with love and respect
for infinite mystery

I know for one
the girl in this picture
would have so appreciated
a question
instead of
endless assumptions

I imagine often
how different my twenties
would have been
if I knew what I know
now
and if I had been
questioned sincerely
instead of told often
that something was wrong with me

I suppose in many ways
if not all ways
this is why I share in the way I do
so those like me
don’t start thinking
they are crazy too

We do things for a reason
you and me
and there is nothing wrong with you
for reacting
and taking care of yourself
in the ways you know how to

It just might be time to do things
a little differently
if you are wanting something different

Be willing to go deep my friends
Be willing to do the work

And learn to love
the beautiful mystery
that is your body

❤ Emily Joy Rosen

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Emily Rosen is the co-owner and CEO of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating where she oversees business development strategies, student affairs, marketing and public relations, and keeps a pulse on the fields of eating psychology and nutrition to ensure the Institute’s position as a leader worldwide. Emily makes things happen. Her passion for health and transformation has provided her the opportunity to speak and present internationally and be at the forefront of a new generation of women leaders committed to making a heartfelt difference in the world. Her tireless work and faithful commitment have touched the lives of millions of fans and followers worldwide.