There's So Much More Than Weight To Gain

About a year ago I started thinking about my upcoming wedding. For months I had been thinking about the weight I felt I had to lose before I would be thin enough – and not because of my wedding, but because of my disorder. I felt disappointed in my body whenever I looked in the mirror, though I was thin and a part of me knew it.

I was starting to experience familiar heart pains reminiscent of my last relapse when I had a cardiac event. I searched out my bones and relished in their hard, undeniable presence poking out of my body. I was exhausted and faint, and had to take measures to ensure I wouldn't pass out. I was cold, shaky, irritable and absolutely obsessed with everything that entered or exited my body. My heart rate was slow and my blood pressure was low. Yet, I felt that sense of accomplishment that so many of us have felt at that stage - the physical stuff doesn't matter, it isn't scary because it means you're almost "there".

One day I was at a friend's house and the wedding photos on their wall stuck out. When we had our wedding photos we would hang them on the wall too! My future daughter would look at them and one day wish to be married, to be a beautiful bride like their mom. I remembered my mom when I was younger talking about how she used to be so thin, showing me pictures of herself and saying how much she weighed and how wonderful it was. The last thing I wanted for my children was a picture of me, their mom and role model for womanhood, on the happiest day of her life looking sickly thin. What kind of a message would that send? Look how happy I was and how thin I was! You can be this happy if your chest bones are visible too! Obviously I would never talk about my body or my weight like that but in the society we live in, children can draw these conclusions on their own.

It was on that day that I decided to take my recovery in my hands and gain weight for my wedding - how anti-cliché!

I ended up gaining 10 pounds for my wedding.

I remember feeling self-conscious about the extra fat on my back and face but repeating that it was for my future children and I had done a good thing. Looking back at the photos, I'm quick to point out the flaws but I try to remember that those flaws will one day tell my children that their imperfections are alright! You can be happy AND have back fat!

Since then I've not only gained almost 60 pounds but also a marriage, a relationship based on love not fear, a job, the trust of my loved ones, the ability to laugh and emotionally connect, unbelievable emotional strength and a voice.

There is SO much more than weight to be gained, and there is hope in recovery.

Picture of Claire with her dog.

Claire Phelan is a 27 year-old who has been in recovery from an 11 year battle with her eating disorder for the last 5 years. After losing all hope, she found her footing and discovered the possibility in recovery. Claire is an avid blogger and strives to help others find freedom from their disorders. Check out her website at dearlife.ca.