I gained 20 pounds in two months and this is what happened…

So click-baity. Sorry guys, couldn’t help myself.

These past two months have been super stressful for me. Among studying for the GRE and applying for nursing school, my fall semester of classes has started. The pressure is on, and I am totally reminded of why I only applied to two undergrad schools when I was in high school…it’s draining. I’m exhausted and emotionally void. The anxiety of “am I getting in or am I getting rejected” is overwhelming, to say the least, and the prospect of not getting into any schools crowds my mind more than I’d like to admit.

In short, I’m stressed as fuck.

TW: Disordered Eating

Apparently, I am a creature of extremes. As I mentioned before, I am an ambivert, but rarely do I ever feel right in the middle. I’m either in the mood to be SUPER introverted or in a stage to be SUPER extroverted, but never “meh”. With this shit ton of stuff I’m currently dealing with, I’m either SUPER stressed or SUPER calm. Again, never in the middle.

In the process, I’ve let myself a go little.

…okay, a lot. Which should be normal and okay for this particular moment in my life, right? I mean, I’m pursuing my SECOND chance at a career when I majorly screwed up in undergrad. I’m constantly on the edge–what’s my backup plan if I don’t get into school this round? Do I change careers? Do I keep building on my resume and reapply until I get in? What do I do?

And so, in true Rachel fashion, I turn to extremes. Over the summer, I dealt with my stress by overcompensating in exercise. I lost 10 more pounds, I was in the best shape of my life, I never looked more confident, but I was miserable inside. My friends would invite me out and I would turn them down, just to sit in my room and watch movies because think of all of those drinking calories. I would accidentally binge some days and immediately go for a 10 mile run to burn off the excess calories.

In short, I had some serious issues.

from hiking and daily running…

But then something happened. One day, I just got sick of it. I got sick of the charade, I got sick of caring too much. So one day, I binged and let myself enjoy the food. I thought to myself, “I’m going to enjoy the next couple of days and get right back into it.” So I did. I binged and I was happy. But I never quite bounced back.

Instead, I rediscovered my love of comfort food. I had spent a year carefully planning what I ate. In contrast, the ability to choose whatever I wanted to eat, whenever I wanted to eat, was satisfying. I’d eat a whole box of oreos and think, “FUCK our media’s beauty standards!” I’d eat half a box of pizza and think, “I don’t care what anyone thinks!”

Sure, I was happy at first. It’s relieving to let go of social pressure to be thin, to not harshly criticize myself under the warm ambience of my bedroom light. It was nice to avoid the scale. Again, true to my extremes, instead of major restriction, I was letting myself revel in gluttony. And it was okay at first. But then it spiraled out of control. I started eating 2000 calories a day….then 3000…then 4000. All the while telling myself it was okay because I was going to exercise and eat better the next day. All while telling myself that it was okay as long as I loved myself.

…to this. Which tbh looks delicious.

As long as I love myself.

I really reflected on that one day, as I was feeling major guilt and stuffing my face with 2000 calories of food that I didn’t need. That’s the problem, isn’t it? No matter how fat or skinny I feel, I still haven’t quite learned how to love myself. Maybe those extra 2000 calories made me feel happy for 20 minutes, but I spent the next 20 hours upset at myself. Not because I ate, but because I ate when I didn’t want to and I didn’t know why. I was learning to rely on food to comfort me in the same way that I’d spent so many years relying on someone to comfort me instead of facing my issues head on.

In short, I still have issues. But at least I know what I need to work on.

I started eating better and exercising again two weeks ago. I’m eating healthy but also allowing myself room for mistakes…because it’s all about balance. It’s not about eating 1000 calories and not being good enough, and it’s not about eating 4000 calories and feeling gluttonous. It’s about accepting self-love and the delicate balance that comes with it.

It’s hard work, but I’m getting there, for sure.

** I know there will be some concerned readers and I am so grateful for that. Please know that I have seen a therapist for a year/currently looking for a new therapist. I have not been diagnosed with a specific eating disorder but we are definitely tracking my “disordered eating”. I am aware of a problem and doing what I can to fix my issues. Thanks in advance for your kindness and understanding. <3 **


4 thoughts on “I gained 20 pounds in two months and this is what happened…

  1. I too fluctuate from one end to the other, and have been looking for the “Comfortable Middle” for a long time. I don’t think I go to the extremes as you do, but when I’m “on the roll,” I can keep to schedule, meal prep, eat really well, exercise 4 times a week, and run races on the weekends. When I’m NOT on a roll… Well… I just keep eating and feeling shitty about myself, because most of the time I eat, I’m not even hungry.
    I’ve let myself go too this fall, and was at a “well, any calorie is good calorie! I need calories!” mentality because I started chemo, and for the first few weeks, I was too nauseous to eat half the week. Well, that mentality definitely snow balled and I’ve been eating shit left and right for the past few months to the point I feel gross inside and out.
    I’ve also read the book “Beauty Sick” recently, and have gotten to the “realization” that I need to love my body the way it “naturally” is. Not what society tells me it should be (because that’s impossible; even if I got to it, it’s impossible to healthily maintain), or what my brain-washed brain tells me I should be. But it also means that I need to take care of it and love it, and when I love it and take care of it, focusing on what it CAN DO instead of what it LOOKS LIKE, it’ll naturally become a healthy body (regardless of how it looks). But that also doesn’t mean I can just binge on trash and not exercise; if I loved it, I would take care of it. So I’m trying to work on a mentality change right now… Not to LOOK a certain way, but to FEEL a certain way… Energetic, nourished, not stressed out about the way I look… The author stressed that we should be exercising to FEEL GOOD not LOOK GOOD… Which, as silly as it sounds, was an AHA moment to me… Because I feel like I’ve always exercised to lose X lbs, that fat over there, that pudge over here… But not genuinely to FEEL good…
    Anyways, I am just rambling about myself on your blog. Woops! But what I wanted to say was… Totally get where you’re coming from… And hope you find a happy median. 🙂 It’s such a tough battle… And stress definitely definitely makes everything so much harder. Hope your application process finishes off soon, with results you wanted! But even if not, it’s just another step and another path! 🙂

    1. Hiro, I super appreciate your message. It is definitely a battle to get to a mental state of happiness, especially with the media influence! But I definitely want to take the steps to get there. I will have to look into the book you suggested! Also, I hope things are going well for you. My mom went through chemo and it’s so tough. You are such a strong person!

  2. Sending you warm hugs Rachel. I can relate with you, I suffer with weight issues which get triggered by stress. Like you I too am an ambivert & am starting my career again after another chance, I know the struggle, the fears. I too end up binge eating and procrastinate but as we can see it doesn’t help. It didn’t help in your case, nor in mine. So, let’s try to keep all the stress aside and focus on our goals. It’s ok if you don’t have a backup plan, even I don’t, so you aren’t alone. Let’s act like we have our shit together, let’s fake it till we make it, sis! And if you ever need someone to talk to, you can reach to me 🙂

    1. Ankita, I super appreciate your support. It is so nice to hear from someone who knows the struggles I am going though. We got this, girl. And just to let you know– I am here for you too!

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