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Shift, Size, and Surrender

and the gratitude that makes movement possible

Shift, Size, and Surrender

I used to think this only referred to "other people":

Prolonged/habitual dieting will inevitably lead to rebound hyperphagia (insatiable hunger) and accelerated weight gain, until a healthy weight is restored.

 *See the bottom of this post for some sources

I really believed I was a special case. That was never going to be me. Even less me was the accompanying idea that this extra weight would cause the person to feel so much better that soon she wouldn't mind it.

Then, this past 18 months, it happened to me.  "What's constant is the shift..." But how am I going to move through this shift?

I've gained significant weight this year. From well under 90 all the way to triple digits. Through an on-again off-again disgusting groove of binge-purge-fast-binge-binge-consume-dangerous-stimulants-dietpills-and-endorphin-disruptors. Now, on a sensible healing program for my physiological and neurological issues and off that sickening clown car, I bump into myself. When I bounce on the rebounder, pieces of me that didn't exist until recently are talking back to gravity. I even menstruated--more than once! --a shocking anomaly in my life.

What do I make of this? The truth is, I'm swinging between self-disgust--and surrender.

Here's how you might guess I'm feeling/dealing, if you know me at all: "I can't stand to be in my skin. I'm disgusted by these new dimensions and even more by the lack of control that got me there. I'm ashamed for people to see me. My only hope of self-acceptance pins on losing at least ten pounds as soon as inhumanely possible; my constant despair is the power of this still-new beast my hunger and cravings."

Yes, if you put those words in my mouth you got it right. And yet...

At the same time, it hit me like a ton of bricks that this beast of cravings and hunger would never have been born had I never starved myself for decades. That realization problematizes my hopes of relief through a kneejerk return to starvation. My horror and spiritual disgust at the excessive consumption and the excess, as I see it, that resulted on my body--that horror and disgust must apply, to some degree, as much as I deny it, to the starvation habit, the dark side of the same moon.

Of course it horrifies me when someone says I "look better"--no chance of traction there. But when the very few people with whom I talk about this openly reflect to me that the spiritual light in my eyes is now brighter, the healing energy in my hands more salient when they touch them, my energy more radiant--this I must take heed of.

Of course, those changes could be nothing to do with the weight and only connected to the fact that I'm not torturing my brain chemistry and am applying therapeutic modalities to my brain and its electrochemistry so that I'm no longer feeling like a voodoo doll constantly pinpricked; a lab animal constantly, randomly electrocuted.

I can't say enough good things about that, by the way. Life without constant brain shocks is much more beautiful. It's so nice to be able to lie down and actually sleep, unimpeded by gut pain. And although I still have edema, responsible for some of those extra pounds, the extreme swelling of legs and ankles--so alarming because I've had kidney failure and incipient congestive heart failure before, and this is a main symptom of those--has stopped happening, and that's nice too.

And so, I find myself second-guessing the iron imperative to lose weight pronto. Yes, of course I want to, very badly, but I can't stop reflecting that my normal way of doing so is of the same realm as the binge behavior-- how awful it would be to do that again as well. 

It's an awkward wave, this shift. My shock-free brain needs to stay quiet a lot, and sometimes my usual riffs come out of a different side of it. I bump into myself, uncharted territory under my stretching skin. I keep taking photos of myselfself ish5

hoping that one of them will spur some recognition,self ish2

but I don't recognize; I'm not even sure I can parse the angel behind the eyes now.self ish3

So, that what this is. Holding still somewhere in the angel behind the eyes, letting this shift dowse me like a pendulum, surrendering to the new pendulousness of body. Surrendering, perhaps, to the very concept of surrender, a concept that people who love me have been gently punting my way for decades now apropos of this subject. I'm humbled.

Evelyn Tribole is a professional in this field, and this article is well researched, compassionate, and comprehensive.

This article on Psychology Today is a clear articulation of the "you'll feel better if you go all the way" line.

This graphic from fyoured is a very true depiction of the nightmarish web of thinkery and behavery.

About the Author

Ela Harrison

Ela is a wordsmith and herb lover who has lived in many places and currently resides in Tucson, AZ.

Comments (2)

  • Elizabeth


    25 November 2015 at 12:00 | #

    One thing that helps - a little - is “been there, done that.” So you don't need to keep it up, with all the attendant health risks that come of keeping it up into midlife. It's one thing to be 90 lbs in one's 20s, there's an etherealness to youthful thinnness. But being 90 lbs in mid/late life is not all that. It's more like decrepitness. I'm making up words but you know what I mean.


    • Ela


      25 November 2015 at 15:56 | #

      So nice to see you here! I've been thinking of you and mean to send an email soon. Yes, the "been there done that"--a friend of mine years back who had had some less-serious anorexia in her past encouraged me to take pictures when I was at my lowest weight. She had done that, and had been able to "BTDT" if ever she thought about going there again. I dunno, though...I've been 90s or less most of my 30s, which are mostly past, and I've been in treatment 50s and 60s women likewise.
      But right now, this "surrender" piece to which I was never open before--somehow it's more compelling to me than any of the no doubt sensible "health" aspects of the question. It's amazing to find myself opening to the possibility that my spiritual work and progress might actually benefit from this; that extreme thinness and asceticism/control are not the only possible grounds for my spiritual advancement. Of course, though, if it is a good thing I would rather have done it volitionally than out of control...


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