There is a term in eating disorders which I believe needs to be added in the discussion of illness, weight gain and health.
Weight restored: A patient returning to a weight that is within a healthy BMI OR their range of weight prior to their illness
This happens with physical illness too.
LEFT: me after not eating or drinking for 6 weeks due to a partial obstructed bowel. I was hospitalised, largely bedridden and being fed by a tube for 6 weeks.
RIGHT: 4 months later, when I had not only gained my original weight back but an extra 20 lbs more. In those six weeks, my body went into starvation mode so when I started eating again, my body clung onto it. My eating had not changed from before, I was not eating larger quantities, my body was simply reacting to it because it wasn’t used to solid food.
I am sharing this because we can’t keep equating weight gain to poor health. This weight gain was my metabolism learning how to work again and my body doing it’s best to protect me. This weight gain was a sign of restored health. The same way when a baby gains weight, it’s seen as a sign of health
I couldn’t see it at the time because it was SO overshadowed by the number of people concerned about my weight gain that the following month I started a diet. (It would turn out to be my last diet!). Less than 5 months out of hospital and I already started a diet - way to jeopardise my recovery! Diets aren’t about health. They are about size and beauty! And to do it so shortly after my surgery risked my entire recovery.
Too many people fear surgery or avoid medication because they fear that weight gain. They rush back to the gym too soon or they go on a diet shortly after recovering from surgery to counterbalance their weight gain. They put their health at risk in order to keep hold of the “perception of health”. THIS NEEDS TO STOP.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT WEIGHT GAIN AS A SIDE EFFECT.
As long as we keep pushing this one type of health, we will keep seeing people jeopardise their health to stay thin. I don’t know about you, but I think anyone going through illness doesn’t need the additional stress of worrying about their waist line #ScarredNotScared