The Mental Impact of Gaining Weight With Lupus


The Mental Impact of Gaining Weight With Lupus

Coping With Weight Gain

It’s no secret that I’m not thin. I’ve never really been fat either, although “thick” is a word that has been used to describe me. For most of my adult life, I have been on the bigger end of the “normal” BMI scale, something that has always haunted me. And for most of my adult life, I have wanted to lose 30lbs.

I grew up in a house and wider culture that valued – and values – thinness. I always knew and was often told that I wasn’t heavy, but that I could be thinner. You know, if I wanted to.

Anorexia and Lupus: A Crazy Combination

When I was 15 I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. Although I won’t mention numbers (I don’t really understand why people would want to know that), I lost a considerable amount of weight and lost my period.

Years later, I was hospitalized again for anorexia nervosa during a relapse, after graduating from college and after I started developing lupus symptoms. I was honestly too tired to live with lupus and anorexia, so I checked myself into treatment almost immediately, using up some of my savings.

The second time, I hadn’t lost that much weight. The second time, I was at the lower end of normal. The second time, I wasn’t skinny enough to actually be diagnosed as anorexic, so I wore the label of ED-NOS, eating disorder not otherwise specified. And yes, technically, you have to be “skinny enough” to be diagnosed as anorexic.

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I’ve lived my whole life feeling like I’m not “skinny enough” and that my weight is just barely acceptable. While I have recovered from my eating disorder, there are still moments… I think all former eating disorder patients have them. Have I purged in the last several years while technically being recovered? Yes. Have I engaged in weird food rituals/disordered behaviors while technically being recovered? Yes. Have I gotten incredibly angry at myself for gaining weight? God yes. Am I addicted to Diet Coke as a hold over of anorexia? Likely.

Next page: why do we pack on pounds when we’re in a flare?

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