The most searched for and read posts on this blog are my posts about overshoot weight and set point weight. Perhaps this should not be surprising as people with eating disorders are scared of weight gain and so seeking information about the weight they are gaining or have gained is probably to be expected. However, noticing these trends in the website statistics made me really reflect on what people are really seeking when they search for these posts and what sort of mindset is driving it.
Ultimately, in my mind, seeking reassurance about overshoot weight and when it will come down is not really letting the eating disorder go or truly accepting weight gain.
When you are seeking answers about how much ‘overshoot’ weight you might gain and how long it could take before it tapers down to your ‘set point weight’, with a hope in your heart that your weight will drop again, you are ultimately still holding onto the mindset that weight gain is a bad thing that is to be avoided and that weight loss is desirable.
With this mindset, you are simply coming from a space of fat phobia even if that’s only internalised (i.e. it is fine for other people to be in bigger bodies but not you!).
My other concern is that while still holding onto the desire for overshoot weight to go down, almost unconscious behaviours can creep back in and when they result in some weight loss, you convince yourself and others that this is just the overshoot weight finally tapering down and avoid the truth (that the ED is worsening). Trust me on this one, I’ve seen this happen time and again in others!
When in or post recovery, any weight loss or body shape changes (in a downward direction) should be questioned. Have you started to restrict again (without realising)? Are you eating less because life has become busy or is the movement or exercise creeping back up?
If you have any doubts that downward weight changes are not purely natural, then address them by eating more and resting more again…
After all, if you really are on the path to recovery, then eating more food or resting and doing other things that are ED bashing, even though they might lead to weight gain, won’t actually be an ongoing fear will they?!?
On the other hand, if you are 100% sure that you are not restricting and haven’t let any more disordered behaviours back into your life and that your weight is naturally dropping regardless then fine, it’s very likely that your body has reached the weight it needed to be and has completed all the internal repairs and it is now trusting you enough to settle at your set point.
Feel free to celebrate your recovery at this stage because that is a huge, huge achievement but please don’t celebrate or shout about your overshoot weight loss.
The more people who publicly celebrate their loss of overshoot weight, the more the belief that weight loss is a good thing is reinforced. And I think we all know that the belief in our culture that weight loss is a positive is what drives the very dangerous, diet obsessed and fat phobic culture we live in. If you are reading this then you probably know first hand the tragic consequences of such a culture so please don’t exacerbate it!
Ultimately, it is my belief that fears of overshoot and concerns about when it will stop or drop down are sadly just signs that the eating disorder is lingering and there is still work to do to mentally heal and overcome ongoing fears and discomfort with weight gain (and I get that, I really do, so this is not me judging anyone else!).
Like so much in recovery, we all have to learn to recognise the disordered thoughts and change them. With this, it is learning to meet those thoughts questioning overshoot and when it might stop and instead learn to say, ‘who cares?’ and put our focus on the positives that are coming from being in recovery.
Avoid continuing to engage in the waltz with these eating disordered thoughts. Learn instead to accept and appreciate your body at any weight and the freedoms in recovery that can be gained, when you chill out about the weight thing and embrace living instead!!