The prescription for “weight obsession disorder” (aka a disorder I just made up.)
There is a term eating disorder clinicians use when treating eating disorder called, “phobic weight.” It refers to a weight that the client reaches and begins to feel extremely overwhelmed to be at. I usually see clients experience their phobic weight when they hit ~90% of weight restored*. They can’t imagine having to gain the last bit of weight, but must to continue to progress to complete ED recovery.
I was thinking about phobic weight recently and about how even those without diagnosed eating disorders could probably relate to this term. Do you have a weight or a pant size that if you go above it you feel anxiety and stress?
I don’t think I ever had a weight I didn’t want to go above. My unhealthy mentality in my ED was more, “just become smaller and smaller and then you will have…” I really can’t remember how I finished that sentence. In 8 years of being constantly hungry and then bingeing and being overfull afterwards I never once gained anything positive. For me my ED recovery was all about gaining. Yes, gaining weight AND also gaining a sense of self and identity that allowed me to (eventually) be okay with the weight gain.
The diagnostic criteria for anorexia and bulimia includes a preoccupation with weight. While there are other diagnostic criteria you must have to be diagnosed with an ED, I imagine that most women are preoccupied with weight and they experience an “undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation.”
I feel we need another diagnosable disorder called, “weight obsession disorder,” where the prescription or treatment plan from your doctor is: immerse yourself in HAES messages by reading Body Respect and Intuitive Eating, listen to Food Psych by Christy Harrison, read my How to Eat posts, read The Real Life RD blog, and sign up for my course.
All those resources may help your hyper obsession with weight begin to shift.
Like any prescription you are given, for it to work you have to take the medication.
To stop being obsessed with your body size, you have to want to not be obsessed with your body size. To go to California, you have to buy a ticket to California. To get out of the mentality you are in, you have to do something to move towards a different mentality. If you are feeling miserable with your body size and trying to become smaller and smaller and dieting hasn’t helped, perhaps it’s time to take action in a different way. Instead of changing the physical, move towards changing the mental via the “prescription” above.
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. What have you done or are you doing to change your unhealthy mentality and your preoccupation with your weight/body size?
*those struggling with an eating disorder that causes their weight to drop have to be weight restored to a healthful weight that is determined by their dietitian.