To not lose weight (when DP wants me to)?(58 Posts)
Apologies for the long post. I think all the background info is relevant.
I have a history of eating disorders which started in my mid-teens but got worse in late teens, continuing from there. They were a mixture of binge eating and severe calorie restricting with extreme exercising, in nasty cycles. Eventually I managed to reach a generally stable, "healthy" slim weight, but was not achieving it by healthy means. I would binge-eat junk food, and counteract it by exercise and fasting (unless in the company of others, in which case I would fall in line with their patterns). My mind was always consumed with weight loss and calories, and I measured my worth according to whether or not I was thin. This was how I was throughout my early twenties, and coincided with when I started a relationship with DP (this becomes relevant later).
I've seen many nutritionists/dieticians/counsellors/doctors over the years, and in the last couple have found some who have been a great help following a point at which I had become very thin and had dangerously low blood pressure and messed up blood sugar levels. In the end, what has worked best is to accept that, in my case particularly, slim does not in and of itself mean healthy.
With guidance, for the last couple of years I have been eating regular, nutritious meals no matter what, and keeping fit through regular but controlled exercise. If I feel the urge to binge on top (and often I do), I do this, but don't then compensate through restricting diet or over-exercising. This has meant in the end that I am much fatter than I used to be (though not obese or near to being) but in fact I am fitter, and my blood pressure, blood sugar levels etc are all far healthier. My overall mood and concentration have vastly improved.
With difficulty I've accepted my new shape, remembering all the positives. On occasions when I've started controlling my diet to lose weight I feel the old obsessive thought processes coming back, and feel worried that I'd run a high risk of falling back into old patterns if I were to continue along this line.
Advice from professionals has been to remember the benefits of how I am now, to work with what I am able to do, and to remember that contrary to society's overall view, thin does not automatically equal healthy, and in my case I am much healthier as I am now. I have shared this with some supportive friends and also with my partner.
In an ideal world, I'd eventually be completely free from bingeing and would then lose the weight slowly without even thinking about it. I've had a lot of guidance with diet and eat very healthily (more or less Michael Moseley-esque, but without very low calorie intake as that's triggering for me), binges aside. However, DP has made comments about my weight, saying for example that it's "hard to believe" it is healthier for me to be as I am now than as I was in our first years, and saying he thinks I have set myself a "psychological trap, " and that I should question the validity of the advice I have been given.
I have found both these comments upsetting and triggering; obviously a reason all this happened in the first place is because I was in the mindset of thinking I would be judged according to whether or not I was thin, and DP is openly doing just that. The fact he is citing those earlier years (it is relevant at the time he did not know about the eating disorder) while dismissing advice I've received more recently makes me feel he is not taking any of it seriously.
I think it is more cluelessness than maliciousness on his part, so how can I get the message through to him? It irritates me hugely that he thinks he knows best on this when he will have nothing to go on except vague misconceptions, whereas I, through necessity, have read most things going on the topic and poured time and money into professional help. He says what I've been told is "weird," "contrary to everything [he's] heard," etc.
The way he left things was by saying, "clearly this is not something I can talk to you about in any way," which isn't at all what I want. I value being able to be open about issues with him and feeling supported; later, it's been noted that I "haven't take criticism very well recently," and I can only assume that applies to this.
I know everyone says this, but in general he's kind, giving, caring etc...I am sure you may raise your eyebrows, but bottom line Is I'd rather address this whole thing with DP than LTB.
Clearly, I have a problem with mental illness as this is what got me into this mess in the first place -- so am I, now, in my own mind-trap? I don't think I am, but based on all I've written above, what do you wise Mumsnetters think? Should I be looking into ways to lose weight? Or if not, how can I get DP to back me on this and understand how damaging those comments were, as well as getting on board with my new regime?
Could you go for counselling as a couple to learn how to communicate better?
I think you are making positive progress under the guidance of actual professionals. Your dp is neither positive nor a professional, so needs to butt out.
If possible, explain to him it's not that you can't take criticism, it's that he is causing you to take backwards steps in your recovery, and it is shocking that he would do so when he (presumably) knows how hard it has been for you.
Ditto the counselling. Or meeting with your doctor with you to go over the realities of eating disorders in your life and how they've affected your physical and mental health and well being, and why it's best to maintain what you have now carefully.
I agree with the first poster, is it possible to book a couple is it sessions where a counsellor could talk to you both as a couple. Maybe if he heard it from a professional and understood the impact this has had on you mentally and physically.
Has he actually said 'I want you to loose weight' because I wouldn't read that from those comments. Is he a bit of a know it all with other aspects. I have a friend who is an expert opinion on everything in her her own world.
Does he know the full extent of your former struggle. Does he think this new regime is another part of your illness.
Assuming his attitude is borne of pig-ignorance, do you have any literature on eating disorders and eating disorder recovery? Maybe if he read that it would help him to understand. He sounds really close-minded though, all that stuff about the advice you have received from professionals and experts in the area contradicting "everything he has heard"
I know that you see him as kind and caring, but it's hard to imagine how any decent husband would want his wife to be thin at the expense of her mental health.
Totally agree on the couples counselling. You are getting your life in order and that's amazing. You are right thin does not equal healthy. I am my biggest I've ever been (still slim, but not thin) and I am also the healthiest, strongest and fittest I've ever been. Good luck
Lots of complexity in here. You seem to be doing the right thing for your mental health, your husband seems to be focused on your physical health.
Can uou contextualise, what size are you, are you a healthy weight and he simply wants uou to be thin, or are you overweight and he wishes you to be a healthy weight. If it's the former, then he is being very unreasonable, if it's the latter then maybe it's about talking to him about the mental v physical juggling uoure doing.
Hmmm, does he hold down a job? I'm just thinking that if he is saying these comments out of naivety then he is really, really, really, thick and it would be impossible to be able to function at that level of stupidity.
The alternative is that he knows exactly what he is saying and is saying it deliberately. Tell him once, that's all, once. Tell him not to comment on your weight, your food choices or your body shape, ever. If he ignores you then that will tell you everything you need to know about him.
Maybe if he heard it from a professional and understood the impact this has had on you mentally and physically.
In a broader context, why are so many men like this? Something that comes from me? Nonsense that can be discarded. The same information from someone else? Ooh, that sounds interesting/important.
I think it's important to point out to you partner that you are on a continuum in life, it's about getting from one week to the next and about developing healthy lifestyle habits over time. It's not about target weights and 'sticking' to them. We may be many different weights over our lifespans. So for you, it sounds to me like you are doing the right thing at the moment. You are focusing on the overall being healthy, not obsessing about weight, not falling into the 'corrective' behaviours, and therefore trying to spend more time being free from the habits rather than entrapped by the habits.
I'd be of the opinion of saying to your other half "WFT would you know about it, luv, to be honest? I appreciate your concern but to be honest, you are not an expert in this field". You are the expert of you - and you have built good awareness of the traps you can fall into, and also where to get support when you need it. So yes you might stumble into the odd thinking trap, but hopefully over time you learn to notice that quicker and take the steps that helped you before. I usually find when my OH is pecking a few holes in me, it is usually because he himself is stressed over something in his life but decides it suits him better to 'fix' others as a distraction from himself!
Thank you, everyone, for the replies.
Counselling sounds like a good idea. Do you think it would be best to make an appointment with my own counsellor, or with a neutral one who specialises in couples?
Bluntness100, I'm 5 foot 9, about size 14 but it can be a squeeze. I haven't weighed myself for a while, but at my last check up they checked my body fat percentage and said it was healthy. I think how I look now is not at all what he's used to "me" being. He himself comes from a very slim family! I think maybe he finds it hard to grasp that when I was slim, I was very unwell mentally, because I hid it from him at the time and told him later, so he can't shake off the idea I wasn't healthy then, but am now.
argh sorry opposite of what I wrote: he can't shake off the idea that to hi I WAS healthy then, but am not now.
Seaweed I think you make some very good points.
And, Parasite, YES! It happened to me at work just yesterday
Tough shit what he's used to, it's your body not his, sounds like he wants you to lose weight because he thinks you're too fat....which you absolutely are not. You could drop quite a few stones very easily by dumping him, he doesn't sound at all supportive knowing what you've gone through
I think you're right and he's just clueless. He's taking bog standard "health" advice and thinking it can be applied right across the board. You, however, are clearly very clued up and aware of yourself and what you need to be healthy in your mind as well as your body. I think the suggestion take him to your doctor or counsellor with you is a good one. They can validate his understanding of general healthy living advice whilst also educating him about how that advice can be harmful for people with the disordered thinking patterns which underpin eating disorders. Tbh I'm a bit surprised he doesn't get that already but maybe he needs the hear it from someone in a position of "authority". Either way you sound really on top of your situation and I think that's great
I think maybe he finds it hard to grasp that when I was slim, I was very unwell mentally, because I hid it from him at the time and told him later, so he can't shake off the idea I wasn't healthy then, but am now.
I think that could possibly be it.
Also, bearing in mind you've suffered from eating disorders for most of your life, in his mind he could be worried that as you slowly continue to gain weight, it'll all raise it's ugly head in the near future, should you then end up severely overweight or obese.
I think counselling together is an excellent idea as this is obviously a very complex subject/situation for both of you.
Even if it's different to what he's been told in the past, What's stopping him from taking in the new information that you've given him? What can't he accept that you know more than him about this?
That is what would piss me off and make me think he's got an agenda
I don't think it is a male female thing - I think we can all be a bit dismissive of stuff if it doesn't seem to make sense to us. When we hear it from the professionals we re -think. I was like that over my ex DPs reactions to noise, (almost pantomimic!), until I heard a professional explain his condition.
Good for you OP for your progress. I understand because I was a binger and stayed stable only when I was NOT trying to control my weight. Unfortunately am fatter now and the physical health angle has become important.
I feel for him though. He got together with you as you were, physically and mentally, and now you are different, and he is both concerned about you and less comfortable with it. Other posters have given advice.
The worry is that he prefers sick you to healthy you. How is he in other areas of your life?
If this were my dh. I would be telling him that I am not interested in his lectures. When he is ready, I'm happy to enter into a discussion. However he needs to listen to how this is for me. Is he happy to do that? Any objection would be me walking away and telling him to be quiet/shut up.
Firstly, I think you have done really, really well to get to where you are 💐
I can understand why you have been told to do what you are doing (have good, regular, meals, binge if you need to but do not use diet or exercise to compensate for binging). This is probably the healthiest way for you to live and keep eating disorders more under control. This has to be your first priority.
However, I do understand where your DH is coming from. I think he's probably phrased it badly or possibly no matter how he phrased it, you'd feel judged by him, which is not what you need. But try to bear with me ok 💐
My worry would be that there doesn't seem to be anything in place to stop you gaining a lot of weight this way? In his situation I wouldn't be in the least bit bothered about how you look, but I'd be incredibly worried that gaining weight would put you straight back to where you were before with serious ED's.
If he is worried about you, you need to listen
If he just wants a waif like DP then you need him out of your life. Your health, both physical & mental, is much more important than a man. No matter how lovely he is otherwise.
I think your next move should be to speak to your counsellor and see if they will talk him - I wouldn't go to a random counselling session because they could damage YOU far too much.
Please look after yourself 💐
I find it odd that he said you 'can't take criticism lately.' Why does he feel it's his place to criticise you?
Honestly I think you are better off as you are at the moment. If you're eating a generally balanced diet and exercising reasonably then I think you're best to stick with that.
I battled eating disorders for 10 years, was extremely anorexic, but thankfully recovered well. I can't easily diet now without going back in to obsessive thinking, I think it's far healthier to be a little larger than to descend back into that. I'm about a size 14 at 5'10 pre pregnancy, and I think that's a good balance weight for me.
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