Restoration Stories – Emily Rosen

I have gained and lost 100 pounds

a few times

Up and down, down and up

My body has stretched

and shrunk rapidly

More than I knew

it could

Definitely more

than I ever wanted it to

To those who have never

had their weight fluctuate dramatically

it is hard for me to try and explain

what it’s like to be the same person

in so many different bodies

And it is really hard to explain

what it’s like

to have people treat you

completely differently

based solely

on how they see you

and your body

I remember

arriving at college

painfully slim

eager to please

and hungry

And I remember

when my best friend

passed away unexpectedly

just a few months

into my freshman year

finding myself eating

out of garbage bins

I put on 30 pounds that month

I couldn’t stop eating

I would stuff my face quite literally

till I was so full I would pass out

almost blacking out

from a food coma

and the pain of being so full

and so empty

simultaneously

I have been so thin

I could only shop

in the children’s section

for pants that fit me

And I have been so big

I could no longer fit into a size 16

It is not a fallacy

that people treat people differently

based on how they see them

and what they make that mean

I remember walking down

the hallways of my college dorm

50 pounds heavier than I had been that fall

and people who once greeted me gleefully

pretending not to see me at all

I was bigger

taking up more space

and felt invisible

When I was smaller

I would hear the whispers

the judgements

the speculations

and was constantly being questioned

about what I ate

And I was often celebrated

and attacked

in the same breath

by women who wanted to know

“my secret”

I haven’t weighed myself in 5+ years now

I plan to never weigh myself again

My weight has stabilized

drifting up and down a little

seasonally

But it’s so important to note

that weight

is not

an indication of healing

not necessarily

often not at all

I didn’t know what my body would look like

when I finally stopped starving, binging and purging

I had to trust it would find its way

and that was the hardest deep breath

I ever had to take

As I got healthier

I gained weight

And I remember sitting on the floor

of the bathroom

often

willing myself

not to purge

It was so hard

especially as people started commenting

on my weight gain

assuming I was binging

when I was actually eating less

than I had in years

I do want to stress that

someone’s weight

tells you very little about their relationship with food

There can be such a wide range of reasons

psychological, emotional, mental, hormonal, biological

for why someone’s weight

is what it is

I have been told

I looked “average” and “normal”

even “very healthy”

when I was secretly purging

60 times a day

I have been told I was too thin

when I was eating plenty

but was just so lit up by life

and in love with everything

I was rapidly burning off

everything that crossed my lips

In this picture

I was eating no more than 1,200 calories a day

and working out an hour a day

But my body was so freaked

it refused to drop

even the littlest bit of weight

It was sick of my abuse

and simply refused

to shift even a little

We do not know what someone “should” weigh

We do not know anything

about what is going on for a person

internally

just by looking at them

And we aren’t doing anyone a favor

by judging them

telling them how they should be different

or assuming we know

what is healthy for them

“Tough love” when it comes to body size

is often just a backhanded way

to make shaming okay

And as far as I am concerned

body shaming is never okay

Not to mention

it never actually helps people

get where they want to go

even if they do want to change

The road will always inform the destination

So my suggestion:

Get curious instead

with those around you

and yourself

Our challenges with food and body

are a doorway into

what might really be going on

They’re not something getting in our way

They are the way

And in my experience

they are presenting

for exquisitely tender reasons

reasons that might otherwise be missed

in the business of our day to day

Be gentle

Be kind

Be generous

Be smart

This is how we get to the heart of the matter

always with love and respect

for infinite mystery

I know for one

the girl in this picture

would have so appreciated

a question

instead of

endless assumptions

I imagine often

how different my twenties

would have been

if I knew what I know

now

and if I had been

questioned sincerely

instead of told often

that something was wrong with me

I suppose in many ways

if not all ways

this is why I share in the way I do

so those like me

don’t start thinking

they are crazy too

We do things for a reason

you and me

and there is nothing wrong with you

for reacting

and taking care of yourself

in the ways you know how to

It just might be time to do things

a little differently

if you are wanting something different

Be willing to go deep my friends

Be willing to do the work

And learn to love

the beautiful mystery

that is your body

❤️ Emily Joy Rosen

Image above of Emily referenced in her post

Lead image is Emily now.

Connect with Emily at The Empowered Woman

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