“To me, curvy means striving for balance, authenticity, and mindfulness.”
Healthy emotions come in all sizes. Healthy minds come in all sizes. And healthy bodies come in all sizes.
~Cheri K. Erdman
The number on the scale plummeted yet again, and with it, my confidence. Yes, you read that right; unlike what society preaches, losing weight isn’t always a good thing. Less of ourselves is not necessarily better.
As my curves melted away, my body was sending out the message: “Help!”
I had fully recovered from anorexia over a decade earlier and had learned not to give the scale too much power. I’d even written three books on the topic and given hundreds of talks on embracing a strong, healthy body. Society tells us that being thin makes us happy and successful but I knew this was a big lie. At my thinnest, I was miserable.
And yet, when I unintentionally lost weight due to PTSD, my doctor congratulated me during a yearly exam.
Why was I getting complimented for having a mental illness?
It happened when I had anorexia, too—I received accolades for having a life-threatening psychiatric illness with the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
Recovering from anorexia, I had learned to think of gaining weight as gaining pounds of happiness. Now, I was in recovery for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being raped in my late twenties. The accompanying depression and anxiety had killed my appetite, the stress had caused havoc on my thyroid disorder and my weight was going down again. Importantly, it wasn’t just my body that was shrinking; PTSD itself disintegrates self-esteem.
I wanted my life back. I wanted my curves back.