Monday, January 10, 2011

Guilt Gain

We should all take a note from this little kitten.

While trying-on/evaluating multiple pairs of jeans in my bathroom (a remnant of my ED behaviors that I haven’t yet kicked) and thinking to myself (The bathroom has always been somewhat of a sanctuary to me.  Just ask my Mother.  She’ll tell you about my childhood obsession of singing like Disney’s Arial in the bathroom for hours.  Hey, I thought I sounded amazing!), I concocted an interesting exercise:
The next time you see one of your friends, look at them carefully.  Can you tell what they ate for dinner last night?  Did they eat super-clean and healthy all day, or did they finish off a pizza and some cookies to boot?  Are their jeans more snug than the last time you saw them?  Does their face look fatter?
Okay.  So, did they look that different to you? Could you tell what they ate for dinner last night?  Probably not.  Unless you’re clairvoyant-- in which case, drop everything, go to the nearest gas station and buy yourself a lottery ticket ASAP.  You have now discovered your secret power of ESP!
The point of this exercise was to understand that the way we see ourselves, especially those of us with disordered eating thinking, is absolutely not the way that others view us.  Personally, I can always ‘see’ my weight gain if I have eaten pizza or a milkshake or something that is not exactly “healthy”.  What I mean is that the day after I eat junk food I can actually ‘feel’ and ‘see’ the fat that has grown on my body.  My jeans fit ‘differently’, my face has gotten ‘chubby’, my self-esteem takes a blow, and I start mentally yelling at myself for eating ‘bad’.
But, what if what I saw was a figment of my own imagination?  What if, really, my jeans all fit the same exact way as they did before and what I’m seeing as ‘weight gain’ is just a mental manifestation of my guilt about eating ‘unhealthy’? 
I believe that this is a very real phenomenon experienced by many people who suffer from disordered eating thoughts.  We are practically compelled to attach emotions to the consumption of food.  Eating ‘clean’= feeling ‘skinny/good’.  Eating ‘bad’= feeling ‘disgusting/unworthy’.
I suggest something radical: Next time you eat something that you deem unhealthy and begin to imagine the weight gain that is virtually materializing before your eyes, think of the exercise above.  Most likely, you were unable to figure out what other people had consumed and you probably could not see any weight difference either.  The same concept applies to you;  what you are seeing after eating ‘unhealthy’ is Guilt Gain, which is nothing at all, as it exists only in your mind.  Real weight gain takes more than a day or two.
I used this exercise today along with my mental exercises of complimenting my body for being ‘AWESOME and beautiful’ (This habit may or may not include dancing in front of the mirror-- but I don’t dance and tell!), and I can personally attest that it works.  I immediately felt better, at ease, and more in-tune with myself.
So, tell me....
Did you try the exercise?
What do you think?

Also... I often go back and edit my posts if I catch any mistakes.  When I do this, do my posts show up multiple times on your 'readers'?  



  1. Love this exercise! I had never thought of it like this. My friends don't gain 5lbs of weight from a milkshake and I won't either.. The feeling I get when I eat something "unsafe" is just ED trying to scare me!

    No, it doesn't pop up on blogger multiple times. I'm glad that I'm not the only one that re edits - I have been wondering the same thing about blogger! :)

    Thanks for another encouraging post!

  2. I'm definitely trying this exercise from now on, Yasi!
    Seriously... it's like you just read my mind. I always feel "fat" after eating "too much" or eating something "unhealthy". If none of my friends and family gain weight after burgers, fries, soda... why would I after eating a bowl of small frozen mango slices? I mean... it doesn't make any sense, if we stop and think about.
    Thanks for posting this, honestly. You just made me feel much better about myself - which isn't such an easy thing.
    Have a great week, Yasi!

  3. First of all..."what's a fire and why does it, what's the word? BUUUUURRRRNNNNNN!

    Love you girl. Way to fight the craziness. I do believe that the ED warps our brain and NERVE ENDINGS into complete insanity and we almost hallucinate. Hard to explain to anyone who hasn't been there. I try your exercise at a certain level daily.....Love Ya!


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