Weight Gain in Recovery – Relapse?

A friend in long-time 12 Step compulsive eating recovery has put on a fair amount of weight. This friend, Elizabeth, is known for the strength and solidity of her recovery and serves as a role-model and guide for many, many women and men.

Her reocvery has always been spiritual and action-based, and also includes not eating sugar or processed foods of any kind. Apparently, pictures of cakes and candy are showing up on her Facebook page . And some folks have reached out to me, worrying that Elizabeth has relapsed – because of her weight gain and Facebook.

Of course, none of us knows if she has or hasn’t. Elizabeth hasn’t reached out to me, which she normally does if troubled. And there’s nothing I can do unless she does.

I can’t rush to any conclusions, just because there’s dessert on her Facebook page. Besides, If I believed everything I saw on Facebook….

But the real question, I tell everyone who’s called, is – how does this effect you? Usually, they start by saying they really care about Elizabeth, but when we delve deeper they say things like, “it makes me feel unsafe – if She can relapse, I can too.”

Of course, I respond, that’s not true at all. As long as I know my own truth about food and honor it AND as long as I spend my time growing spiritually and doing what I’m supposed to be doing, I’m fine. I’m sad for anyone who experiences the pain of relapse, but I don’t worry about it for myself.

Of course, there are lots of explanations for Elizabeth’s weight gain and Facebook pictures, including that it all means nothing OR that she has in fact had a slip. Don’t know and won’t know, unless she tells me.

I was having this conversation with a recovery friend who knows Elizabeth. He agreed that we don’t know anything. However, we discussed that Elizabeth had entered recovery at nearly 300 pounds, which she’d maintained for many years. Through the 12 Steps, she lost a great deal of weight and got very thin. Perhaps, being so thin just wasn’t natural. She’s in her late 50s, she’s tall and active – maybe she’s just not meant to be small. Maybe she kept herself unnaturally thin for some years and her current size is actually healthier for her.

“She probably wasn’t mean to be as thin as she kept herself.” My friend agreed and then he paused and added, “like you, Melissa.”

I didn’t need to pause. I just said, “you’re right. I do keep myself thinner than I’m meant to be.”

What that means and what to do is a whole other question.

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