xojane recently posted a story about ED recovery and backsliding. If you’re interested in checking it out, be prepared that there are some pictures that could trigger a reverse thinspo response if that’s something you’re prone to.
What I found most interesting about this article was its focus on the dieting system, Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers allows you to regulate your food intake by calculating points. You are given a set number of daily points based on your weight and you are also given a number of “flex points” that you are allowed to use throughout the week if you go over your daily numbers.
Weight Watchers has been my regulation method of choice since I decided to go healthy almost a decade ago. I have months at a time where I do not focus on food or numbers at all, but the second life starts to get too complicated, too overwhelming or too hard, I immediately find myself going back to Weight Watchers. I love the calculations involved. I love the structure involved. I love that it’s completely socially acceptable to say that I’m on a Weight Watchers maintenance plan. It’s so refreshing to be able to talk about my numbers fixation and openly reference my structured eating plan and to be praised for my self control instead of chastised for succumbing to an ED.
My involvement with Weight Watchers isn’t as healthy as the structure theoretically implies. I make it a point to go under my allowed points by at least 10 each day, which based on my size is about a third of what I am allowed to eat. I have only dipped into my flex points a few times when I lost control and binged. I am proud to say that even after binges, I have never purged. Even when I’ve been alone and unable to think about almost anything else, that is one unhealthy behavior that I’m unwilling to go back to. I do reward myself for going under, but I can’t let myself go back to punishing for going over. I’m not proud of the way I abuse their system, but at the same time, I feel like the system exploits typical ED behavior. By using the points system, at the very least I’m able to make sure that I eat food that is high in protein and fiber when I need to eat, instead of filling my face with garbage. For me, it gives me the structure and fixation I crave, but it also helps me to make sure that I’m actively working to give my body only the types of nutrients it actually needs. This is definitely disordered behavior, but it’s the healthiest I am able to be right now. This is my personal backslide, and so long as I eventually pull myself out of it, it’s ok.