One of the first goals of recovery should be to reach and maintain your weight at your genetic set-point. What is your set point? It will differ for each person, based on their genetics, but it is the weight range (usually around 5 to 10 pounds) your body will maintain comfortably without any external input from you- that is, without calorie counting, food restricting, excessive exercise, or purging.
I think that many professionals buy into our fears over reaching our set-point weight and say that if you weigh X pounds, you'll be "healthy" because they're afraid you'll freak if you hear the truth. But if the truth is that you need to weigh X+5 or X+10 pounds in order to be "healthy," they're really condemning you to a life of illness and misery.
Our culture buys into it as well- they celebrate abnormally low weights. I saw in one of the tabloids that described--in depth!--the "unhealthy" ways in which stars dieted.* How many people are going to use these methods because of this article? And how many lives are being blunted, whether in years or in scope, because we can't accept that people come in all sorts of shapes and sizes?
The blog Treatment Notes had a recent post on Set Point and Weight Regulation, and there was a link to a simple explanation of the Set Point Theory. I was hooked from the first paragraph:
Height is mostly determined by genetic factors.
No-one seems to dispute the fact you cannot
successfully change your height - some people are
just shorter than average, others are taller, and
that’s just the way we are. The same principal
applies to weight.
It's a fantastic explanation, and should be required reading. I'm adding it to my list of permanent links on the right hand side of the blog.
*That's what the headline said- I didn't read it.