Trying to beat an eating disorder is painfully difficult and extremely exhausting.
I know this because I fought the battle myself.
I spent years actively trying to fight an eating disorder, and without even realizing it I was sabotaging my ability to conquer it. I came up with what seemed like valid solutions, but the reality was it only exacerbating it.
These four things seem to be a common theme that many people involve in their recovery, and ones that I personally think make everything all the more challenging.
I want to preference this by saying I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. I have no intent on curing or healing your eating disorder — nor am I qualified to do so. I am speaking on behalf of my own personal story and sharing my insights that helped me that might help you.
ANOTHER DIET IS NOT THE ANSWER.
When you’re trying to overcome an eating disorder, the last thing you need to do is follow another diet. Dieting itself is the number one contributing factor to the development of disordered eating in the first place.
Trying to heal your relationship with food by creating yet another filter of what you can and can’t eat is like trying to put out fire with gasoline. Another diet is not going to “fix” your eating disorder — it’s going to enable it.
In my experience, I latched on to this notion that I just needed to find different rules and guidelines I can adhere to it in hope to gain control. But an eating disorder is much deeper than just being able to have willpower around food. It’s a mask that disguises your insecurities, your pain and your suffering.
Recovery involves the unpacking of why and how it developed to begin with. It’s addressing the underlying issue and dismantling through all the narratives that are robbing you from feeling normal around food and in your body.
And while I don’t know what that exactly looks like for you, some questions that might be helpful to begin this process are:
Do I use food as a way to cope with my emotions? If so, what is a more productive and positive coping mechanism that I can implement in as an outlet for my emotions?
Do I follow diets because I’ve attached my worth to the way my body looks?
What triggers the behavior or episodes to happen?
The worst thing you can do when you’re actively trying to work on overcoming an eating disorder is judge yourself when you feel triggered and give in. Punishing yourself for your actions doesn’t actually solve or fix anything — it just makes you feel worse.
Which leads into another important thing to remember: you are going to slip up. You can not attach yourself to perfection. This entire journey is full of disarray; it is imperfect and it is messy.
Being “perfect” about your recovery doesn’t minimize your problems, it magnifies them. And although perfection at the surface seems like the solution to succeeding and beating this battle, it’s that exact notion that holds you back from moving forward.
Instead of being hard on yourself about something that is already hard, give yourself more ease. Lead with compassion and understanding. Remind yourself that it’s okay and this is apart of the journey. Celebrate your wins and how far you’ve gotten. If you went from binging every single day to only once a week — that is a huge step. Acknowledge it.
And rather than setting the expectation to be perfect, give yourself permission to fuck up and then learn from your fuck ups.
What caused this to happen? What can you do next time to help prevent this from happening again?
STEPPING ON THE SCALE AFTER A BINGE…OR AT ALL.
The scale is just another puzzle piece to the problem. It’s part of the reason you are here in the first place and it’s that very thing that triggers you to pursue unhealthy behaviors.
Do not let a numerical fraction hold power of you. You are not an arbitrary number, baby girl. You are so much more than that.
Break up with the scale. It’s a toxic relationship and it’s not serving you. And while I know breakups are never easy, I promise that the minute you cut the scale out of your life you will start to feel less obsessed and more empowered.
And if you’re having a difficult time cutting the strings, at least take space from it for 30 days. You can do it.
THINKING YOU HAVE TO DO THIS ALONE OR THAT YOU ARE ALONE.
I assume that you’re eating disorder developed in private and you more than likely kept it that way (or at least tried to). You continue to hide it because you feel ashamed and embarrassed. Or, because you came up with some justification as to why you shouldn’t reveal it because deep down you want to hold on to it — because you’re not ready to let go of it.
I get it and I understand it because I did that very thing. And I know how scary it is to share this part of your life, but don’t stay quite — speak up and ask for help. Get the treatment and help you need to cure it.
Start with someone you trust, someone who makes you feel safe and is willing to support you through this battle.
And darling, know that you are not alone—you are never alone.
You are strong and I am here for you.
I love you,