I had a client come in recent weeks that I hadn’t seen for nearly a year. She looked great and was proud to report that she had lost 40lbs since we last saw each other. When we worked together in the past she was feeling stuck and while she incorporated some of the things we had discussed she wasn’t losing the weight. Seeing her and hearing how well she has been doing was an incredibly heart warming experience but that aside it also speaks to something that I believe plays a big role in how successful one is in overcoming an eating disorder.
Whether you struggle with emotional eating, anorexia, bulimia or any of the other types of eating disorders out there, one of the biggest determinants of how successful you will be at beating it is Readiness.
Readiness is a state of being fully prepared to tackle whatever your issue is regardless of barriers that present themselves. Now this doesn’t mean that it will be easy and that you won’t have challenging days. What it means is that the desire to be well is stronger than everything else including those challenging days and the endless excuses your eating disorder comes up with.
In the case of my client, for example, she really really really really wanted to lose the weight that had been interfering with her quality of life when she was seeing me a year ago. She dedicated herself to doing her homework and trying what was suggested. But it wasn’t until January when she realized that her excess weight was interfering with her ability to enjoy a long healthy life with her kids that something clicked.
This is not my way of saying that if something hasn’t clicked yet you should give up and not bother trying. It is merely something to start reflecting on to see what may be preventing you from feeling really ready. Maybe it is that you haven’t discovered a healthier way to deal with your emotions besides binging or restricting. Perhaps it’s that the idea of really being well terrifies you and your eating disorder still feels safe. Maybe your reason for wanting to get well has been motivated by other people instead of yourself. Whatever it is, start checking in and ask yourself what you are really holding on to. It is okay if you decide you aren’t ready. In fact I had another client recently tell me that he wasn’t ready to give up his emotional eating disorder yet and so needed to take a break from our sessions.
It is okay to not be ready. Truthfully it took 9 years before something really clicked for me and I felt ready to really recover from my eating disorder. When it does click, there is nothing stopping you. So take some time to reflect and really think about what you need to be ready. Have a brutally honest conversation with yourself about it. Accept yourself wherever you are and take a moment to just breathe. Maybe now is your time, maybe it’s not, or perhaps you are in the middle. Whatever the case is, if there is something you are doing that seems to be helping you move towards readiness keep doing it, but also know that it is always okay to take a time out and listen to what you really need in the moment.