It is a sad fact that recovering from an eating disorder means having an ongoing battle with the eating disorder voice in your head on a daily basis. In time it lets up but during the beginning stages it usually has a lot to say about everything. It is important to take time to separate yourself (the real you) out from your eating disorder and in the process of doing this learn to turn against all of the horrible things it is telling you.
There are a lot of things that it says that are abusive and many that are controlling but one of the most manipulative things your eating disorder makes you question is if you are actually sick. As soon as people start to challenge their eating disorder and start to integrate food into their life their eating disorder starts making them question if they were ever really sick. The tricky thing with this is that living with an eating disorder is excruciating and as much as people want to get well, they also want to know that all this pain they have been going through was real.
So what does being well really look like?
Wellness means not having food control your life. It means eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. It is keeping food in your body instead of purging it. It is going out with friends for dinner and ordering the item you really feel like. It means not experiencing guilt, shame, sadness, anxiety, fear or any other emotion before or after eating food. It means treating your body with respect and knowing when it needs a break. It is exercising because it is fun and not because you are trying to obsessively burn calories. It is giving yourself permission to celebrate and enjoy positive things in your life. It is experiencing your feelings as they come up instead of pushing them down. It is taking part in the things in your life that bring you joy and engaging in your life as an active participant. It means giving yourself permission to love others but most importantly to love yourself.
If you are ever left questioning if you are really sick or if you actually have an eating disorder that is your eating disorder talking. It isn’t you and it definitely isn’t true. It is manipulating you as a way of trying to regain control and keep you sick.
Don’t let your eating disorder take away your journey. Take some time this weekend to acknowledge the strength you have and how hard you are working to be well. Know that I’m proud of you!