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) 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 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 and recovery into their lives their eating disorder starts making them question if they ever really struggled in the first place . 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 check the list above and see if you can do those things with ease. Your eating disorder isn’t you and the messages it tells you definitely aren’t true. It is manipulating you as a way of trying to regain control and keep you sick. Keep focusing on the things you most want (and deserve) out of life that are about you as a person. One foot in front of the other and recovery, but even more so your life, will be yours to celebrate.