How was everyone’s holiday and new year’s celebrations? I’ll be honest with you guys I am a little tired after it all but I really truly enjoyed the entire season.
This time of year is always so beautiful, filled with family, friends and food. But man the food. I know first-hand how that part can really steal our joy if we have an unbalanced relationship with it.
My obsession with food and my body cost me many things in life including my attention and happiness. I was never fully present in any interaction because I was so in my head planning out what to eat or not eat, figuring out how to hide the fact that I might throw up and thinking about the size of my body.
This year, like every year, my mom made loads of homemade cookies. I had 5 of them while at her house for Christmas. In the past that would have made me feel so guilty and shameful, to the point of choosing to binge on 5 more because I already ruined the plan to not eat cookies in the first place. Then I would most likely follow this with throwing up from my fear of getting fat.
It was the same cycle I went through any time I ate a food that I considered bad or off-limits. It was all so out of control.
I realized while having a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie (my favorite) that it has been just over 4 years since I have fully recovered from my eating disorder and how different things are internally now. Although on the surface people might not be able to see the transformation, on the inside everything has shifted.
There was a time in my life where I thought it impossible to eat a cookie and be ok about it, just you know, eat a damn cookie and move on with my life. But now that it is a reality it moves me to want to help others break free from food prison because I know how good it is on the outside.
But getting out means something has to give…, something, or well a lot of things have to change.
Below are the first 5 steps to take if you want to recover from an eating disorder. These are of course my opinion of what worked for me and I do genuinely hope they make a difference for you.
1. Commit to Change
I believe that our eating disorders are in many ways there for a reason. We developed them as a coping mechanism to help get us through some challenging times in our life. But in order to leave them behind we have to be ready to let go of them and trust that we have the strength to swim through life’s rough waters without them.
Part of that process is commiting ourselves to doing what ever it takes to build up whatever part of us that is supported by our eating disorder. And to do that we have to jump into recovery with every fiber of our being.
This first step works best when you make it tangible in some way. Write it in a journal, tell a trusted friend or ally. Make it known by speaking your truth out loud to the universe; you are finally ready for change, for recovery. It just can’t be said in your head to yourself. It doesn’t hold the same power that way.
Bring the commitment to life through your speaking, then be your word and have integrity with it.
2. Take Mindset Medicine
Lousie Hay famously said “The only diet you need to go on is one free from negative self talk” and she is absolutely correct.
Our thoughts effect our actions because each thought is a cause that has an effect on how we show up and treat ourselves. It is crucial that we change our mindset and self talk to one that is aligned with getting over our eating disorders.
Start by telling yourself that you are worthy, enough, beautiful, strong and absolutely have all the ability to recover. Remember to treat yourself with compassion, love and empathy.
Say affirmations to yourself even if you do not fully believe them yet. The more you say them the more real they will become. Some of my favorites are “I am enough,” “I am loveable,” “I am safe,” “I am whole.” Use those or pick ones that feel authentic to you.
If you feel lost, ask yourself what it is you feel that you lack and then tell youself that you have it. No really, do it.
If you feel ugly, tell yourself you are beautiful, if you feel like your body is a dangerous place, tell yourself you are safe. if you feel like you are unworthy tell yourself you are worthy and so on. Just do it, I know it’s not easy but it’s necessary.
3. Clean Up Your Enviorment
This is so dang important babes and I believe there are zero free passes with this one. Creating an enviornment condusive to recovery is mandatory. You can not recover from an eating disorder if you keep putting salt into the wound.
Let me tell you a little story. When I decided I was ready for recovery I was a Womens Contemporary Fashion Buyer. Part of my job was to look at fashion magazines, models off duty and fashion bloggers to discover trends for next season and what to buy to stock our store with. Staring at skinny beautiful women all day was not helping my self-esteem or my desire to abuse my body and soul with food.
It was like a recovering alcoholic working in a bar. The two were not in alignment.
I knew that in order to repair my body image issues and relationship with food I had to have integrity with what I ingested. Not only what I ate but the media I consumed.
So I quit my job.
I left the fashion industry, a career I went to school for and worked for free for many years as an intern but it contributed to my eating disorder and I knew it. So it had to go. It wasn’t easy at all to leave it behind. I cried everyday for weeks while looking for other jobs that wouldn’t be in direct opposition to my recovery.
Then I threw out every single magazine I owned, stop buying tabloids (they are filled with negative crap anyways) and got rid of cable TV . Continuing to work in an industry and consume media that added fuel to the fire was counter productive to what I was trying to do.
Whatever in your life contributes to you not honoring yourself and your journey to recovery has got to go.
Throw away and stop buying unhealthy foods that you binge on and instead fill your house up with life force giving foods, dump the boyfriend who isn’t supportive, ditch the friendships that don’t lift you up, stop watching the TV shows, reading the blogs, looking at magazines, following instagram models, quit that job at the restaurant that serves unhealthy triggering foods that lead to binges,- whatever it is that makes you feel unattractive and gets you stuck in a comparison trap doesn’t support your journey to recovery.
We have to create space in our life for recovery by removing the things that do not serve our highest self.
4. Talk to Someone
Ladies, we have the gift of gab.
Expressing ourselves and talking through what we are dealing with is in our DNA. Tell someone so they can check in on you and hold you accountable to transforming your relationship with food. Tell someone so you can stop hiding. Tell someone so you can release it and let go of it. DM someone on IG, google a support group, reach out to a health coach, confide in a best friend or find a therapist.
I joined an eating disorder support group, participated in ABA and saw a therapist. Talking is part of the healing process, I promise. Find a trusted outlet and let everything flow out of you.
5. Be Patient and Let Go of Expectations
Recovery is not a straight line and it is messy as fuck. I know its challenging but the sooner you let go of expectations and perfection the better. Focus on progress and self love. Have compassion and empathy. Remember that it is a practice and it gets easier over time.
It took me three years from the day I decided to recover to the last day I threw up a meal or starved myself intentionally. I believe that our recovery time is correlated with how long we had an eating disorder. The longer you suffered, the longer the string of knots you have to untie so give yourself permission to take the time you need. Go at your own pace but have the tenacity and self love to keep going even if you have a relapse or set back. Be brave and bold, just keep going. It is so so worth it.
Deep inside of you there is a badass, strong and beautiful woman. Lets bring her back to life. What do you say?
I hope this was helpful, please leave me a comment or send me DM on IG if you have any questions or need someone to talk to. Sending you a virtual kiss.