Why do we equate our worth to our weight? Why do we let a number become the measure of a successful life? When you have an eating disorder weight feels like your entire world, everything and anything we do is done for our weight. Nothing is as important as weight feels. Our brains become hyperaware of how we feel and everything we feel is dictated by our weight. We have conditioned our brains over time to believe the eating disorder thoughts that tell us that weight gain equals failure and pain. Eating more will always equate to weight gain, that is the eating disorder rule. But is it? Is it really?
During the initially stages of my recovery eating more actually lead to me losing weight, even though it felt like I had gained weight. You see your brain has been conditioned to feel that increased food equals weight gain regardless of what the evidence shows. Logic holds no place in the world of an eating disorder. The body and mind are separate and often what the body needs is not what the brain wants. Food is fuel. What we don’t realise in recovery is that food is actually what helps us feel better, but our brain won’t let us believe that. An eating disorder thrives off control and this is totally lost when trying to recover. This is exactly why during recovery you have to continue pushing, continue challenging your eating disorder beliefs and behaviours so they no longer control you. Stop following your feelings and start following the facts.
The fact is that increased nutrition and a more balanced diet will help improve your energy levels, cognitive abilities, mood and overall health. You may or may not gain weight. More often than not you will naturally gain weight because often eating disorder suffers are under weight, but with that weight gain you will also get to gain your life back. Weight gain is irrelevant to recovery. Challenging your eating disorder beliefs and behaviours are essential. You are worth so much more than your eating disorder. So stop letting your eating disorder define you.
In fact stop thinking about weight all together. Weight is nothing but a measurement of mass NOT worth. In recovery we need to focus on moving forward, moving beyond a world of numbers about calories and weight. More often than not people are able to initially challenge these thoughts and they increase the food intake, decrease the exercise, potentially increase the weight and usually they feel a bit better. So then they stop. They stop at that point in recovery where it’s maintainable and feels attainable, they feel better so there is no need to keep going to keep challenging. It’s as though you come to a place of co-existences with your eating disorder. You are allowed to live your life and your eating disorder is allowed to stay. You eat enough but you still track calories, you eat enough but you still excessively exercise, you eat enough but only certain foods, and you see your life becomes this thing of BUTS. You are recovered BUT you still have an eating disorder. You still have that familiar comfort that go to in case anything in life is to go wrong or gets too hard. But you see that’s not real recovery, being stuck in that maintainable but miserable in-between of recovery, that’s not living. You need to keep going, keep fighting and challenging even when it feels impossible.
Take a moment to think how much better your life actually is when you are not starving yourself, excessively exercising or binging and purging. Really think. When you are not totally consumed by your eating disorder habits you actually have some time to live a life. Yes during recovery it still feels miserable and uncomfortable and it is hard as hell but your life actually is better than before. It is better than when you spend all day obsessing over exactly how many calories to eat, what time to eat, when to exercise, how much exercise, should you binge or shouldn’t you, and if you do then should you purge. Every day is another day closer to it one day being too much, it’s almost like playing a game to see when your body gives up even when your mind keeps playing. Whereas when your in recovery there is at least less chance of you being admitted into hospital permanently and wasting more time of your precious life. You have the potential of a life when you are in recovery and that is an incredible achievement because you were strong enough to challenge your eating disorder beliefs and behaviours. So does it not make logical sense that even though you may be at a this maintainable point of recovery, where your not sick but not better, that IF you continue to challenge your eating disorder beliefs and behaviours and keep fighting that your life should also continue to improve?
Yes there is no guarantee that there is this amazing life out there for you. But if you look at the facts it is simple, if you don’t challenge your eating disorder if you don’t try to recover you will continue to get sicker maybe lose weight but no guarantee, until eventually you get sick enough that you either end up in hospital or dead. That is the only guaranteed outcome of your eating disorder. NOW if you try challenging those thoughts and rules of your eating disorder every single day when you choose recovery, then you are faced with endless possibilities. Because if you committee to recovery and everything that comes with it such as adequate nutrition, potential weight gain, minimal exercise, and constant challenging of thoughts and behaviour, THEN you have the chance of a life. A life out of hospital, you have a chance to be happy whatever that may mean for you and as you begin to slowly build yourself a life during recovery your eating disorder will slowly drift away. Your mind will no longer be consumed by food and weight concerns instead you will be thinking about living. Thinking about your friends, your job, your hobbies, traveling opportunities and more. By giving the uncertainty of recovery a chance you are giving yourself the certainty of living.
Do not settle for being some what recovered. Keep fighting, keep challenging those eating disorder thoughts and behaviours until you don’t have them at all. Until they are replaced with new beautiful beliefs of hope and possibility. Replace your eating disorder with your life. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it. The only way to get better is to keep going because the alternative of being ‘sick’ again, restricting again, binging and purging again that all only leads to one result, no life and no possibility. You will never be enough for your eating disorder and that is NOT because you are not enough. You are ALWAYS enough. So stop letting your eating disorder tell you how to live your life because that is not living. Start challenging your eating disorder and keep challenging it until you start living! xx