Just over 2 weeks ago I wrote this post after my latest bout of eating disorder behaviour. I had spiralled with anxiety and my inner critic, and the world was spinning around me.
Writing is my way of making it stop, hitting the reset button and getting on with life again. I actually have instructions from my therapist to keep writing – how cool is that? YES PLEASE!
Anyway, I figured it was time for a bit of an update on how things have been travelling since. The last thing I wrote in the post was this:
– Sign back up for weight watchers (make myself accountable for food and find good healthy recipes)
– In bed asleep by 9pm
– Awake by 5am to run or walk on the treadmill
– 10mins meditation a day
– Strength exercises before I go to bed
Anything else I achieve around that is a win. I need to start being kind to myself.
I did it – I was kind to myself!
I didn’t achieve everything on the list, in fact I think I only did the first two. They made all the difference though. I feel like I’ve finally started to make ground in making healthier, better choices for myself and if it doesn’t go to plan, I’m forgiving myself!
For example this weekend just past was my hubby’s birthday weekend. We’re in lockdown at the moment (thanks Covid) so we couldn’t go anywhere (we had several dinner plans with families etc). Instead we stayed home and tried to make it a super fun weekend. I gave my hubby as much free time as I could so that he could spend time on his hobbies.
He tinkered with the lawn mowers, and he cooked up an absolute storm! He loves to cook, and so over the course of two days he made smoked ribs, pizza in the pizza oven, and mushroom risotto. It was quite the feast! And instead of thinking about how much I ate (or restricted myself from eating), or what I needed to do to counter the calories, I just enjoyed time with the family. I was grateful for my husband’s happiness, and the time we all spent together at home.
Most importantly I’ve cut back on the sweet foods. It’s been an easier decision because I just keep thinking about the sugar hangover photo, and how it’s just not worth it. I just don’t want to do it to myself!
The thing that I’ve been trying to say to myself is there’s no right or wrong foods. There’s no “bad” foods. There’s just food that makes my body feel good, and there’s food that makes my body feel horrific. And so I’m just naturally drawn away from the foods that don’t make me feel good. I really love how joining weight watchers has aligned with that – there’s no restrictions. I’m not “missing out”, I just don’t want it.
So what’s the “nearly there” moment about?
In one of our latest ED group sessions we had a guest speaker telling us about her journey. We had questions afterwards and I asked her “when did you know you were in recovery?” She talked about how she knew when she realised she was forgiving of herself, that she had respect for her body etc. I asked if it meant she never engaged in ED behaviour, and she said that there are the rare times that she does, and that “she’s only human”. But it’s about acknowledging it happened, forgiving herself and then taking care of herself to replace whatever need the ED behaviour had fulfilled. It’s about the longevity of it. This is a life-long thing, and there’s never a black and white line you cross to say you’re in recovery, that life is magical from that point on and you never have to worry about it. It’s still on her mind every day. Yet she is much better at acknowledging it, stopping it from happening, and has a healthy relationship with food. Finally, she said there was a day where she just knew that she was there. That she was in recovery.
It felt like something clicked in my head, and I started crying.
It made me realise that I am a lot further down this path than I had been. That ED behaviour that I had written about was a set back, but it didn’t mean I had hit reset altogether. It was just another learning opportunity where I acknowledged it and took care of myself straight after.
I’m so freaking proud of myself. I reached a whole new step of this journey.
I don’t feel comfortable saying that I’m in recovery yet, I think it’s too early, and I’m just on the up of the rollercoaster ride again. Yet I think the last 8 months that I’ve spent working on my mental health is showing. I’ve been listening, reflecting, and meditating (though not as often as I should). I’m finally making some ground! I mean, we’re in lock down right now and I’m not trying to eat away my anxiety!
To anyone that’s battling an eating disorder, I cannot recommend Eating Disorders Queensland highly enough. You will meet some amazing people (both therapists and regular people like yourself). I have gotten so much out of it, and more than anything, I think I’m going to be a better friend as well – I listen a lot better.
And for anyone struggling, I am always here for you.
So….now to keep being nice to myself, treating my body well, and keep going on this path!