So, you’ve embarked on the journey to recovery from an eating disorder. First and foremost: congratulations! Secondly, good luck! Recovering from an ED will most likely be the most difficult thing you have ever had to do, however, it is also the most worthwhile journey you can take. In 10 years time, you’ll be thanking yourself.
1. Expect to fail.
Why? because you will fail. You will fall and relapse and stumble and trip. You will. When I first committed to recovery way back in 2012 I saw a future for myself where I would eat every meal and snack on my meal plan, exercise appropriately and never weigh myself again. I failed again and again.
That’s alright. It really is. We (myself included) have to see failure as simply another step to where we want to be. Just because we fail once, twice, two thousand times does not mean we will always fail. You just gotta keep trying and eventually you get there. We must fail in order to succeed. Besides, we’re human- we’re not perfect.
2. Expect chaos.
Embrace it. The sooner you do this, the better. Leading on from my previous point, recovery is messy. One day you’ll be doing great then for the next three every mouthful of food will be a struggle. It can vary minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour.
Don’t expect your day, your intake or your mood to be neat and tidy or to follow a set path. It’ll be up and down and inside out and somehow, you must learn to accept it.
P.S. if you can do this, it will put you in good stead for life because life in general really is chaotic and it is random and unpredictable. Being able to throw your hands up and go, what’s next muthafucka is a fine quality. Really.
3. Expect to be exhausted.
Recovery is hard and you have to work for it every second of every day. No joke. Sometimes, you will be extremely lethargic and this will be a combination of weight restoration and emotional stress.
Changing how you think is not easy, altering your perception of yourself isn’t either and nor is working to overthrow an entire belief system (which you are likely to have functioned on your whole life!).
You’re relearning how to eat and how to live. You’re also learning a hell of a lot about yourself and how you think and see yourself.
4. Expect to grow.
And no, I’m not talking about your waistline. Sooner or later, after the endless fights with yourself, after the therapy, after the pep-talks, after the tears, you will change. You will grow as a person, in ways you thought you wouldn’t. You’ll grow in confidence and yes, if you stick at it long enough, your priorities will change.
That was the most awe striking moment for me. When I had more important things to do than to lose weight; when I began to care about my education, even my health, more than I cared to be ‘thin’, I began to see progress.
And it was the best feeling in the world.
Recovery from an eating disorder isn’t just about the weight gain and your attitude towards food. It’s a complete overhaul of your being, you shed your old skin and become something more. Of course, the essence of who you are remains, but it becomes more refined, it shines brighter and it beams out of every crevice. You become who you are truly meant to be.
*Recovery was the best decision I have ever made.
I hope you’re making it too.