It’s unfortunate, really – to the eating disorder, anyhow. But recovery can’t happen without giving it everything. Challenging everything. Challenging every single behaviour that your eating disorder has ever inflicted upon you, and choosing, each and every time and in each and every moment, to not engage in that particular behaviour.
I’m not only talking about binging or purging, laxative abuse, overexercising or restricting. No, I’m talking about all the seemingly unimportant, irrelevant things. I’m talking about all of the rules that come along with the eating disorder – perhaps avoiding certain foods, or eating at particular times. Even eating the same things day in, day out because everything else is scary. Maybe it’s still calorie counting, or measuring your cereal and milk each morning. Perhaps it’s eating slowly, or cutting your food up into small pieces or counting bites or wearing clothes that hide your body because you’re still too afraid of what people will think of you – and judge you accordingly. And still despising every facet of your body and desiring, more than anything, to go back to your old, eating disordered ways. Maybe it’s only eating alone, never with others. Or maybe it’s that you never go out for meals because it’s only you, and you alone that can cook for you. Lastly, maybe it’s still manipulating your weight in some apparently teeny tiny, unimportant way, cutting corners whenever necessary, or increasing your incidental exercise wherever possible in an attempt to burn up more energy – and thus never letting your body find its ACTUAL set-point.
The thing about eating disorders is that they revolve so very much around rules and rigidity, control and comfort zones. And as difficult as it is, recovery is about LETTING GO of those behaviours, letting go of the things that the eating disorder is still latched on to. It’s incredibly difficult and involves much distress and discomfort, but the thing about recovering from an eating disorder is that it never will be comfortable. It never will be easy, at least to begin with anyway. And the only right time to start recovery and to give it 100% of yourself is right NOW.
I’m not saying that one is going to let go of these behaviours overnight. Let’s be realistic here: it ain’t going to happen. But the key step in beginning to challenge and eventually let go of the rules and routines is to identify them and implement various strategies to challenge and, ultimately, overcome the rigidity the eating disorder inflicts upon the individual.
So. What aspects of your eating disorder are you still adhering to?