Warning: this is the epicest of epic reads. But please stick with it: I found it useful, and I'm sure you will too!
Tomorrow I have a call with a company offering private therapy for disordered eating. Before I get any help, I really want to be clear in my head all the reasons why I'm doing this. Why exactly do I want to recover? I’ve found the last few days quite tough, having negative and disordered thoughts, and feeling the urge to skip meals and minimise my eating.I know times like that are going to keep happening throughout recovery, and probably for the rest of my life (every woman has moments of self-doubt!) and I need my reasons for getting better to be screaming over the top of those negative thoughts.
So here is why I want to get better and what I hope to achieve through recovery - every one of us will have our own individual and special reasons, otherwise we'd all just follow a recovery text book:
- 1) Re-evaluation of what’s important in life: I want to get my life back and be able to focus on things other than just the amount of calories I’m eating, how much fat I can feel on my arms, whether I look smaller or larger than every other person in the history of the world (the list goes on). I want to be able to think about the things that ARE important in life: loved ones, living life to the full, enjoying everything there is to offer, and offering everything I have to give.
2) Become the person I’m meant to be: When you’re so preoccupied with food and body image you are not giving yourself the space to be able to grow and do all the amazing things that you’re able to do. Whether it’s to progress in your career, sustain meaningful relationships, or just being present enough in life to smile at a passing stranger. All of those things are being denied to us by thinking about food.
3) Give my family back the person they’re missing: Recently my Mum said that I had not been the Emma they know and love for many years. Here I am thinking that I’m trying to be the best version of myself, and actually to my family and loved ones I’m doing the opposite. The best version of me was wasting away, not just the physical me, everything about me. I don’t want them to feel like they’ve lost their daughter anymore.
4) Improved relationships: Not only have I taken away someone that my family once knew, but I have lost and damaged many relationships. I want to try and regain some of those previous friendships, be better at the ones I currently have, and not curse any future friendships.
5) More energy: When I got anaemic people were so surprised at how well I coped without having any energy. And it’s because at the worst of my disordered eating I felt that lethargic all the time. I was used to it! But the difference I notice just between eating 600 and 1,000kcal is amazing – I feel like I could spend the entire day running! Imagine how good that would be if I was eating how much I actually should be eating!
6) Better work: There are times when I can’t focus, am preoccupied by eating thoughts, or make stupid decisions at work as a result of my disordered eating. Getting over this is a sure-fire way of doing a better job for my company.
7) More self-esteem and improved body image: I’m not sure how easy this will be, as obviously I’m going to put on weight and changing my thoughts about myself may be tricky. Learning to love yourself takes time, but I will get there eventually!
8) Getting in the kitchen: I’m often scared to get in the kitchen and cook a proper meal, or restrict myself to certain recipes which I know are low calorie. Yet I love being in the kitchen, particularly baking! I want to be able to do something I enjoy without feeling guilty, and learn new recipes that are going to nourish my body.
9) Trying new foods: Similar to the above, there are certain foods or meals that I would avoid due to thinking of them as high calorie. But I could be missing out on the yummiest dishes ever!
10) Going with the flow and being more relaxed: With food I am so rigid. It needs to be something I know, that fits into my calorie allowance – anything unexpected freaks me out. And this often makes what I do in the day quite rigid and planned. What about if I fancy changing my meal at the last minute, or I randomly decide to go out for dinner? No siree, not unless I want to spiral into panic.
11) Avoid sending damaging messages to others: I often forget that people observe what I’m doing and either compare what they eat to what I'm eating, or think what I’m doing is healthy. IT’S NOT! And I don’t want to be the reason others start eating like me.
12) Intuitive eating: I want to have a normal relationship with food, so that I trust my body to tell me how hungry it is, what it’s craving, and then I eat to fit with that. That’s how we’re naturally meant to be!
13) Stop calorie counting: Man this just takes so much time, and if I’m doing the above I shouldn’t need to be doing this!
14) Being able to go to social situations: Like I said above, I avoid these like the plague as I fear having to eat something, and I just don’t have the self-confidence to feel comfortable around people full stop.
15) Stop binging: Who wanted want to stop this?!
16) NOURISH MY BODY: Get rid of the rubbish, processed, nutritionally-empty foods and eat foods and nutrients that my body actually needs! Hopefully this will help with some of the following problems:
- Dry skin
- Fungal nail infection
- Improved circulation/ less Raynaud's syndrome symptoms
- Stronger hair/less breakages
- Digestion/ being more "regular"/ reducing bloating
- Improved sleep
- Anaemia and B12 full recovery
- Stronger nails
- Proper and regular periods
- Less cellulite caused by metabolic damage (and better metabolism generally)
And what arguments do I have to continue with disordered eating? Well:
1) I might get thinner than everyone else - and look like a skeleton
2) It might show I can exercise self-control and also gives me control over something in an unpredictable world - but surely seeking help is me gaining control over a disorder that might make me think I'm in control, but actually is controlling me?
3) People might be impressed – really?! Impressed by me looking ill and having the wrong values in life?!
4) Clothes will look better – you can look good in clothes whatever your shape. It’s all about dressing for your body shape and wearing the clothes with self-confidence
5) Be the best that I can be – as explained above, I can’t do this when my thoughts and efforts are so focused on eating
6) My disordered eating defines me. Who will I be without it? – We are all so much than what we eat! Those of us with disordered eating may feel like us and our eating are one, but disordered eating is a parasite which eats away at our personalities. But get rid of the disordered eating, and we get ourselves and more back!
So, not only do the number of reasons for wanting to get better far outweigh the reasons I would want to stay ill, but the reasons for maintaining my disordered eating don’t even make sense! And I bet if every one of us sat down and wrote down all the reasons we should stop worrying about our weight, and all the reasons to keep on obsessing, then you’d all find the same things. Try it, and I bet it will revolutionise your thinking, and may also help you stay strong through recovery.
I know I now feel more confident going into this call tomorrow, and sure that I’m making the right decision seeking this help :)
Hope you all have great days!