Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2012: Choosing Recovery

It's the first day of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, 2012.
Let's talk about RECOVERY...

What is an Eating Disorder?

eating disorder
Function: noun
: any of several psychological disorders (as anorexia nervosa or bulimia) characterized by serious disturbances of eating behavior

Eating disorders involve extreme behaviors, attitudes, and feelings surrounding food, weight, and body image which are harmful to a person's health and well-being.

Eating disorders are dangerous and can be fatal.

Though someone may be suffering from one eating disorder, they may also exhibit behaviors /traits of other eating disorders (or trade one eating disorder for another).
Eating Disorders Symptoms
Do I have an eating disorder? (self-assessment tests)

Is Recovery Possible?

Many, many people have recovered from their eating disorder and gone on to live healthily and happily. It takes time. It's a process. You can expect to experience ups and downs along the way but it is definitely possible.

What defines Recovery from an Eating Disorder?

Opinions vary, both medically and individually, but my favorite description of recovery is found in the book 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder: Effective Strategies from Therapeutic Practice and Personal Experience by Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Grabb. It says;
Being recovered is when the person can accept his or her natural body size and shape and no longer has a self-destructive relationship with food or exercise. When you are recovered, food and weight take a proper perspective in your life, and what you weigh is not more important than who you are; in fact, actual numbers are of little or no importance at all. When recovered, you will not compromise your health or betray your soul to look a certain way, wear a certain size, or reach a certain number on the scale. When you are recovered, you do not use eating disorder behaviors to deal with, distract from, or cope with other problems.

 Why would I want to Recover? What are the benefits? 

The benefits are too many to list in full. Here are just a few:
  • Increased Energy
  • A better sense of self
  • Self-respect
  • Self-acceptance
  • Self-confidence
  • Being more comfortable around others
  • Being more comfortable in your own body
  • Physical and emotional strength
  • Feeling more peaceful
  • Increased passion for life
  • A better appreciation for your body
  • A more comfortable relationship with food
  • Better relationships with family and friends
  • Better physical and emotional health
  • Healthier hair, skin, and nails
  • Longer life expectancy 
  • A more loving relationship with yourself 
...and the list goes on and on.

What steps do I need to take to Recover? 

The first step is admitting that you have an eating disorder.
The second step is to decide that you want to recover.
Step three is to find professional eating disorder treatment.

There are several options available for professional help in recovering.

Here are a couple of  resources to help you with deciding your plan of action for recovery:
Something Fishy
Help Guide. org

 Check out the non-profit org, Mentor Connect for recovery mentoring. It's free.

Here is a list of more Eating Disorder Organizations and websites that you can contact for help and info.

What can I do, in addition to professional eating disorder treatment, to enhance my recovery efforts?
here are a few suggestions:

  • surround yourself with positive, loving, supportive people
  • journal
  • use positive affirmations each morning, at bedtime, and throughout the day.
  • join a support group
  • visit positive recovery forums and sites
  • take time for yourself
  • be forgiving, kind, and loving to yourself
  • be patient
  • take a step back, and rethink before reacting
  • make a relapse prevention plan
  • take care of yourself
  • nurture your mind, your body, and your spirit, daily
  • volunteer/help others

 I asked readers three questions about recovery:

1.What has recovery meant for you?
2.What are the benefits of recovery?
3.How did you deal with your emotions when ED was speaking louder than your recovery?

Here are their amazing and insightful answers:

A said:
Recovery for me has been an awakening of my real and authentic self. I lived for so long in the grips of ED and yearning for approval and acceptance from others. I was constantly looking outwards and thought that if I could fix the external aspects of myself, somehow I would be happy. Once I admitted to myself that I needed help and asked for it, I realized that the only way to happiness was to seek within first. 

The days when ED yelled in my head and tried to break me down, I yelled back and constantly challenged my distorted thoughts. With the help of a wonderful therapist, family, and friends, I began to see that ED was very simple, black-and-white, and that I wasn't any of those things. 

The benefits of recovery are that I actually accept and like myself just as I am. I am my own best friend instead of my own worst enemy. Most days I can see myself clearly and I am beautiful, inside and outside. Recovery for me is about choosing love and life, and I have never looked back.

S said:
I want to be in healthy relationships with those close to me. I want companionship but I also want the capability to live alone. I want to use food as fuel not as an emotional crutch. I want to have a healthy body, regardless of its size. I want to be okay with the resulting size.

I want to sprint towards life, not away from death. I want to run a marathon and be healthy enough to do so. I want to compete in challenges regardless of fear of failure. I want to chase down every dream and capture them. I want to live.

L said: Recovery means peace and freedom to me. The benefits are wonderful - no more shouting in my head, able to work, smiling and laughing without the guilt, meeting friends for a cheeky drink or two etc.

When my ed spoke louder than my recovery I did my best to not respond. It was a struggle to get through the days without giving into it but I wanted to prove it wrong. So I did :)

B said:
Recovery means to be me that i will be strong (mentally and physically) and healthy. Recovery will allow me to love myself and my body and accept that i can not be perfect because no one actually is. Recovery shows me everyday that i can do anything.

The benefit of recovery is that i will be happy and truly learn to love life and myself. I have learned that being a smaller size is not a good thing, and a healthy size is a good thing.

I've learned to say, "No, I'm not listening to you" or "You already said that." I deal with my emotions by repeating positive quotes or watching a pro-recovery video on youtube. I've found that writing down all the negative comments my ED makes and then counteracting them with positive ones is the best. But, above all, i refuse to restrict and let my ED win me over because I'm stronger than that.

K said:
  I am not in recovery yet, in all reality I think I'm relapsing, but I still have my hopes and dreams. Recovery means freedom and time. Freedom to think about things. Freedom to act with integrity to myself. Freedom to not hide myself. It will mean all the time I spend obsessing about my disordered behaviours can be spent on the life I want to live.

One day - this ED won't even be an option for me. I'll face stressful situations with a healthy set of coping skills. At the moment my flirtations with recovery, ED has still been an option. But I want to fight this, I need to fight this, so one day I'll look back at the journey I've taken and know I'll never go back.

Life with an ED is a half life, a life in the shadows. I want more. I will get there. There isn't an alternative.

Choose Recovery! When you have an eating disorder, recovery is the most important factor in being able to live a healthy, happier life... to living the life you deserve. Recovery will cause the world to open up wide so that you can experience it completely and enjoy the life you desire for yourself.

see sidebar menu for more recovery inspiration
©Weighing The Facts

 8 keys to recovery excerpt


Anonymous said...

In valuable advice thank you

MrsMenopausal said...

Thank you, anonymous. :)

Anonymous said...

A great thing would be to have this as some sort of poster or a selection of cards to print off and stick somewhere?! Brilliant

MrsMenopausal said...

Thanks :)