A while back, I came across a photo of myself and three friends at a holiday celebration. It was taken 7 or 8 years before. There we were, all huddled together with our arms around each other, smiling for the picture. My first thought when I looked at the picture was, “Wow, I looked great then, wish I could still fit into that shirt.” Just a mindless thought that came and went.
After that, I spent several days trying to decide if it was a good idea to start counting calories. I revived a fitness tracking app deleted from my phone a few years ago. Then I started to enter my meals into the app ‘just to see’ the calories I was consuming. I then entered my exercise data into the app to get a truer picture. Satisfied that I could track my calories and exercise to help me ‘get healthier,’ I stepped on a scale…
The goal when I started this journey was to stabilize my relationship with food. But the thing that spurred me to even start the journey was, ironically, the underlying desire to be thin. And even though I have spent much of the last four years crusading about being diet free and accepting my body, I am as susceptible to this culture of thinness as anyone else.
My hypothesis has been that if you come to terms with your body; that is, accept it for what it is and honor your hunger, you will not consume more than what your body needs. And I still believe this to be true.
Maybe it’s pandemic fatigue, watching too many videos, or a realization that I am at an age I used to think of as ‘pretty darn old’, but I sometimes feel like I want to be thinner. Whatever it is, I have learned one thing in the past four years -no matter what happens, everything will be okay.
Life after an eating disorder is not all perfect eating and a slim body. But it is a beginning of self love, self awareness. By becoming less focused on yourself and your struggles, you start to realize where you belong in the universe instead of thinking of yourself as a misfit or abnormal in some way.
It doesn’t mean that you’ll be perfectly happy with your body everyday or that you will never have doubts about the way you eat. Your perfection will be in your acceptance of yourself and others just as you are, just as they are. And accepting the the doubts and working through them will reinforce a faith in yourself.
And for the times you make bad decisions or do stupid things, like step on a scale, you will realize this number doesn’t rule you. Its all part of life and it doesn’t make you bad or any less valuable than anyone else. It makes you human.
…If I can overcome years of eating disorders – you can too….start here – Bingefree- First Steps