On a cold September morning in 2009, I sat in the bottom of the shower sobbing so hard I was almost sick. I wasn’t upset because someone had died, or was ill, or had been hurt in any way, I was crying because I had binged the night before and my morning weigh-in had shown the ugly results of my behaviour.
I remember that day as being the lowest point of my life — which might seem an odd when you consider the other things I’ve had to deal with — but it was only time I have felt like I couldn’t go on.
And I was right. I had to change the way I was living because I couldn’t keep dieting, exercising, bingeing and abusing laxatives any longer.
Six years later, those years of punishing myself seem like scenes from an experimental horror film. I am convinced that depriving my brain of the proper nutrients altered my brain chemistry, that my obsessive compulsion to be thin was a mental malfunction.
I guess that’s why eating disorders are classified as mental illnesses.
I vowed on that day in 2009 never to diet again and threw away my scales. Although the journey to recovery was harder than I anticipated and took longer than I thought, I can say with confidence that being diet sober is no longer a struggle.
I admit to the odd pang of desire to restrict once in a while, but I know now that it’s usually a sign of some other emotional upheaval in my life. 99.9% of the time I’m completely in love with the body I have.
Today I celebrate freedom from counting calories, from self-loathing and from perfectionism. These days, I am happier, healthier and sexier than ever before.
7 TIPS FOR EATING DISORDER RECOVERY
Throw away the scales – they will do your head in. You are so much more than a number.
Expect to put on weight – but it will probably only be temporary – embrace your weight increase by seeing it as your healing weight.
Explore plus size fashion – instead of looking at fitness models, check out the sexy, confident, sassy attitude of plus size women.
Don’t hide – adorn your body with statement jewelry, a beautiful handbag and wear bright colours. You’re allowed to be visible whatever size you are.
Don’t listen to fat talk – if your girlfriends are talking about their latest diet, ask them not to mention it around you.
Delete all your food and exercise boards on Pinterest. Do it now. Go on, I’m waiting.
Pamper yourself – get regular massages, manicures, or a new haircut.
I am grateful to have vanquished the eating disorder monster that used to live inside my head.
Everything tastes, smells, looks and sounds way better than being skinny ever felt.
Comments advocating diet and exercise regimes will be deleted from this post. This blog is a diet/exercise free zone.
28 thoughts on “Eating Disorder Recovery • Six Years of Sobriety + Seven Recovery Tips”
Yay!!! I hope to be where you are 6 years from now.
You know, if someone spoke to my daughter the words I’ve said to myself in my head, I’d beat them senseless. It’s amazing what changes on the outside of your head when you change what goes on inside of it.
Thanks for this!
Good luck lovely lady, and thanks for the inspiration to write this post. Please holler if you need a hand getting over the rough spots.
People think that these things are only the problems of teenage girls. I know that I’ve certainly fallen into defeating thoughts and disordered thinking since putting on some extra midlife pounds. You’re so right that dressing well helps – I have a real tendency to hold off on buying clothes until things are “perfect” and I’ve had to fight that and it really helps when I do. Congratulations!
Thanks Katy – putting an effort into feeling beautiful ‘right now’ really does make a big difference.
Congratulations on this Katie. Defeating any addiction is hard, and maintaining it is worthy of celebration. I don’t restrict food, but I don’t have a healthy relationship with my body at all. I am overweight and it bothers me every day. The irony is that even when I was a very normal healthy weight range, my body image was completely screwed. It’s important to read these kinds of posts – of woman who have found a way to loving their bodies. Thank you xx
Thank you Sarah. I hope you find a way to make peace with your beautiful body x
Thanks so much for your honesty in sharing – I LOVE your tips, especially throwing away a scale. I completely agree – Some numbers do matter for your health, like your blood pressure, your cholesterol, etc but the numbers on a scale mean nothing.
Thanks for the comment, Laurie.
Thank you for this post. I’m almost in my 30s and having an ED is no joke.
No, it’s a terrible illness that destroys lives. Thank you for your comment.
I like the way you’ve reversed that old WW’s slogan – “Everything tastes, smells, looks and sounds way better than being skinny ever felt.”
I was obsessed with dieting for YEARS. Really obsessed. I fretted about everything I ate, tried every diet under the sun, weighed myself every day, etc. These days, 20 pounds heavier, I am over it. Not that I wouldn’t like to lose weight, but dieting doesn’t rule my life anymore. I focus more on eating healthy with the occasional splurge.
Food obsession isn’t any fun. A few extra pounds is worth the price of freedom, if you ask me.
Yes, the scale can be a cruel task master. I haven’t stepped on mine in months. I guess I go by the fit of my clothes and eat healthy. After a certain age, trying to lose one pound (let alone 10) is a Herculean task. After a while, its just easier to accept ourselves.
Agreed, Laurie. We’re still the same inside no matter what our outsides look like.
Congratulations on 6 years! My sister had eating disorders too so I know what it’s like to watch someone I love go through that and I am so happy you found your way out of it. My sister did too, after her daughter started doing the same thing when she was only 8 years old. It woke my sister up and it took a lot of work but she turned it around and I am so proud of her. Again, Congrats!!! Visiting from #blogsharelearn
What wonderful news about your sister and that she had your support.
Great post and congratulations. I have lived with anorexia my whole adult life, spent time in hospital and eating disorders units, seen it destroy my relationships, my friendships and my happiness. Since the birth of my youngest children I have finally accepted that my body is amazing, it gave me five amazing children and being healthy is much more important than being thin. It’s hard, its an on-going battle and yet I have finally got there, just working hard to maintain it. Congratulations again, youre amazing! #blogsharelearn
Congratulations to you too — it’s not easy keeping the monster away and I applaud anyone who is up for the fight.
I was one of those skinny people who never thought twice about weight or what I ate until midlife, and then some pounds crept on, especially after menopause. I vacillate between wanting to lose 5 or 10 pounds, and then saying f*** it; as long as I’m healthy, eat sensibly and my clothes fit well enough, why deprive myself? So I’m mostly at peace with my body…hey, it’s gotten me this far, right?
I imagine it must be hard watching your body change when you’re used to being naturally thin. Well done on being so relaxed about it – great work!
I’ve been right there with you sister!! I had exercise bulimia, used laxatives & diet pills, binged and ate compulsively for many years. I finally got my power over it instead of letting it control me. Checking out some of your other posts now. Great to find your blog!
Thanks for dropping by, Debbie. I love hearing success stories – congratulations.
I am glad you recovered from your eating disorder katie. Now matter how long been the journey towards recovery was, it’s all worth it. You serve as an inspiration to other people who are still struggling with their eating disorders. You are a proof that recovery is possible. I enjoyed reading this article. Keep being happy and being healthy.
Thank you, and thank you for the work you do helping others get better too.
Katie, this is such a valuable post…for me personally (I’ve come back to it a few times now), for others who are struggling with ED’s, and (I imagine) for you too.
I’m not there yet, but I am getting there…I’m so glad for you, congratulations on your 6years +.
Thank you so much for writing this! I am struggling with my recovery, and things like this help keep me on track. Thank you for being brave enough to share.
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