Recovery IS Possible
I am often asked if true recovery from an eating disorder is real. Secondly, how did I do it? I am going to break it down with candor, while trying to economize my words.
If you have followed me for a while or ever heard me speak, you know that in most of my twenties, behind closed doors, I struggled with Bulimia. Had I been diagnosed today the term would have been Anorexia Binge-Purge Subtype. For those of you wondering what that diagnosis means, my overt behaviors were as follows. Note 1: Potential trigger, read with caution. Note 2: I unintentionally had a pattern, which is not uncommon:
- High Restriction, specifically keeping calories very low for at least 1-2 weeks.
- Followed by an unplanned-uncontrollable Binge episode, defined as a strong urge to eat in mass quantity, leading to a rapid consumption of 3,000-10,000 calories.
- Purging after the Binge.
- Back to a period of Restriction.
This was my typical pattern for almost seven years before finding an amazing therapist. And, even my best friend had no idea. She said to me later, and I quote, “I had no clue. You have always been that person who I thought was perfect.” Her statement really hit me because perfection was my goal, yet in reality I was a complete prisoner within myself…TO my eating disorder.
NOW THE HOW……
𝐄𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐎𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐭, 𝐃𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐁𝐞𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐨𝐫𝐬:
- Stopped restricting: I had to ditch dieting, dump meal plans, stop counting calories/weight watcher points, and learn how to listen to what my body needs.
- Stopped binging: I had to add more protein and fat. Truth: making sure I had protein and fat at EVERY meal, was a massive game-changer for me and my urge to binge faded.
- Stopped purging: Learning about the physical short-term and long-term damage I was doing to my body. Self-induced vomiting is extremely hard on the body. I am fifteen years recovered and still have digestive sensitivities that need extra TLC.
𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐟𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐩𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟:
- Body: Learning all about REAL nutrition, instead of diet culture philosophies.
- Heart: Opened up to mysterious true love again and allowed myself to fall, instead of checking off boxes.
- Soul: Unwavering commitment to getting up early for a quiet morning routine to reflect, restore, revitalize & plan, prioritize, pray.
- Mind: I had to accept my natural, healthy weight range, which was at least 15 pounds more than what I wanted. This is the truth! Some of you may say, “that’s it,” while others will say, “oh, that is so hard.” For me, it was extremely difficult to accept and took YEARS after I had stopped all of my disordered behaviors.
- Temperament: I had to find new, healthy coping skills. Being a doer and an achiever has served me well in life, yet such can also make for a more anxious internal vibration and throw me out of balance. I had to learn, therefore, embrace rest, pay attention to when I have taken on too much, and be okay with pulling back. Lastly, although it may seem silly, vacuuming helps me release anxiety. So even with hardwood floors, I need plenty of rugs to tend to (ha!).
Recovery is possible! YES….IT IS!!! What it means is NEVER going back to disordered behaviors and ALWAYS practicing care for self. FLY FREE FRIENDS!!!!!
This blog is dedicated to my Mom who passed away too soon, and I have now missed her for 8 years! She would have been 70 years old this month. She was the most loving, accepting, forgiving human I have ever met, and I got to call her mom! I don’t talk about it often, but she is with me, fulfilling this calling to help others.
With love and light – Sarah Lee