Life without BED … what will I think about?

When I think about recovering from BED or losing weight, this question sometimes haunts me – but if I do that, what will I think about? Of course, obsessive thinking about food, weight, and other things can feel overwhelming and can literally ruin our lives. The idea of breaking free of those thoughts should make us so happy and ready to change! Right?

Well, not always. Certainly not in my case. I think I’ve spent so much time with unhealthy obsessions and self-defeating thinking that I really don’t know any other way to think. I don’t know what peace feels like. I don’t know what it’s like to embrace life without the tainted lens of eating disorders, depression or anxiety. I know that it must be better, right? I am almost certain that it will be better – in my recovery journey, I’ve begun to have some glimpses of this peace and newfound passion for life – but I’m just … scared. Yeah, that’s it. Even if I could have this wonderful, happy future, I think I’d still be scared because I am uncomfortable with uncertainty – and the future is just never certain. That’s just how it is.

So, I’ve decided to begin living my life – no more letting ED keep me in this mental prison! I’m going to start by attempting to addressing the important question above: what will I think about, when the ED thoughts are completely gone? Though I’ve stopped binging, there’s still something keeping me tied to ED thoughts sometimes – or, should I say, a lack of something. I need to start by examining my life outside of ED – am I truly happy and satisfied? I think the answer must be no, because I think if I had a full, satisfying life, there would be no room for ED. And the truth is, despite having many of the comforts and joys of life, I’ve known for a while that something is missing. So … I need to explore my passions and interests – whether it be finding new ones or reviving old ones. I’ve known for quite a while that this is essential, but I’ve always felt intimidating and overwhelmed at the idea of exploring my interests and trying new things. But it’s time. I am going to try!

Where has this thinking led me? I’ve got a number ideas, but the biggest one right now is that I’m thinking about buying a piano. I used to love playing as a child, but I stopped after high school. Whenever I think about wanting a piano, I start to think negative thoughts (I can’t really afford it, our apartment is way too small, I won’t have time to play, and endless other excuses), but I hereby declare that I’m going to find a way to make it happen! Why? Because I’ve come to realize that my recovery crucially depends on finding out who I am and what I really love! And I am 100% committed to recovery – to achieving the health and happiness and peace that I deserve.

What is holding you back from recovery? Do you ever worry about what will occupy your mind once the ED thoughts are gone?

Your biggest frenemy: the scale

I think most of us have a love-hate relationship with the scale. I know I always have! It’s tormented me for as long as I can remember. At my worst, I was weighing myself 10 times a day, maybe more! I know that by relying on the scale, I’m allowing that stupid number to hold so much power over me. (And hey, I like numbers – this may or may not surprise you, but I was a major math geek in high school.)

But you know how it goes. Regardless of the number you see on that scale (whether it’s up, down or the same), you allow it to determine your mood for the day – and often your approach to eating as well. This is why nearly ALL the eating disorder resource sites always tell us to ditch the scale. We don’t need a scale to determine our worth … and even if we’re trying to lose weight, we’d still be better off shunning the scale, as the numbers often don’t tell the whole story anyway.

Still … throwing away the scale is hard. I have a confession to make – I still have my scale, and I don’t know if I can ever throw it away. I wish I could, but I suppose I’m kind of addicted to the stupid thing. I DO, however, keep it out of sight – instead of having a prominent place on the bathroom floor, I keep it hidden away in a nearby closet. This usually keeps me from weighing every day or multiple times a day. Out of sight, out of mind, right? It usually works, but not always. Sometimes I just can’t resist, for various reasons. Sometimes I rationalize that I need it to help me lose weight (because, unlike in the past when I merely “imagined” myself to be overweight, now I actually really am), but I know this is just an excuse. I don’t really need it. It hurts me far more than it helps me. So, I hope to ditch the scale for good someday … but hey, I’m a work in progress. “Progress, not perfection” is one of my favorite new mottos (and this is amazing, considering what a perfectionist I used to be!). 🙂

How about you? Tell me about your relationship with the scale!

Is full recovery possible?

This is a question that’s hotly debated in the eating disorder community. Is it possible to be “recovered,” or will we always consider ourselves “in recovery”?

I won’t pretend to be an expert, but I’m going to give you my take. I believe full recovery IS possible – possibly for everyone, but at least for almost everyone. Am I there yet? No, but I envision full recovery happening for me. There was a time when I couldn’t imagine ANY recovery, much less full recovery – we’ve all been there, and we all know that feeling of utter hopelessness and despair. But that hopeless feeling doesn’t convey truth – it is merely your natural response to your eating disorder’s nasty voice in your head. But I think you can eradicate ED’s voice for good. There will come a time when ED has to accept defeat and realize he is no longer needed or wanted. Don’t get me wrong – ED fights HARD to stay with you, torturing your thoughts. And there are many weak versions of recovery out there that don’t eliminate ED but merely quiet him down or change him into other forms.

So, what is full recovery, you ask? Simply put, it is normal eating. It is eating to fuel your body, most of the time, listening to its needs, but also being HUMAN and occasionally not listening to your body; it is seeking comfort outside of food, weight, calories, and control; it is getting back to basics – the way we were all born, in harmony with our bodies and our minds. This is the future I see for us – indeed, this is the reality that many recovered people are living right NOW. But how do we get there? Well, that will be the topic of a future blog post … OK, make that MANY future blog posts, because there isn’t one simply and easy answer. The truth is, the recovery process is long, hard and complex, but it is worth it. YOU are worth it!

Hi and Welcome!

Hi there! I’m looking forward to writing lots, lots, lots more, but for now, just a few things about me. I’m a freelance editor and writer who works from home, living in the Midwestern United States. I live with my amazing husband and my two cockatiels,
Birds 002Sunshine and Sage. I’m 34 years old, and I developed binge eating disorder when I was 32, shortly after quitting smoking. However, the beginning of my disordered eating goes all the way back to my preteen years. More details to come in the future.

Today, after about a year and a half of this devastating disorder, I’m binge-free. Yes, I still overeat occasionally (like any normal person does), and I am still working on emotional eating and body image stuff, but my miserable binging days are over. I know I’ve got more work to do, but I’ve made so much progress, and I’m actually really proud of that (some days, I have to work really hard to remind myself of that though).

I am creating this blog to try to share some of my experiences and knowledge gained along the way because a year ago, when I was struggling, wanting recovery but having no idea what to do or what to expect, I felt there was not enough information on recovery. The amazing array of literature on eating disorders seemed to leave this important information out. So, I’m here to fill that hole and share my recovery story and some of the stories of others, because every single recovery story is a win for ALL of us in the eating disorder community. It’s us against ED, and we’re going to WIN! 🙂