*Trigger Warning- specific ED behaviors mentioned*
This week I did something that in another chapter of my story would have seemed impossible. I enjoyed (savored even) the multi-course food tasting my fiancé and I went to in preparation for our 2021 wedding. Historically this would have meant restricting all morning and doing some additional cardio in preparation, plus eating ridiculously small amounts of each dish- just enough to convince the chef I didn’t have a problem with his food, let alone have an eating disorder. The experience would have been dominated by anxiety and food-guilt as my anorexia robbed me of another precious moment. But today, recovery won.
If you relate to this struggle, a question you may ask yourself is this: “On my death-bed, will I look back on such major life milestones and be glad I did the “safe” thing by giving into my eating disorder, or more upset I didn’t give myself permission to deeply enjoy and be present in the moment?” You may also consider what you hope or imagine you will be remembered for. Will it be a certain physique? Or your vibrant personality, sharp sense of humor, and generous spirit?
I acknowledge it may not feel this black and white (yet). Right now, it could look like making small, daily, pro-recovery choices and sitting through the anxiety and discomfort that come with them. Keep in mind, however, the more you do this the easier it will become. Every small step you take to challenge your eating disorder is a step closer to recovery - and the joy, freedom, quality of life and relationships that come with it.
And a friendly reminder to all my “health conscious” worry warts (I say with utmost love and care): there is nothing “healthier” than recovering from your eating disorder.
Christian Makenna Clements is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #111159.