I recently bought a deck of cards full of question prompts, and one of the first question cards I drew was, “What is your vice?” The answer that surfaced for me was familiar; Food. I will always be conscious about food, even in times of ease in my recovery. Sometimes this reality is frustrating, and I envy the people around me who seem to enjoy food without stress or guilt. I will always be conscious about food, even in times of ease in my recovery. I also learn about the depths of myself from the healing process. The lessons I’ve taken from BED remind me that there’s always more to uncover about myself and eating disorders like binge eating disorder (BED).
Dig Deeper into Eating Disorder Recovery
Every year, I learn more about myself and why I react the way I do around food. I realize I think about food throughout the day, even though I’m not actively trying to restrict and lose weight. I look forward to it, plan it, and get annoyed by it. I don’t like to waste food, and I have to remind myself to not feel shame when I have to throw it away.
Whenever I’m in a groove of eating in a balanced way and feeling like I’m progressing in eating disorder recovery, I notice deeper discomforts tend to surface. These discomforts arise because there aren’t distractions from restricting or binge eating. I get to experience the vulnerabilities I feel that usually are hidden.
One particular discomfort that arises is a feeling of unease about my value, and how to measure it. For the majority of my life, I’ve prioritized fitness and restricting my food because it felt like a tangible way to improve and feel good about myself. Now, I try to live by the philosophy that food should be enjoyed, without guilt and rules, and exercise is for recognizing my strength.
The Lessons I Learn in BED Recovery
My experience with BED and other eating disorders is teaching me how to let go of my need for control and admiration. I have a tendency to obsess and worry about the details of my day instead of approaching my day with confidence and ease. I also worry about what other people think of me, which makes me more concerned about the food I eat and how that will affect my body.
Here are some other lessons I am learning in recovery:
- Discomfort will pass — Whenever I overeat and feel shame and discomfort in my body, I hold myself and sit in the discomfort. I am learning that discomfort will always pass. The way I feel in my body fluctuates daily, and I’ve learned I have to remind myself of this fact when I am feeling low. The best I can do in the moment is acknowledge the discomfort and allow it to be instead of distracting myself or restricting food in response.
- Unconditional Love — Recovery is teaching me how to forgive myself. I’m learning to recognize my negative thoughts and let go of old thoughts I hold about myself. I am also learning that when I am harsh and judgmental towards myself, I am also that way towards the people around me. If I practice unconditional love for myself, I’m a more loving person to everyone I encounter.
I understand that because I’m human, I’m going to need to constantly remind myself to stay on the best path to learn the lessons I need to learn. I hope by sharing the lessons I’m learning, you can see that suffering from BED is not a meaningless experience. What have you learned about yourself in the process of recovery? What lessons do you think you still need to learn?