Normally, I post information meant to inform, help, motivate you, the reader! Today I decided I would post a little different. I think it’ll still be helpful to those who are or know someone who is going through similar things, and I’m hoping it’ll be informative and helpful to others to–to get the inside scoop on recovery, and the truth and difficulties behind it. I’m not really planning or formatting this one out; instead I just want it to be a collection of my thoughts and what I want others to see and know. So without further ado, here is recovery update #1.
I’m not gonna lie (nor does anyone else in this situation) recovery is hard. Fortunately and unfortunately for me, my ED took more of the mental toll rather than physical, meaning that while I did lose quite a bit of weight for myself, I never got down super low or fragile physical-state wise. Fortunately this meant that although I had to gain some weight (not easy btw), it’s wasn’t a dire situation. Unfortunately though, the mental state for anyone is usually the hardest. I hear or see a lot of people saying to or about anorexia why don’t they just eat. It’s literally a choice between eating and living or not and dying. And while the basis of this is true, it’s really not that simple. Trust me I wish it were. I wish it were as simple as you hear that you need to eat or that there are no “good” or “bad” foods, and that everything is okay in moderation, and you automatically comply and apply it to your life. But the mental struggle is still so tough that your mind starts trying to creep bad ED thoughts back in. Like that you don’t deserve this food or don’t eat that food, or maybe you ate a lot today so you’ll cut back tomorrow. Every single day is a battle to fight this.
But luckily, I have seen progress, and if you ask my family they will agree that I am way better place than I was before–but it’s still tough. People may think that gaining weight and eating a lot of food is the “dream” or “easy”, but it’s really not. It’s hard to have to eat food when you’re full, or to never feel hungry. I’ve slowed my metabolism way down with my ED so my hunger cues are off and I’m usually not very hungry. It’s hard to make sure that I’m fueling the gain with mostly whole, healthy foods with some slight treats here and there (rather than eating burgers, fries, ice cream, pizza, etc.). And most of all, it’s a hard battle when you know you need to gain weight–and you want to because you want to build muscle–but you’re scared of gaining weight all the same and you are afraid to eat in too big a surplus (needed for any weight gain).
On the other side, sometimes I get what is called extreme hunger. Times where even after having a full day of food (2400-2500 calories) I would go to the kitchen and start snacking on what I could find–pita chips, granola, berries, etc. I would even “hide” by standing in my pantry while I did this, ashamed that I was doing it. (Very hard to admit this). I thought that I had now gotten binge eating disorder, but that’s not true!! Extreme hunger is normal in recovery as your body starts getting the food and fuel it needs. It may seem contradictory to complain about both ends of the spectrum, but in recovery, this can be hard mentally and physically.
Now I don’t mean to just show the negative and bad parts because there have been good times! There are days when I stop in the middle of my workout because I look and feel so strong. There are days I wake up, start my day, and think to myself dang, I’m a bad*** and stinkin’ awesome for what I do and who I am. I overcome my fears like eating an entire slice of cheesecake (4000 calories that day) or not working out after eating a lot. There are plenty of good days to go with the bad days–body image wise, physically, mentally, facing fears, combatting challenges, etc.
I think if I could let everyone take one thing away from this post it would be this: in recovery there will be good days and bad days.But you cannot let those bad days beat you down and keep you from the good days. Yes recovery is hard and it’s a long journey (depending on where you started), but at the end of the road, it’ll all be worth it. I’m not where I want to be yet–I still have so much room to improve–but I know from seeing others that happiness will once again fill my life and I will no longer be in the hands of my ED. It’ll always be a part of me because it was a huge part of my life and it is what has made me who I am today, but it will no longer be the master of my life: I WILL! Everyday just keep your head high, keep fighting, and keep coming out on top! Keep being Beyoutifully Healthy!