I realized today I haven’t written about eating disorders or my struggle with anorexia in a long time now. It’s because for the last year and a half it has become less and less of an issue for me, most of the time without me even noticing. I don’t work on anything anymore, I am not plagued by behaviors or triggers or ‘voices’ anymore. When did this happen? It’s been going on for a long time now and it only feels natural now. My whole life feels more natural. Eating, not eating, exercise, my body, weight, self-acceptancelove. All is fine. Do I love and accept myself 100% at any given moment? Probably not, but that has more to do with me being human than with any remnant of an eating disorder. I have known this for a while now but I can now confidently say, I fully recovered from an eating disorder.
But I did not come here today to write that. I decided to write about this topic again because the Universe gave me some not so subtle hints. A few emails from readers and some topics on a site that I follow and love that seemingly had nothing to do with eating disorders, but at the same time had everything to do with them. The website I am referring to is The Daily Love.
Now that I have left this dark period of my life behind I can see so much more clearly on why I developed an eating disorder in the first place and what needed to happen in order for me to recover. Some keywords here would be Purpose, Trust, Letting Go and Perspective.
It is great looking back at these pictures and not feeling anything anymore. I don’t long to be that thin anymore. I no longer think I look ‘fat’ in the second picture. I don’t feel shoots of pain or sadness going though me anymore looking at old pictures like this. This is the past, this was then. I live now. My body is perfect at any weight as long as it comes natural. I no longer engage in self-harm because I can not deal with the curveballs life is throwing me. Throughout the years I have become stronger. I now turn to Yoga. Friends. Reading and writing. Giving my life purpose and putting things in perspective. I stress less and accept feelings of insecurity.
Overcoming Your Eating Disorder The Holistic Way
For me, overcoming my eating disorder started with creating purpose. For years I was living without a clear and meaningful purpose in my life. Was I living without purpose because I was living with an eating disorder? Or the other way around? Purpose for me came in the form of looking after myself, wanting a healthy body, wanting to be happy, and wanting to contribute something to the world and leave something behind. Hey, helping others become fit and healthy is just a good a goal as any, right? So I set out a quest to become healthy merely so I could one day help others become healthy too. Years later I am still on that quest and it’s what’s kept me going whenever I had a reflex from my mind that had me obsessed over my weight, calories, my body, exercise, whatever. When I was tempted into giving in to certain urges or behaviors, like restricting my food, purging, over-exercising…. I kept my goal in mind. First I needed to help myself, nourish myself, before I could help others. This meant that all self-harming behaviors had to go, and trust me, there were a lot. Smoking, drinking, OD-ing on caffeine (about 15 coffee and red bulls a day…), minor cutting, etc etc. I wanted it all gone and I succeeded. In fact, it opened my eyes to all the seemingly mundane things our society is doing to themselves that is socially accepted but in fact a form of self-harm, and for that I am forever grateful.
‘Recovering from’ an eating disorder is nothing more than letting go, actually. Letting go of the fear, the insecurity, the holding on to something that feels safe but is far from. Letting go and trust go hand in hand. How can you let go of something, something so big, if you don’t trust? Trust in what the future holds, trust in that everything will be allright?
One thing that really helped me to gain trust was to gain perspective. Seriously. Don’t make things so big and scary and serious. There is more to life than this eating disorder. When you are not seeing things in perspective, the eating disorder is all there is. But you need to look at the bigger picture. You can not live with an eating disorder, only survive. So what is so scary about letting go? As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder for years you can trust me not to belittle things. Yet I can still whole-heartedly say: don’t take it so seriously. You will be OK. Without that eating disorder, you can actually start your life. You are now stuck in patterns, behaviors and being a victim of your own mind. Stop for a minute and think of how silly that is. We have control over our lives, our thoughts and our actions. With an eating disorder, you are allowing your thoughts and actions to have control over you, thus trapping you in what’s left of your life. It is important to fully recognize this so you can step into your power and start taking action.
Perspective. We are all here on this planet half of the time not knowing what the heck we are doing. Don’t take life so seriously. Don’t make life out to be so complicated, it is not! Make it your number one priority to have fun, enjoy and help others. By simply doing so, food and weight will take a major step back in the role they play in your life.
Now, 6 years after the onset of my eating disorder, I can see so clearly why it happened like it did. Why it was there, why I needed it to bring me to where I am today. Before my eating disorder I was unhealthy and unhappy too but didn’t fully realize this. If I hadn’t developed and overcome this eating disorder, who knows where I would have ended up? Maybe far worse. Because now I am happy and healthy. What I want to say with this is, if you are currently struggling with an eating disorder or trying to recover, know this is all happening for a reason. Yes, it is painful and lonely and you are going to have to work hard but you know what? Pain = growth. You develop an eating disorder because you need it in this particular moment, something I learnt a long time ago. An eating disorder is a coping mechanism, a security blanket. Just maybe not the most logical or sensible one but that’s how it is. And in order to be able to let go of your security blanket you need to let go of the past, trust in the future, and create your purpose. If those things aren’t in order, you can try all you want recovering from an eating disorder but it would be very unnatural because you still need it to cope with certain things.
I don’t think I will be writing about eating disorders specifically much anymore, even though these posts always seem very ‘popular’. The more I let go, grow and evolve, the more I realize that an eating disorder is just like any other ‘disease’, be that mentally or physically. It’s not a disease, it is a symptom. A symptom of something much bigger. A sign of imbalance(s) in our body and mind that need to be adressed. And I’d much rather explore the causes for the imbalances and write about that.
Self-love. Spiritual practice. Exercise. Purpose and meaning. Serving others. Letting go of all forms of self-harm. Healthy and meaningful relationships. A conscious diet. Accepting and letting go.
These are the things that will help you prevent and overcome any disease.