There are about as many opinions on how to recover from an eating disorder as there are varieties of yogurt at the supermarket. So many that my head spins when I try to focus on just one. In a recent article I challenged the practice of assigning a target weight that is very common practice in treatment. I believe there are many other problematic ways of thinking that are all too common in the world of ED recovery.
3 More Things We Need to Stop Focusing on in ED Recovery
BMI is garbage. It belongs in the trash right next to target weight and your scale. If you dig into the history of the usage of BMI in health, you may be shocked to learn it was never intended to be used to determine health. Even more disturbing are the racist roots that BMI is built upon.
There is also no scientific evidence that low BMI causes positive health outcomes. In fact, scientific studies actually often support the opposite. Check out this article for more information. Our health is affected by so many factors. Genetics, mental health, socioeconomic status, exercise, nutrition, and environmental factors all impact a person’s health. BMI ignores all of these by only focusing on height and weight.
2. Doing ED Recovery the “Right” Way
Don’t fall for trying to do recovery the same way you did food before.
There is no perfect way of recovery that guarantees a perfect life.
Achieving recovery won’t give you all of the things you hoped being thin enough would. Why? Because perfection does not exist.
Life is going to be hard. it will continue to be filled with struggle, ups and downs, endings and beginnings, lessons and tribulations. Whether you choose life living with an eating disorder, or you go all in on ED recovery, you will still encounter stress. The difference is, when you are free of the eating disorder, you can handle these things on a full stomach. And with your full attention you can clearly and mindfully go through hard times without losing yourself.
Stop comparing yourself to other people’s recovery journeys. Just like constantly comparing your body to other’s causes despair, so does comparing your recovery journey to others.
No two people are the same, no two journeys are the same. And no two recoveries are the same.
There are a million different paths that all lead toward freedom from an eating disorder. You don’t have to take the same path as your friend, your aunt, or even as me. In fact, it probably won’t work if you try.
Dig deep into your gut and trust yourself. Eat that food you know deep down you really want. Do the thing your soul calls for, even if your knees are shaking. Break free from the rules society has taught you, and connect with your true purpose.
Make sure you stay connected to your truth and you will find your best path. Hint: your best path involves challenging the ED, and taking risks. It requires doing the hard things in recovery and letting go of the disorder.
Trust yourself, NOT the eating disorder.