3 Ways Your Eating Disorder Is Making You Miss Out On Life

Miss out on life with eating disorder. Black woman wearing leather jacket looking in the camera.

Do you feel like you miss out on life? The fear of missing out is a real thing that lives deep inside of me. It threatens to steal my joy in every situation I choose not to participate in.

Funny how my eating disorder was so rooted in this fear. Yet, I was reluctant to admit that my eating disorder was what was causing me to miss out on all that life had to offer.

I would long to be free and experience all the amazing opportunities that were laid out before me. But my brain was so controlled by the restrictive nature that plagued me. So I simply watched chances to truly live pass me by.

And simultaneously, the more my eating disorder caused me to miss out, the more my depression and sadness grew. And the more I was isolated in my sadness, the more I relied on the one thing that was feeding my isolation most. It was a sad cycle that all started and ended with my eating disorder.

Can you relate?

Eating disorders make you miss out on a lot of what life has to offer.

Here are 3 major things eating disorders can cause you to miss out on:

1. Missing out on being present

When you’re stuck in your eating disorder brain, there’s no way to combat the eating disorder voice and be present in the moment.

It’s a constant battle for attention, and the eating disorder usually wins. You might be too distracted by shame and guilt to be present in a conversation at a meal. Or maybe you’re calculating when the next behavior can be used instead of focusing on the person you’re with. You don’t want it to be this way, but that’s how the reality is.

Life is said to be a sum of all your experiences and relationships (see # 3) that you collect along the way. And for those who suffer from an eating disorder, it often keeps them from going after those experiences that shape a fulfilled life.

Whether it is due to fear, shame, or feelings of unworthiness, a person who is deep in their eating disorder will often shy away from the experience to stay in the comforts of their routine. But that doesn’t mean they don’t feel the ache of missing out. For example, you want to go to a dinner party, but your eating disorder voice convinces you that you want to stay home and count your calories. Eating disorders make you miss out on life in many different ways.

2. Missing out on relationships

If relationships are vital to a thriving life, then it’s no wonder those who have an eating disorder merely survive.

We’re expert self-sabotagers when it comes to connection.

What are the main reasons why? It could be fear of getting hurt. Or fear of putting ourselves out there to be rejected since we already have little worth in ourselves. And any connection with another human being means less room for the eating disorder… and we all know eating disorders are selfish as can be. Relationships also come with experiences such as going places, eating out, having lunch at a different time than you’re used to, and staying in on a rainy Sunday instead of going on that mandatory walk. That means breaking your rules and routines, which oftentimes feels stressful and scary. To no longer miss out on these important life experiences we have the break the cycle.

3. Missing out on pleasure

For some reason, we who are deep in our eating disorders feel as though pleasure is a luxury meant for others – but we don’t deserve such indulgence in our life.

Whether it is a mani-pedi just because, the world-famous cheesecake on our birthday, or a compliment from a stranger on the street – we would wish those pleasures for anyone in the world. But accepting even simple pleasures for ourselves is a luxury we would rather pass by than feel the guilt and shame that comes with it.

What’s holding us back? What makes us miss out on these life experiences?

So if the fear of missing out is so great, and we KNOW the simple ways to avoid these feelings, why don’t we just do it?

Simple doesn’t always mean easy.

What may seem like a “duh” to some may be your biggest hurdle in recovery. What may look so simple on the surface may hold millions of tunnels underground.

So how do we combat these fears? How do we learn to look past the risk and see the reward?

Baby steps. Challenge yourself to engage in one conversation today. Put a date on the calendar to get out and explore in a way you feel compelled and honor it. Text your friend first. Do a simple self-care act that you would normally pass on… Baby steps.

(Last Updated: September 16, 2022)

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  2. says: Alex

    This all sounds great except when I’m in the ED (currently relapsed) I just don’t care about those things. I actually prefer missing out because I feel safe and secure by myself at home. Literally the only reason I’m trying is because I don’t want to go back to the treatment program. I don’t know how to get back to wanting recovery. I’ve had recovery many times in the long years of my struggle but can no longer relate to the idea of it. How did you bridge that gap? How did you switch from wanting to participate in life from not caring?

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