The thought of full recovery can seem crazy when you first begin your recovery journey. But it’s not too big of a goal! You can fully recover – I’m living proof.
So, what are the secrets to full recovery? Here are 5 things that were key to my full recovery:
1. Stop weighing yourself
This was so hard as I began my road to recovery. I constantly felt the need to check my weight.
My eating disorder was all about being in control. I wanted to have all the power. When I stopped weighing myself I was distraught. I felt lost and confused. How was I going to monitor how my recovery was going or how much I had gained?
The first few weeks I tried to fight the urge to weigh myself, but I gave in a few times. When I stepped on the scale I felt a heaviness in my chest. I would reevaluate what I had eaten and wonder if I ate too much even for being in recovery.
I knew that I needed to gain weight, but seeing the numbers on the scale go up still made me want to cry.
Even though wanted to recover I hated seeing my progress in terms of weight. Weighing myself was simply not helpful.
I finally had to give up that control. At first I felt lost. But over time I began to realize that I enjoyed not knowing my weight. The eating disorder began to loosen its grip on me.
I wasn’t feeding my inner demon. Instead, I was feeding my soul with food and was on the road to lasting recovery. I don’t want to have to stop eating once I reach a “healthy” weight or have to obsess over calories and weight again.
Because as long as I’m still obsessed with weight and calories, the battle isn’t won.
Throwing out my scale has set me free.
2. Stop having food rules revolving around time
Do you have any unspoken rules about what time of day you can and can’t eat? Maybe you don’t eat before a certain time in the morning or after a certain time at night.
This needs to stop if you want full recovery.
I’ve eliminated all my rules about when I can and can’t eat. Now, I eat whenever my body food.
Sometimes that means I eat at 11:00 at night. Other times it may be 4:00 in the morning. Was this easy? No. But it’s been worth it.
At first, my body screamed “No no no! You can’t eat right now!” But over time, with prayer and practice, it became easier.
Sometimes I even make a special point to eat a bit late at night just to challenge my eating disorder. And I’ve found that by doing this, the eating disorder voice in my head has slowly gotten fainter and fainter.
Once your eating disorder losses control over you, you find freedom and true recovery.
3. Try new foods
Part of full recovery is challenging your food fears. Be open and willing to try “off-limits” foods – even though it’s scary.
Every time I eat a doughnut or have a piece of a roll, it is a victory. Even if it’s just a bit, I’m still trying something new and challenging my fears.
It’s opening the door to freedom.
I realized that food is just food and that it does not have to control me any longer.
Each time I try new foods or eat the foods I’m scared off it is a punch in the gut to my eating disorder. It re-establishes that I am in control and that I’m stronger than the war inside me.
So just do it, warrior. It probably won’t feel like the “right time” to try something new or challenge your fear. But feel the fear and do it anyway. Full recovery is waiting.
4. STOP tracking calories
This one was honestly the hardest for me to overcome.
But no longer tracking calories has unleashed deep, deep freedom within me. My anxiety around food began to slowly decrease when I stopped calories. I went with the flow and was able to eat around other people. It became easier to eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full.
Letting go of calorie counting helped me realize that calories are energy – they aren’t bad for you.
We all NEED calories to live.
When you count calories you’re giving your eating disorder a foothold. So don’t give it that power. Give up counting calories once and for all.
5. Create a routine
As I began the road to recovery my biggest struggle was being able to eat. I got severe anxiety around food and physically felt sick when I tried to eat. I wanted to get better but I felt like I would never be able to get past my fear.
My nutritionist assigned me a meal plan that had me eating every 3 hours. That felt overwhelming and even discouraging.
So I slowly began setting small goals for myself. My first goal was to eat breakfast every day. At first, it was rough, but over a few weeks, it became my new normal.
I developed a routine that helped me eat even when my body was physically not hungry.
I knew that after I showered, I would go to the kitchen and make breakfast. Then I would go about my day until noon. At noon I knew it was time for lunch. Dinner was also a set time every evening.
Having this consistency and routine really helped me get to full recovery. It kept me on track and accountable. The familiarity of the routine also decreased my anxiety because I knew in advance when I would be eating. My routine gave me much needed structure.
To this day, I still have a meal time routine. I intentionally schedule in time to eat each day just to ensure that meal times don’t get skipped.
These 5 things have been crucial for my full recovery. They have given me freedom and have strengthened not only my physical body but my spiritual body as well. Each day I am walking towards full recovery, and you can do.
Don’t give up hope. You are worth it.
Set small goals for yourself and celebrate when your victories, no matter how small.