How Envisioning My Future Self Helped My Recovery
As anyone in eating disorder recovery knows, it takes more than one day of waking up and making the decision to recover. No. It takes making the decision to recover every single day, and sometimes every hour or even every minute. Thankfully, envisioning my future self helped me make this choice.
Recovery is a constant choice as each new moment presents the opportunity to go back to old ways, patterns, habits, and mindsets or to keep moving forward towards health.
My recovery process lasted much longer than I thought it would. At times I found it close to impossible to choose to do what was healthy over what my eating disorder voice wanted me to do. One thing that helped me immensely during these instances was to envision my future self.
I know that often times those suffering from eating disorders are triggered in a negative way when they picture the future. This is what we call future tripping.
What if I never stop gaining weight.
I will be unlovable at my normal healthy weight.
And what if I gain all this weight and am still unhappy.
Envisioning a Positive Future
I found I could use thinking of the future in a way to positively fuel my recovery. I call this future thriving. Rather than tripping out about what could go wrong in the future, you envision where you would be if things work out.
Because if you choose recovery, they will.
When you think of yourself in five years (or ten or twenty), what do you see? Do you hope that you are living in a state of body hatred, starvation, stress, and sadness? And do you envision yourself not having a family or any strong relationships because you are still so consumed with food and your weight that it takes up all your time? Do you see yourself logging in every calorie you eat into an online calculator and missing birthday parties and holidays out of fear?
My guess is this is not what it looks like when you are envisioning your future. Or at the very least, this is not what you want to see yourself like in the future.
What I envisioned
When I thought of my future self in recovery, I envisioned being in a great relationship and owning a beautiful home. I envisioned myself laughing with friends around a table filled with delicious food. And I envisioned myself having a career that I am passionate about and energized to do each day.
Envisioning myself smiling with a healthy body and mind, I saw myself fully living, without the mental chains of an eating disorder.
One Moment at a Time
Each moment I felt called to use an eating disorder behavior, I envisioned my ideal future self. I saw that happy woman living in a healthy body with an abundant life. And I asked myself what I could do in that moment to bring myself one step closer to that vision. The answer was always clear.
In order to thrive in the future, I needed to choose recovery in the present moment. Not tomorrow and not next month. Right now.
The thing is, you can’t get to where you want to be by snapping your fingers. You don’t all of a sudden change drastically overnight. It is a process. And each step you take every day, every hour, and every minute turns into who you will be as this future self.
So, what you choose to do in the instance you feel pulled to go back to a disordered behavior, contributes to who your future self will be.
I practiced this every day throughout the recovery process. And I can tell you that I am now living as the future self that I once only dreamed about. Rather than fearing what the future would hold if I gained weight, got healthy, and fully healed, I decided to embrace the future and believe that I could get there with time. Each small decision to recover strung together into a long journey to becoming a better me.
If you want to thrive in the future, you must choose recovery today. And tomorrow. And the next day.
Envision your future self and ask what you could do right now to bring you closer to that beautiful and free life that you so deserve.