It is early in the evening of a beautiful, November Sunday. I just got back from a walk along a trail near my apartment and I can’t stop smiling.
A Walk To Remember
Something I’ve learned in eating disorder treatment is to do the things that make your soul happy even if it scares you. With exercise addiction playing a role in my eating disorder, the thought of moving my body and keeping my healthy self in control is terrifying.
I Can Do Hard Things
Already feeling the temptation running through my body as I lace up my old tennis shoes, I put on a ball cap and walk out the door. I tell myself I will not set a goal for miles walked, steps made, or time spent moving. I’m spending time with myself in nature during my favorite season. I am doing what makes my soul happy with no thought of how it might affect my weight or how my body looks.
I make a point of taking in the scenery. Beautiful leaves with orange, goldenrod and deep red hues, babbling brooks lined with smoothed pebbles creating ripples as the water flows. Squirrels darting up trees playing tag through the leaves jumping from branch to branch.
I exhale and release the tension from my shoulders. With such beauty surrounding me, how could the poisonous and tempting words of my eating disorder reach me? I set an intention for my walk. Be present with the nature around me. Appreciate the Earth for all the beauty it provides. Accept the healing energies the world has to offer me.
I feel like I am seeing through new eyes and a lightness seeps into my heart as I feel myself relaxing more with each breath. And I take more and more steps forward with no thought given to calories burned, muscles toned, or compensation for what I ate the night before.
It is me and nature, leaving no room for the eating disorder. It’s a date for two and we’re not open to a third wheel.
As I walk back to my apartment while the sun sets on an amazing day, I begin to feel emotional. How many days like this have I let my eating disorder deprive me of? And how many times have I looked out the window wishing I could be outside taking in the sunlight and feeling its warmth against my skin? How many times have I let my eating disorder take more from me than I was ever willing to give?
I don’t blame myself for this. I learned long ago that placing blame takes me nowhere and that acceptance, forgiveness and unconditional love are more potent and productive than playing the blame game. Instead, I look down to my legs and thank them for bringing me to a place where I felt safe, happy and more relaxed than I have been in such a long time. I thank them for trusting me to walk mindfully with no goal in mind except to soak in as much joy as I can.
Recovery Is Possible
So take that walk. Ride that bike. Paint, take photos, sing as loud as you can.
Do the thing that scares you and that your eating disorder has told you that you cannot do without its help.
Believe in your own power that only you can use. Your eating disorder has no claim over what was never its to have.
As for me, I’ll be keep lacing up my tennis shoes and taking walks along any trail I can get my hands on. Because that’s what makes my soul happy. I am committing to being happy. I deserve it. And you do too.