Thoughts are like seeds that you plant in your mind, whichever thoughts you put your attention to grow. Eating disordered thoughts tend to focus on the negative. “I am fat.” “No one is going to love me at this weight.” “I am constantly letting down the people I love.” “I can’t recover.” These negative thoughts get played over and over in your mind. They can end up becoming part of your belief system. When you choose to believe these negative thoughts you create a self-defeating prophecy. If you believe you are not worthy of your love or the love of others then sadly enough you won’t receive your love or the love of others. The power of affirmations is that they can be a powerful way to combat this pattern.
Don’t lose hope though. By practicing positive affirmations you can begin to change your thoughts and beliefs. What is a positive affirmation exactly? It is a positive statement in the present tense that you would like to believe and manifest in your life. Such as “I nourish my body intuitively” or “I am surrounded by love and support”.
Positive affirmations helped me restructure my belief system. And in doing so, they helped me recover from an eating disorder. I’m such an advocate of their power that I continue to use them daily to help shape me into the woman I want to be.
I’ll be completely honest; affirmations did not come naturally to me in the beginning. I found positive personal statements to be arrogant and was doubtful they’d work. And I was skeptical that by professing my love for myself that I would actually love myself. Being the scientist that I am, I decided to run a small personal experiment on the efficacy of affirmations. I chose 5 negative re-occurring thoughts I knew that were keeping me from recovery. Then I countered them with 5 positive thoughts.
Turning Negative Thoughts into Affirmations:
- “No man is going to love me” became “I have great things to offer in a relationship”
- “I am an out of control failure” became “I am in control of my actions and behaviors”
- “I’m bulimic” became “I am a healthy and intuitive eater and getting stronger day by day”
- “I am fat and ugly” became “I am beautiful inside and out”
- “I don’t deserve love” became “I deserve my love and affection”
At least once a day I focused my attention on these affirmations. I would write them in my journal. I’d say them out loud while looking at myself in the mirror. And I would write them on sticky notes and post them around my house. Drawing them I made them into works of art I hung on my wall. At first, I didn’t notice any changes. But over the course of a month, I did start to notice the positive benefits.
The number of binges and purges I had decreased. And I started to treat myself with more love and compassion. Seeing results in both my actions and thoughts was AWESOME! After this month-long experiment, I was convinced positive affirmations do indeed work. So I continued to use them. I came up with more affirmations to incorporate into my daily life.
Some affirmations were harder to believe than others and I simply would “fake it to make it”. As I mentioned earlier, I still use positive affirmations even though I am recovered. They help me stay on track and keep me focused on bringing things I want into my life. And removing things I do not want. Every day I check-in and see what my feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are telling me. And I create positive affirmations to keep me on my path or to get me back on my path.
Experimenting with Affirmations
I encourage you to try your own affirmation experiment. Over time with enough intention, any positive affirmation can become your reality. Repeating positive affirmations is not the only thing you will have to do to recover, but it is a good place to start. The practice will help you analyze your current thought patterns and beliefs and give you the chance to refresh them with healthy and positive ones.
Good luck and remember you are worthy of your love and affection!
(Last Updated: May 12, 2022)