These 3 Simple Words Completely Changed My Recovery

The words swirled in my head…

Calories. Numbers. Weight. Restriction. Exercise. Being thin. Control.

They became my life, the only thing I lived for. And everything I stood for.

If I could not get them right then I would use more behaviors to correct them. When they were what I wanted them to be – the right number of calories, the right weight -it wasn’t enough. And the cycle would begin once again.

After extensive treatment for my eating disorder I was able to acknowledge these words, call the behavior out and make a better choice.

However, I found these words continued to hold me down.

The behaviors were at bay but my mind continued to race with the same words and thoughts.

The power of words

I realized I could not move forward in recovery with the same vocabulary I used within my eating disorder. I needed to reframe how I thought about food, exercise and weight.

First, I tackled my thoughts about food. Calories, proteins, fat and grains were all energy. Food is energy for the body. Energy to allow myself to live, be happy and experience life’s ups and downs.

Instead of thinking about calories as the enemy, I began thinking about the energy and nourishment food and calories would give me.

I took away the power of calories and fat and their ability to want me to restrict. All food is energy. All energy is good. Energy will power my body.

Exercise was the next group of negative vocabulary I needed to tackle. The number of calories burned, the time spent working out and the intensity of the work out became my past thoughts. I replaced them with the term joyful movement.

How do I enjoy moving? What does my body like? What makes my heart happy? These are the important things to focus on when it comes to exercise. Choosing joyful movement allows me to exercise in a way that makes my body and spirit happy.

Negative thoughts about my weight have been the hardest to tackle.

I had to figure out what I was really searching for in my pursuit to be thin. For me, I found hearing the words “you are so thin” gave me confidence.

Yes, confidence, that is what I was really after. Now, when I think “I wished I was thinner”, I change that to “ I am striving to be more confident.” When I look at myself and think “you look thin today”, I reframe that to “I feel confident today”.

Confidence in ourselves, who we are and who we strive to be is what most of us really what.

The truth is even if I reach the “perfect” weight, the confidence I want will still be lacking. By focusing on vocabulary that fills my spirt and mind with positive thoughts instead of focusing on my physical appearance, the confidence will come.

Energy. Joy. Confidence. In the end that’s the life I want to live.

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1 Comment

  1. says: Michayla Vardaman

    Jill, this is beautifully written and SO perfect. I’m immensely proud of how far you have come and I loved getting to see these thoughts of yours written out so eloquently. I’m wishing you energy, joy, and confidence always❤️

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