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My Unhealthy Relationship with FoodMy relationship with food has always been toxic, and from one extreme to the next. In the worst parts of my eating disorder, I became obsessed with numbers. The calories printed in the nutrition facts, my weight, the amount of calories I burned in cardio that day, and how many calories I still needed to burn to achieve a calorie deficit. When that wasn’t enough, I sometimes worked out until I thought I did enough activity for the day. There were also times when the number held little value, and I could justify putting anything I wanted into my body. There was very little I didn’t tell myself, just to get a fix of whatever I was craving at the time. When I wasn’t obsessing over numbers, I obsessed over taste, and I never truly reached a point that I felt satisfied. I lost count of the amount of times I ate to the point of physical pain, but even when I was in that state, I was still able to talk myself into eating “just one more thing.”
Still RecoveringEven in my recovery, I have found my relationship with food to be one of the toughest things to change. Food has always been a kind of game in my life, and removing the fears about it is something I still have to work on every day. I allow myself to live in the moment and eat what makes me happy, and I’m getting better at being honest with myself when I turn to food as a coping mechanism. The most important thing I do differently now that I am in recovery is give myself permission to make mistakes, and I remind myself that my value is not based on a number on a scale.
The Importance of Being HonestIt can be easy to keep our thoughts to ourselves, especially when they become destructive, and we begin to feel shame about them. But whenever we hide something that causes us pain, and find something that eases the discomfort, our pain manifests itself into other parts of our lives. In this case, whatever it is we’re trying to avoid forces us to cope in some other way, such as by eating — or not eating. There are a handful of behaviors (listed below) I recognize in myself when I feel my disordered eating thoughts start to creep back in. When I exhibit these behaviors, I know there must be something I need to address, confront or abandon. When I notice myself falling into one of these categories, I don’t avoid it; I force myself to feel it so I can improve and heal. My Negative Behaviors: My ability to restrict myself from eating anything, even when I’m starving My inability to control myself from eating more when emotionally coping with food My ability to calculate and keep track of everything I put in my mouth My inability to care about the repercussions I may face after binge eating My ability to justify my actions and live in denial of what I’m really doing, or avoiding My inability to admit that what I need most is help
Check Your MotivesIt’s extremely important that we make health changes with pure motives, and that our intentions come from a place of good mental health. When we’re able to admit that we need help with how we approach food, we can begin to change the relationship we have with our bodies, and the food we put into it. Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually should always be your No. 1 priority. Even if you have disordered thoughts today, that doesn’t mean you’ll have disordered thoughts forever. You can always choose to heal. It begins with being honest with yourself.
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- How Can I Explain My Mental Illness to Those Closest to Me? - March 28, 2018
- Taking Time to Journal Could Save Your Life - March 14, 2018
- Honesty is the Key to My Recovery - March 11, 2018
- Your Diagnosis Doesn’t Define You - February 20, 2018
- Feeling Shame is Nothing to Be Ashamed About - February 18, 2018
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