It is hard to explain to someone who has never had an eating disorder the freedom it is to be out of one. Everyone in recovery will tell you that it’s not necessarily all the behaviors that accompany the eating disorders but it is the obsessive, continual chatter that is in your head about food, weight, diet, and body image. Even the person that is restricting, dieting or suffering from Anorexia, has the same internal negative dialogue.
It is the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing you think of at night. When you get up in the morning you think today will be different. Today I am not going to engage in my eating disorder, but after a while it seems like you just can’t hold on any longer and you are compelled to get the food, eat it, and get rid of it or watch the extra pounds pile on. Again the behaviors may be different but the underlying symptoms are the same. The disordered eating and thinking becomes a vicious cycle that is impossible to break out of on your own.
Many people start the disordered eating when we were around 13 to 15 years old. It usually begins with a diet or restricting food. At this time in your life you do not have the coping skills necessary to address the many stressors in your life. So you use the one coping skill that you know will give you a few seconds of relief of not feeling, the eating disorders. You spend our younger years using the eating disorder to cope with hard situations in your live rather than learning new healthy skills and implementing them. As time passes, the only coping skills you have is the eating disorder.
Please stay tuned for part two of this article next week on this three part series about eating disorder recovery.