Yeah…Immaeatthat

Mar 02

My takeaway from eating disorder recovery.

At the moment, my biggest takeaway from eating disorder/disordered eating recovery is knowing now that I can handle hard things. Knowing I can tolerate discomfort without having to change anything or cope in unhelpful ways. 

For instance, at parts in recovery (and still now) I realized:

I can have fat on my body and tolerate when someone is telling me about their weight loss.

I can eat 3 meals and snacks according to my hunger and fullness cues, even when someone I’m with is dabbling in intermittent fasting or Whole30.

I can be in a body that is changing sizes and trust my body knows what it’s doing (hello, postpartum!).

I can be in relationships with friends who are more physically fit than me and be okay being the less physically fit friend.

I can hear someone talking about how they’re intolerant to x food and know that disordered eating is more common that food sensitivities or intolerances.

I can understand that I’m a highly sensitive, anxious, people-pleaser who will always have to have skills to manage those traits.

I can see that this life of being recovered is more rewarding than the life the eating disorder ever allowed me.

I can see this life I’m living now was worth the pain and challenge of the recovery process.

I can be triggered and choose to be resilient. 

I’ll leave you with some Brené..

When you hold those perfect little babies in your arms, our job is not to say, “Look at her, she’s perfect. My job is just to keep her perfect — make sure she makes the tennis team by fifth grade and Yale by seventh.” That’s not our job. Our job is to look and say,”You know what? You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” 

I am grateful for the struggle I went through (and the struggles that are to come with life, I’m sure) because they taught me I can do hard things.  But I’m glad everyday doesn’t feel like such a struggle anymore.  If you’re in an eating disorder or stuck in disordered eating, I wish that for you too.

What is/has the recovery process taught you? I’d love to know.

31 comments on “My takeaway from eating disorder recovery.”

  1. This post couldn’t have come at a better time! A coworker asked me for my opinion on her protein needs. She’s counting calories & eating based on an app tracker. Sigh. But then I allowed myself to start questioning if I’ve been intuitively eating too much protein & possibly stressing my renal system. I know numbers in certain contexts are a trigger for me, so instead of feeling nervous or bieving more control was the answer, I tried to be kind with myself & curious over my thoughts. I never want to be disordered in my eating again! I know trusting my body is *the* best thing for my well-being. Thank you for sharing your reflections, Kylie! 💕

  2. Love your posts🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡

  3. This is spot on Kylie. Thank you. X

  4. Thank you for this, its the perfect timing. I have a friend thoroighly documenting her keto journey on fb. It’s so frustrating seeing all the congratulatory comments when I know the deprivation she’s going through. I feel like I have the same character traits you listed so it makes it extra hard. But worth it to be done with that part of my life.

    • It’s so frustrating to see friends and family not only depriving themselves but also harming their bodies :( Ketosis is so dangerous but it’s everywhere on social media – I just keep trying to gently discourage anyone I hear mention it and hope they do more research that is not a weight loss blog.

  5. This is all very true. Thanks for writing. <3

  6. It’s allowed me to to see what is really the cause of my stress, and to address that. It’s not fun and it’s certainly not as easy as just not eating, but in the end, I know I’m living my values, which I can do at any size. And since I’ve started living that way, my life had been SO MUCH fuller

  7. This is hopeful to read. I am a parent and my 13 yo daughter has Anorexia. We are in the early stages of recovery, and I know this journey is long, but to know that you and others have made it through to a full recovery and a full life gives me the reassurance I need. Thank you.

  8. I am so thankful for recovery, because it has allowed me to build myself into a stronger, happier, more genuine person than I ever was before my eating disorder.

  9. This is beautiful, Kylie. This has been a huge takeaway for me along the way as well. Another thing I’ve learned is that a smaller body will NOT fulfill me and in fact will only make me more anxious, because then I will be stressed about maintaining it. It’s such a lie that a smaller or more fit body will make us happy!

  10. As always, thank you for your words of wisdom. I do agree, sometimes you learn the most important lessons in life from the shittiest of situations. My ED/recovery has taught me a lot, about life and about myself.

  11. I’m 100000000% happier than I think I’ve ever been in life. I realized that yesterday even when I was sleep deprived (sleep gets hard for me by Feb every winter). I was sorting next week out and realized that I had actually struggled to fit everything in with different friends because there was literally so much planned. That was the struggle. Not that I was too stressed out to do ANY of the many things… the fact that I need to use a calendar to keep everything straight.
    And the fact that I can have a healthy, happy marriage and that we’re over the moon to be trying for children because I’m healthy enough to carry babies now and I’m not afraid of my body changing…. I want it to.
    I also don’t get triggered by anyone dieting/getting fitter/losing weight/etc. I keep on doing what makes me happy without a second thought. I never thought id be in this place with food, my body and life. It is incredible.
    A very random thing: getting hungry but not wanting lunch yet because I have a bunch if things I want to do first… grabbing a fistful of chocolate almonds to eat while I do that. No idea how many there were, don’t care. So simple.

  12. Love this! It rings true in so many ways. Thank you for sharing!

  13. I feel like I’m mostly recovered, but the one thing that still triggers me a bit is accepting that I am no longer the fit runner in the group. I feel disappointed to say I’m not running anymore when people ask, and I don’t have the guts to say, “I was in full-blown ED/disordered exercise mode when I was running, and I haven’t found my way back to running as a fun thing instead of an obsessive thing.” I haven’t ever talked about my ED to anyone because my MO has always been to just sweep it under the rug and move on (I know that probably isn’t the healthiest way to deal). I feel like I’m in a good place with eating, though, because when I hear people talking about dieting I get frustrated and sad rather than triggered to diet. My recovery has taught me that, that dieting is not a way to happiness. I was smaller in my ED, but I was certainly not happier. I isolated myself and had extreme anxiety over every bite of food I ate. That is definitely not happiness!

  14. The best thing was when it changed from feeling triggered when I was around those that were will power thin to feeling greatful that I wasn’t living that life anymore.  I even got to a place where I Would think “you do you” instead of feeling defensive for what I was doing, or judgemental about what they were doing.  Once I realized how much happier life is without food rules & exercise goals I felt confident that what I was doing was right for me!!

  15. This is gorgeous Kylie, thank you for sharing

  16. I have not only the strength to be around people talking about diet culture or fitness goals and not let it affect me, but also have the courage to hide them from my social media and be okay if they are no longer individuals I can hang out with on a regular basis because I know that it’s what’s best for me and my self care. Thank goodness for no more “self-destructive” behaviors! 

  17. You have no idea how badly I needed to hear this right now! Thanks for the reminder that I can handle all the uncomfortable diet culture in my life right now and not let it affect me. :)

  18. The recovery process has taught me we are all in process. We’re all in different places in this process and none of us are on the same path. And because of that, comparison is pointless and just takes up way too much brain space honestly.

    I’ve learned that I have an intuitive, emotional side and I do care for others way more than I thought I could once I had the brain space to be so.

    I’ve learned sooooo many new and positive coping mechanisms. I learned how to listen to my emotional, physical, and nutritional needs and that is a pretty awesome gift some people never get to experience.

    It brought me so much closer to the Lord. Learned that I truly need to lean on Him in order to live this life. The grace He’s shown me has taught me how to show grace and love to myself, which makes me in turn, love Him even more. That He truly does all things for our good and His glory, even when we can’t understand it at the moment.

  19. The recovery process has taught me that I am not perfect. But that a misstep to my eating disorder mindset doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Giving into cravings is normal. Emotional eating is normal (with the presence of other coping mechanisms). That guilt is never to be associated with food or food choices. And that it IS possible to stop constantly thinking about food/its nutritional value and to eat according to the signals your body is giving you!

  20. My recovery has gifted me with many freedoms/takeaways. I seem to notice and be grateful for different takeaways at different stages of my life (eg. single in college, married, pregnant, postpartum). Currently I am a mother.

    As a mother, my main priority is to be present. In my eating disorder, I couldn’t be present with others or with myself. In activities or relationships with others–part of my mind was always elsewhere (counting calories, thinking about my next meal, planning my workout, etc.). With myself, I couldn’t hold the “bad” (negative feelings, inability to please, lack of control) without jetting my mind elsewhere–to the arena of my diet. As a result, there was collateral damage in the form of lack of connection with my family and friends, and I was splitting off from part of myself. Now, I can hold the bad; I don’t need to emotionally and mentally “leave.” It’s nice to feel again, good and bad.

  21. I’m feel honored to read your story and your recovery. It gives me hope. I know it took so much for you to share your story but after reading this, I hope a lot of people would be more open to share theirs and how they overcome their struggles. Because honestly, this kind of post is empowering. Cheers to you and to all of the people who are going through the same. Thank you so much for sharing this. :)

  22. THANK YOU. Sometimes it is hard to put my recovery goals into words. These sentences are G-O-A-L-S. So well put and so inspiring to me to know it is possible.

  23. I’m still working on my mental being, but a fun thing is that I can cook freely now. I can add extra coconut milk to make a dish creamier. I can drizzle olive oil instead of measuring it to the tsp. Measuring cups are for baking, not for figuring out how much I am “allowed” to eat. 

  24. I could have written this myself. It’s always so comforting to hear someone else’s journey. You are amazing!

  25. My recovery is hard right now. Everybody is fasting and telling me about their weight loss and about all their discipline, they see that I have gained a pant size since I stopped dieting and look at me with pitty. Thats hard. But the way I feel on the inside is worth it. The fact that instead of worrying about food for hours a day, my head is full of colors, inspirations, poetry and curiosity, and that is, and always will be totally worth it.

  26. I have an ED question and I don’t know who to ask so I’m gunna see if you or any other readers can help me! I was orthorexic /anorexic for about a year before I started really recovering. I’ve been what I consider “recovered” for almost four years now. I’ve been dating a guy very seriously, and he takes what he eats very seriously and thinks its crucial to eat “healthy” for his mind and body. Our definitions of healthy however are super different, because for me carbs and happy comfort foods are an important part of that. I like to have dessert most days and ice cream multiple times and week and he thinks that’s an unhealthy sugar addiction and that I should cut my sugar intake… HELP .. is it possible for me to date someone with a healthfood interest like this? Or is it just going to trigger me? Any advisor, ideas, or if anyone else has experience would be a huge help :)

  27. This post means – the world to me. Because what you learned from recovery is what I am struggling with now as I am turning around from a major relapse. It’s tough watching my mother run on the treadmill and cut calories while I have added about 500 calories over the course of a couple of days and even more thereafter and it has only been 5 days since a major scare.
    I hope showing this post to my mother will help to reflect what I am coping with. I hope… I hope and I hope. And as someone who attended 2 Ivy Leagues from my own self-drive, hat quotation meant more to me than you could ever know… that quest for perfection. The perfect body, the perfect grades, the perfect hair, the perfect balance… that led to imbalance and now more so as energy expenditure has come to a halt and intake must be increased for 30 pounds to resurface. I need strength and resilience. I do.

  28. Hi Kylie,

    A month ago I was spending a long weekend on the coast with my husband and some friends, and spent the whole weekend preoccupied and worried about what I was eating / planning exercising etc etc (nothing new). I even gave in to a behavior.

    On the way home from this little get away I got curious and searched for eating disorder pod casts. Looking for some inspiration – I just knew I couldn’t continue like this, to spend another weekend caught up in my eating disorder thoughts/feelings and not being present.

    Well since that day it’s fair to say my life has changed. Learning about intuitive eating and HAES has literally stopped me in my tracks and I’m headed on a completely different tradjectory.

    Listening to your story over a pod cast today on the way home from work, I can not describe the healing power in hearing from other women, like yourself, who have shared such similar experiences to me – and to learn there is another way! It’s mind blowing. Life changing.

    Thank you for doing what you do!

  29. Thank you for sharing :) All good reminders that I’ll have to come back to time, and time again.

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