I just finished reading Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. I love authors who help me articulate my feelings or experiences, which is just what this book did on a number of topics, including faith maturation and motherhood.
Lamott struggled with bulimia and in the book shared her experience with what she referred to as “butt mind”, which is when her mind becomes preoccupied with comparing her butt to other people’s butts. Perhaps your thoughts tend to gravitate towards upper arm mind, belly mind or cellulite mind.
Simply saying, “today I have ____ mind,” can serve as good awareness of what is happening in your head so you can alter it.
For years the first thing that I would notice about others was their body size because it’s the main place I found value in myself. The eating disorder turns you into a person who values things you weren’t created to value. One thing that helped with this was forcing my mind to think something else about the person, which doesn’t come naturally and takes practice. I talked about this in my you don’t have to believe what you think post. It’s helpful for me to see how my brains likes thinking in patterns and routines when I say a nursery rhyme. For instance, if I say “twinkle, twinkle little ____”, I imagine your brain would say, “STAR!” And that’s the best way I’ve come to think about how my thoughts work, that sometimes they’re just engrained pattens that I have to put effort into changing. For instance, asking myself, “but what else could twinkle?” Diamonds, the sun, a person’s eye, etc.
When my mind was stuck in a place of noticing a person’s body, I would force my brain to work harder and think up something else to notice (you can also do this when you notice you are focusing on a certain body part on yourself). Be it–> hair color, initial personality thoughts, the color of their top, actually trying to remember their name. Over time (years), this idea of putting forth the effort to make room for new thoughts in my head, was one thing that helped me get out of butt mind. And for that, I am grateful.
NOTE: While I really enjoyed the book mentioned above, it’s not written by an eating disorder professional and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as part of initial treatment for an eating disorder, since some of the language is fatphobic and a bit too self-deprecating IMO. It is probably my current favorite book, but not for ED recovery. If you’re in need of a good book that focuses on treatment of your disordered eating, I’d recommend purchasing 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder by Carolyn Costin.