TW: eating disorders.
I have never talked much about my eating disorder because I’ve never really understood it while also being complicated to write about. My feelings around this topic are confusing. Sometimes I want to improve my relationship with food and other times I don’t care for it at all. Having said that I’ve actually done A LOT of work on improving my eating habits over the past 1.5 years or so. Maybe some people won’t view it as much progress. It doesn’t matter. We all have different struggles and what works for one person doesn’t for another.
Slowly but surely I’ve worked/am working towards increasing my water intake, eating less sugar heavy snacks, and reducing my caffeine consumption. To my surprise and shockingly, I managed to quit fizzy drinks entirely. In addition to that I also now have an actual breakfast. I consider these huge wins because two years ago if someone had asked me to imagine my life without fizzy drinks or starting my day with nothing but coffee I would have said never! It was simply inconceivable. At first I tried to quit coffee cold turkey and I lasted about 2.5 months before deciding I love coffee too much to give it up. Perhaps one day I do (or don’t), though for now I am happy with where I’m at concerning coffee.
In any case I think it’s very important to not put yourself under pressure. When I fell back to coffee I was mindful about not reacting to it negatively. Yes the goal was to quit, no I didn’t achieve it, nevertheless I tried. Sometimes we set goals for ourselves that are not always right for us. The goal itself may be incompatible or the timing could be wrong. Do I regret setting that goal? Not at all. Working towards a goal is a learning process and occasionally on that journey you may need to take a path different to the one you initially planned. If I didn’t set out towards giving up coffee then maybe I wouldn’t have managed to reduce the amount I drank.
The point is you may not always achieve the goal you set out on. You may find something different or, actually, nothing changes. If I was still having the same amount of coffee as before I would have still told myself it’s okay. What matters is that I tried. Indeed this is all easier said than done. You may have tried countless times, your brain speaks to you negatively and you can’t control it, maybe this approach doesn’t work for you. And that’s fine too. This approach hasn’t always worked for me either and maybe it won’t for other things.
Please remember it’s not a One Size Fits All. Those professionals (or friends/family/etc.) who pressure or intimidate you into ‘getting better’ do not and will not ever know your true story. There are things they will never understand. You know what works best for you. I’ve had an eating disorder for a long time, about 14 years, and only now have I been able to take a step forward. To be frank I don’t think I will ever fully recover from my eating disorder, it’s going to be a lifelong fight. All I can do is keep trying.
It’s okay if you relapse, however many times. Eating disorders come in all shapes, numbers and sizes. What is healthy for one person can be unhealthy for another. You are not your eating disorder. I know this is hard to believe but try to remind yourself whenever you can – you are not your eating disorder.