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What helped me overcome my eating disorder?

I know that there are a lot of factors involved in the development of my eating disorder and no two cases are the same. I was able to map what were the major triggers for me, and I am fully aware that this might not be the case for you.

For me, one of the major factors was my mother’s dissatisfaction with her own body. I have a sister, and she is of “normal” size. I am, for a lack of better term, fat. So my mother projected a lot of her disgust with her body onto me while I was growing up, and I didn’t get the chance to develop any positive relationship to my body. It was simply a problem.

There were a lot of shaming messages from my environment as well, but they just amplified what I was hearing so loudly at home. That I wasn’t good enough. That no one will like me. That I don’t matter. That something is wrong with me. That I’ll always have to try harder and be better than everyone else to deserve any attention or success. That I’ll never belong. And more and more…

I felt so alone, so inadequate and so inferior. It was unbearable.

I started dieting and exhibiting disordered eating behaviours at the ripe age of 10, and was able to start to get better when I turned 32. It was a long way, but I am so glad and grateful that I am better now. And I know that you can start your journey to recovery.

I started to pay attention to my feelings, to stay longer with them and decipher them, rather than just obey my immediate impulses to binge.

In the beginning this was really hard, so I searched for ways to improve. And then I started meditating. Meditation has been huge for me. It thought me not to believe everything I think and not to obey every thought as if it is an order.

After a few months of these efforts, I started to see that there was a problem beyond my bingeing. That I needed to dig deeper. I also read a lot more books on eating disorders and started to feel a bit more compassion for myself.

Even though I intellectually understood a lot of the information I was reading and the steps that would be beneficial for me, I couldn’t implement them. I couldn’t understand them on an emotional level. There was a lot of internal resistance.

My environment was more conducive to disordered behaviour than it was to recovery, so I needed to find outside support. I found a therapist who helped me a lot in realising the core issues that were tormenting me, and to work through them. She also helped me explain the situation to my husband and to get his support. This was a game changer for me, because when I know he supports me and he understands, I can forgo all the other family food chatter.

I can’t say that all my issues are resolved. We are all fighting battles that no one knows about, and this is all normal. But as far as my eating disorder goes, I can say I am recovered. I feel relaxed around food. I feel much better about my body and don’t shy away from pictures. I can hear my inner voice and I listen to it better.

Even though my recovery was hard, I am grateful that I went through this – I feel a lot better about myself now, and I know myself better. These are both huge wins.

I send you love, dear reader, and I root for you and your recovery!

Contributed by Ivanka