Eating disorder recovery is a challenging journey that is not linear or perfect. For many, the fear that recovery is unattainable for them or that it is not possible at all pushes them back into old disordered eating habits. Although difficult, the healing journey of eating disorder recovery is achievable.
Many articles explore recovery through discussions of interventions, aspects of receiving treatment, how to talk with your loved ones, treatment methods that work, etc.
This article will be different, setting aside science, research, statistics, and calls-to-action. Instead, providing a comforting idea of how beautiful, safe, and free the healing journey of eating disorder recovery can be.
“In any given moment, we have two options: to step forward into growth or step backward into safety.” – Abraham Maslow
What Abraham Maslow teaches us through this quote is that recovery is not a one-time achievement. In fact, it is not a singular achievement at all.
Recovery is the culmination of many small choices made every moment of every day that result in healing, empowerment, and fulfillment.
Every day in your healing journey of eating disorder recovery, you will practice making brave choices that propel you forward into growth.
Validate yourself for every single one of these choices, focusing not only on the end goal but on the incredibly small but important choices that you made every moment to work toward that goal and invest in a brighter future for yourself.
“I am beginning to measure myself in strength, not pounds. Sometimes, in smiles.” – Laurie Halse Anderson
Engaging in recovery is like swapping miles for kilometers – you will learn an entirely new way of measuring your worth.
Where foods consumed, exercise, appearance, and compliments may have once been your currency, you might now find that smiles, acts of kindness, moments of courage, laughs, tears, smiles, or hugs now signal to you that you are a beautiful and worthy individual.
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
This wisdom from Buddha explores another invaluable strength that we gain through the healing journey of eating disorder recovery – the ability to love and accept our bodies and ourselves. So much of our time in the throes of an eating disorder are spent berating and bullying ourselves, so much so that identifying one strength might feel impossible.
Through recovery, we learn that the battle we have waged within ourselves hasn’t served us, and we begin to tolerate, like, and, maybe even, love ourselves. Recovery teaches us that we are imperfect, we are not like everyone else, life will present highs-and-lows, but that we are worthy, valuable, resilient, and capable.
“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
The truth is, recovery teaches us that perfection is unattainable. Even so, many of us try to recover perfectly.
Embrace the notion that you will make mistakes, you will have setbacks, you may relapse – and that all of that is okay. Some days, we rock recovery. Other days, we do our best to keep our heads above water.
All the days that you spend doing the best you can, with what you have, where you are matter, and your healing journey of eating disorder recovery is something to be proud of.
About the Author:
Margot Rittenhouse, MS, PLPC, NCC is a therapist who is passionate about providing mental health support to all in need and has worked with clients with substance abuse issues, eating disorders, domestic violence victims, and offenders, and severely mentally ill youth.
As a freelance writer for Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope and a mentor with MentorConnect, Margot is a passionate eating disorder advocate, committed to de-stigmatizing these illnesses while showing support for those struggling through mentoring, writing, and volunteering. Margot has a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Johns Hopkins University.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Published September 26, 2019, on EatingDisorderHope.com
Reviewed & Approved on September 26, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC