Contributor: Kirsten Haglund, Community Relations Representative for Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment, and Founder and President of the Kirsten Haglund Foundation
By the time January 1st arrives, most look around wondering how it got here so fast. It is remarked among family and friends how quickly the time passed, and conversations turn toward making resolutions, setting goals and firing up willpower.
But those in recovery from an eating disorder often view the turning of the calendar from a different perspective. It can be a triggering time, with all the talk of diets, weight loss, and drastic efforts at self-improvement (often in less than forgiving language).
On top of that, the indulgence that characterizes the holiday season quickly followed by New Years’ resolutions to restrict, change, and reform can seem to resemble eating disorder behavior.
It can get exhausting, fast. It often leads those in recovery to shy away from taking on the valuable opportunities presented by the beginning of the New Year, of which there are many.
Here are a few insights that can assist in making 2018 a year of hope in eating disorder recovery. They are not resolutions, but instead, reaffirmed commitments that can help you to remain present and honor yourself and your journey.
Finding hope in recovery in the New Year first involves reflection. What did you learn in 2017? What were the challenges you faced, and how are you still addressing them, or how did you overcome them?
Who made an impact on your life and how? How did you triumph, or how did you grow? Take some time to journal or meditate on these things, and bring them to God in prayer. Reflection is merely an observation, not judgment.
Change happens and time passes: these are the only constants in life. So, make a commitment to embrace changes: the ones you can control and the ones you cannot. Embrace them.
Also, embrace the opportunity set small, attainable goals, without expectation of absolute perfect adherence, but with a realistic mindset.
Embrace and accept where you are on your recovery journey, whether it is exactly where you thought you would be, or not. Embrace the present and honor it.
Lastly, hope in recovery requires a certain amount of belief, a leap of faith. Sometimes the beginning of a new year can feel overwhelming, and hope for a long-lasting recovery can feel far off.
It can be hard to believe that a life free from an eating disorder does, in fact, exist and that you can get there. That is where a leap of faith comes in.
Others can believe in you, but in order to keep putting one foot in front of the next, in order to take on each fresh day of the New Year, you must ultimately believe in yourself, and that you can do it. Even if it is the tiniest amount of faith, it is essential.
Believe that you can start again in the next moment, the next day and that it is never too late. Belief restores hope. Persistent, determined faith helps to drive you forward in recovery even in the darkest of times.
Reflect on your year, embrace the fresh start that 2018 provides, and most importantly, believe in yourself and in your God that you can face each day with hope.
Hope in recovery does not come from making more rules or setting resolutions.
Be resolute, but not rigid, be committed, but not obsessed. Forgive yourself and others, and fill each day with prayer, acceptance, and belief, and you will end 2018 enriched and strong, and most importantly, full of hope.
About the author: Kirsten Haglund continues to work as an advocate for greater awareness of eating disorders and resources for care. Since she won the crown of Miss America 2008, she has spoken on numerous college campuses, worked with youth and church groups domestically and abroad, lobbied Congress with the Eating Disorders Coalition, and started her own non-profit, the Kirsten Haglund Foundation, to raise funds and assist families financially in seeking treatment for eating disorders. She is also the Community Relations Specialist for Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer 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 on January 19, 2018.
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com