… Questioning “Recovered”

Last week I mentioned how happy I was to feel “recovered” in that I recognize when others are being obsessive and it annoys me.

And while I’ve never fooled myself into thinking my issues were gone, yesterday I had the sharp realization that I’m not 100% there yet.

In looking at this pie chart, I’d say that missing green piece is my challenge now. I’m about 2/3 of the way there, but I still have work to do.

1) I am still buying/eating the foods I used to chew/spit.
2) I am still eating trigger foods I don’t need (FF ReddiWhip, chocolate) because deep down, I want to believe I can incorporate them into my life … but then I cut out “real food.”
3) I am eating too much, period.

All of this equating:

1) I am not treating my body like a temple/nourishing it.
2) I’m not losing any weight.
3) I don’t look/feel my best, and that trickles into much more than just my body image.

I need to adapt my “Choose pride over guilt” mantra to my food choices, because I’ve been unhappy with my decisions — or lack of decisions (read as: impulses) — lately.

I just wanted to lay this out there because I know a lot of my readers look up to me and my progress., and don’t want to feel like a fraud, going through something but keeping it to myself.

I can’t deny I’ve made progress … no doubt, I have. But I am still struggling on some levels.

In retrospect, I think my recovery process has three parts. First, there was awareness/deciding to face my problems head-on. Second, stopping chewing and spitting and over-exercising. And third, stopping buying trigger foods/emotional eating.

I’m at the cusp of step three. Because when (for example) I’m still eating egg whites instead of whole eggs because I ODed on Chex mix or chocolate and am low on Points … well, that’s still pretty disordered. And there’s no denying that.

I had my wake-up call, and hope to make today a new, better day. There’s only one. If I want to get pregnant and have a baby someday, I can’t live this way. I just can’t.

This post isn’t meant to imply I’ve had some set-back or am wallowing in self-pity; I’m not.

But by the same token, I haven’t been treating my body like a temple and didn’t want to go forward pretending I was. Sometimes we need to say something aloud for it to be “real.”

Consider this my “out loud” moment. It’s time to face the music and accept that nothing will change unless I change my behaviors. Ultimately, I need to stop buying the junk, the triggers.

I need to adapt “choose pride over guilt,” and apply it towards much more than just chewing and spitting. Only then will I be able to really be OK.

How about you? What does “recovered” mean to you? And if you believe disordered eating is something you’ll struggle with throughout your life, what level of “disordered” can you live with?


13 thoughts on “… Questioning “Recovered”

  1. Realistically, I think I will always eat, to some degree, in a disordered way. And it makes me feel so depressed. I don’t want to ‘manage’ these feelings – I want to be free of them. What I really hope is that I will ‘manage’ them for so long, until one day I realise that they have gone. ‘Recovered’ to me means I can have ‘binge’ foods about, and I do not binge, nor feel the temptation to. It means not associating self-worth with the contents of my stomach (or otherwise). It means when I am planning a day or night out, not having ‘what am I (not) going to eat?’ as the overriding preoccupation, damping the joy of the day itself. When a whole day passes when I have not thought about food other than enjoying it at mealtimes, then I will know I’m recovered.

  2. I think it’s a very LONG process and it continues forever, but it gets easier (and then it doesn’t, and then it does…). I’m getting there and I’m 41! I’ve had a long string of good months (even through the holidays!) so I’m feeling hopeful.
    I think you’re doing just fine–it’s a bumpy, crazy process.

  3. I’m honestly uncomfortable using the word “recovered to refer to myself. I look at my recovery as a journey and process, and I know that food will always be a sensitive spot for me. I am working very hard right now to stop viewing food as the enemy. There are still times where my anxiety gets the best of me and I feel myself revert back to old behaviors. But now I know what to look for, and how to stop myself before things are dangerous. I think that’s what recovery is really about. Knowing how to take ourselves out of vulnerable situations, and having the knowledge to make things better for us.

    1. Jenn, I think you make some valid points there, and you hit this on the head: “Knowing how to take ourselves out of vulnerable situations, and having the knowledge to make things better for us.”

  4. This is something I think about quite often. What are my expectations of recovery now? I used to think recovery meant I’d be “totally normal” about food. Looking around, I’m not even sure what normal is. Lots of people have preferences. I just have to make sure they’re not interfering with my social life or my health. I think only we know what is disordered for us. Many people eat egg whites and that’s cool with them, but I know it’s disordered for me. What trips me up is the comparison game. I look at how someone else can eat a certain way that would be disordered for me, and I get confused. I have to remember that it’s about me, and what’s best for me.
    Also, I often feel a little fraudulent when I get messages about people being motivated by what I write. I’m in no way perfect with recovery…at all. I feel this need to put that out there quite a bit. Honestly, I appreciate your openness. It doesn’t make me think of your recovery any differently. If anything, it makes me feel like you’re human. After all, isn’t this journey about letting go of perfectionism? 😉

    1. Kim, beautifully said, as always. You’re so right, you need to remember it’s about what’s best for YOU. And yes, it IS about letting go of perfectionism.

  5. I consider myself recovered enough, though it takes effort and conscientiousness to stay there. Though I think I’m “normal” enough about food, I catch myself having internal dialogs that set off red flags,and I stop them (ambush) immediately. I realize that I am always going to be obsessed about food/weight, but I’m no longer going to let it dominate my life. It’s still a learning process, but I think I’m mostly ok. It’s really hard work not to let myself get emotionally involved with eating choices, but it makes for a smoother life.

  6. I think that the term ‘recovery’ is a very personalized ideal, just as the term ‘abstinent’ from binging can be different for each compulsive eater. it’s basically what you as an individual can live with, not what society thinks. even normal eaters sometimes have moments of what WE think is disordered eating. ‘normal’ eaters i’m sure cut back on certain foods when their bodies tell them they’ve had enough. i think that is the normal part, listening to your body’s signals.

  7. Hmmm.I dislike the term ‘recovered’ but that is what it is. I think i resent the implication that there was (is?) something wrong with me. I know I will always have issues of control. I know that the tendency to restrict and restrict when life feels as if it’s out of my control will always be there. I know that when the you know what hits the fan I will take it out on food as a means of ‘being in charge’.

    Reading that back makes me feel itchy!
    I also know that I have come a LONG way. I know that I have the ability to eat healthily and exercise right and not complusively – as a means of life and not calorie burn.

    I think I’m ok with my neuroses to a certain extent. Like you say, up to a level. I wonder what the cut off would be though? Would I know if I’d gone overboard?

    Lissa you ALWAYS make me think!!!! THANK YOU x

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