But I’m special!
Yes, you are special. Very special. But I’m telling you now, you are not the exception to all things eating disorder recovery-related.
I used to think, and still occasionally do think, that the rules when it came to recovery somehow just didn’t apply to me. They applied to every other human being who was recovering or had fully recovered, but definitely not me.
Hopefully this post provides a bit of reassurance that nope, you’re NOT broken and nope, you’re NOT the only one who feels these things.
⚠️ You are NOT going to experience extreme hunger for the rest of your life, just like how everyone else who has recovered did not and do not experience extreme hunger for the rest of their lives.
You experience extreme hunger because you need to. It’s not just a fun game your body plays because it thinks you’ll enjoy it. Chances are your mind and body need to heal and for that, they need energy. The biggest piece of advice I can give when it comes to worrying about how long you’ll have extreme hunger for is to just trust the process. Your body is amazing, it knows what it’s doing and it’s doing it for a reason. Keep going. It will pass. It will stop.
⚠️ You can NOT reach food freedom whilst still having a “goal weight” or a “maximum weight”, just like how everyone who has reached food freedom did not have a “goal weight” or a “maximum weight”.
I’ve been there. I thought “I’ll gain weight until I get to Xkg” and “yeah I want to recover but I’ll never ever be over Xkg”. I’ll be honest, it’s pretty tough when most dieticians and eating disorder teams give you a “target weight” to reach and then put you on a maintenance meal-plan. But really, do you want to be on a meal-plan for the rest of your life? Do you want to be weighing yourself when you’re 80? When you let go of any numbers and just eat what YOU actually want to, weight becomes so tiny and irrelevant that the space in your head will be occupied by more than the number on the scale. My advice: throw out the scales. Scales are for baking and fish.
⚠️ You do NOT have to weigh yourself every day in recovery just to “make sure”, just like how everyone who has fully recovered did not weigh themselves in recovery, just to “make sure”.
Ok firstly, what exactly are you “making sure” of anyway? You will NOT blow up like a balloon until you pop. You will not explode. The world will not end. By weighing yourself you are giving more power to the eating disorder because chances are YOU probably can’t be bothered to do it everyday. You have to let go. Again, your body knows what it’s doing. If you gain weight, it’s because your body needs to and wants to. You won’t fully recover if you give your eating disorder any headspace.
⚠️ You’re metabolism is NOT completely broken and you will one day feel satisfied, just like how everyone else who has recovered does not have a broken metabolism and how eventually their bodies trusted them enough to feel satisfied.
Literally everyone I know with an eating disorder is CONVINCED their metabolism is broken until they reach full recovery. Admittedly, I do occasionally have the odd panic but I’m definitely more open-minded to the fact that nobody actually lives their whole life with a “broken” metabolism if they are eating what their body needs. So yeah, eat what your body needs and what it wants and you’ll be fixed in no time.
⚠️ You do NOT need to compensate for any food you’ve eaten, ever, just like everyone who has ever recovered did not ever need to compensate for any food they ever ate. Important to note here, that nobody, eating disorder or not, never ever needs to compensate for any food. Ever. Nuff said.
⚠️ You will NOT be bloated and swollen for the rest of your life, just like how everyone who achieved full recovery is not bloated and swollen for the rest of their lives.
This again, is a super common thought, especially at the start of recovery. If you can get past the horrible bloaty, swollen, tummy-achy stage trust me you’re doing amazingly as this is a really, really hard part of recovery. But, its a sign of HEALING! Just think, when you hurt your ankle and it starts to heal, it swells up, right? That’s what’s happening to your tummy. So, be kind to yourself, pop some baggy clothes on and get your feet up. This too will pass.
⚠️ You will NOT be obsessed with food for the rest of your life if you eat freely, just like how everyone who has achieved food freedom is not obsessed with food anymore.
Believe it or not, most people don’t watch hours of food porn in their spare time. Once your body trusts that food is readily available whenever it needs it, you’ll stop fantasising about that carbonara and you’ll actually go and eat it. Joy.
⚠️ You will NOT always crave sugary, energy dense foods forever, just like people who committed to recovery do not always crave sugary, energy dense food forever.
I’ll admit, there was a time where I was absolutely and whole-heartedly convinced I was addicted to biscuits. I’d wake up at 4am and eat biscuits. I’d have biscuits before breakfast. Biscuits after breakfast. Biscuits throughout the day and alongside meals. Biscuits all-day everyday. To be honest, I don’t even like biscuits that much. Never had before even. But looking back (I’m no longer such an avid biccy consumer but would never say no to a Hobnob), I know that my body probably wanted them for some reason or another. Just like pregnancy cravings, the body KNOWS what it needs and will make you crave something to get it!
⚠️ You do NOT have to have any upper limit in terms of how much you eat, just like everyone else who has recovered allowed themselves to eat an unlimited amount of calories and did not have an upper limit of calories.
Once again, your body craves what it needs. If that means 30,000 calories for 9 months of your life then so be it. If you’re counting calories your eating disorder still has hold. You do not need to micro-manage your food. Nobody does. Ever. Even you. Yes, EVEN YOU.
⚠️ You are NOT any less ill than anyone who has recovered.
It is so so so so a million times so common with eating disorders to feel as if you are not “ill enough” for recovery. You will NEVER feel ill enough for recovery. You do not have to wait; there will never be a “right” time to recover. Start now. If you’re wondering if you should, you definitely should. There is no competition. You are deserving. Go and get a snack right now.
⚠️ YOU ARE NOT THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULES ⚠️
So there we go, I hope this post helped even a tiny bit in reinforcing the fact that although everyone’s recovery journey is very different, basic biology and science is the same for everyone. Your body does not have some sort of sinister motive against you and your happiness. It loves you and works hard for you. You need to be really, really patient, trusting of the process. Hark work pays off in the end ❤️