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This New Year, for the First Time, Pursuing 'Thinness' Won't Be My Resolution

Every year it has been the same. Lose weight. Be “X” lbs. Everything will be better. You will be happier. Everything will fall into place. All that negative stuff in your life will just go away if you lose the weight.

So I lost it (and more). I devoted half of 2015 and most of 2016 to pursuing “thinness,” but I didn’t really gain anything. Instead, it became all I lived for. Nothing else mattered but the number on the scale. This number would dictate my mood and the rest of my day. Week after week, month after month, my calendar would detail the numbers that began to define me.

Looking back at my extensive list of 2016 resolutions, I never planned on being diagnosed with an eating disorder and ending 2016 early in the recovery process. I thought I was just being healthy, following the perfect diet. I was finally successful, good at something.

Yet, I was still empty. No goal weight was ever enough. It was all a lie. It was never a diet.

One thing I have learned in treatment is that I can never diet again. For the first time in years, I will not be planning on how to exercise more and eat less. I will not be able to measure my success or my worth on pounds lost. At this point, I am not even allowed to see my weight. I have been encouraged to take a break from exercise, which I use as punishment.

I’m not sure how to prepare for the influx of diet and exercise talk. I’m not sure how I feel about welcoming the new year without an emphasis on pounds and calories. Chasing these goals and resolutions numbed me to everything else that felt wrong with my life.

Now, I am trying to navigate just being without a restrictive or punishing goal. I want to find freedom from my eating disorder in 2017, but I am not going to make that a resolution. Recovery is not linear, and it is not perfect. I deserve that. I am human, and I do not need to aspire to perfection.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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