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The Day I Realized I Wasn't Fully 'Healed' in Eating Disorder Recovery


I have looked at myself as someone who has been on a pretty steady recovery path for a while now. I have been so “recovery minded” that I thought negative body image would never come up again for me. But looking at that thought now, I see it may not be the most logical one. As someone who’s struggled with self-esteem for over 10 years, I know I will probably always struggle with this. I think I got so obsessed with the idea of loving my body and not putting myself down that I forcefully painted the bulletproof recovery look on me and on my recovery blog. I can confidently say I do not hate my body as much as I used to. I have finally began to come to peace with it. However, I realized recently that just because I am more at peace with my body, doesn’t mean those thoughts won’t still creep inside of my head.

For a little while now, I have been doing a lot of patient testimonial work as well as running a recovery blog full time. Part of one of my patient testimonial projects is a photo shoot. This particular photo shoot was centered around yoga. Now, hear me when I say I love yoga and I truly believe it played such a big part in my recovery. People have told me I look very beautiful and have a good formation in my poses, and I guess my mind automatically believed them because I felt so wonderful in the poses. It wasn’t until last week that I realized I’ve never really seen what I look like while I’m doing yoga. For the shoot, the photographer had me do at least three different poses so I could find the one I liked the best and have that one be used for the project. After the initial three poses, the photographer showed me the photos. At that moment, I wanted to break down and burst into tears. I hated the way my body looked. I thought that my formation was awful and my mind automatically went to thinking, “If I was skinnier, this pose would look so much better.” Eventually, after a couple more poses, I found a pose I felt like I could at least deal with. I wrapped up the photo shoot and didn’t want to look in the mirror the rest of the day.

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.

As a body positive blogger, I felt so incredibly guilty. I thought if I was really in recovery I shouldn’t have felt the feelings I did. I kept telling myself I’m an awful influence for all my followers and many more negative thoughts. I slowly but surely realized my mind was in a state of judgment and was in what I call, “my eating disorder mode.”

After going to bed early, I felt a little bit better when I woke up and a little more at peace. I felt like I was able to come to terms with the fact I had more work to do with body image than I thought. I also realized that nobody’s recovery is “perfect” and that just because I sometimes struggle with my body image doesn’t mean I am toxic to my followers. I have actually felt that my authenticity of my recovery journey has been most helpful to my followers.

So, although last week I realized I wasn’t “healed,” I also realized it’s nothing to beat myself up over and it is something I can and will continue to work on.

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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Thinkstock photo via Maltiase.


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