3 Things I Do Regularly to Regain Power Over My Eating Disorder

I believe that eating disorder recovery is a choice. I have choices — multiple times a day — to eat my food and allow it to nourish my body. It is my decision and mine alone to choose recovery on a regular basis. Nobody else has control over this, and in this way I am the only one with the agency to move toward a recovered life for myself. While it is sometimes easy to get lost in feeling powerless and my inability to count on my follow-through to feed myself without behaviors, it is just as simple to find personal power in making recovery-oriented decisions.

I recently had a form of the stomach bug, and it was very triggering to my eating disorder self. I wanted to use it as an excuse to purge; I wanted to use behaviors to make my nausea go away. I was able to talk myself out of this choice because I reminded myself of what I am truly about: recovery. Some days are harder than others, but when I follow through with recovery-oriented decisions on a regular basis, it becomes a habit to make those choices when the going gets tough.

These are some things I do on a regular basis to create personal power and find my voice in eating disorder recovery.

1. Journaling

Journaling allows me to reflect on my emotional state while I also process the reasons I am considering a behavior. I can recommit in my journal entry to eat food that fuels my body and make a pact with myself to allow it to nourish me. Journaling is essential to my mental health, and I recommend it to everybody who has trouble with racing thoughts or impulsive behaviors.

2. Reaching Out

It’s important to remind myself that I do not need to do life alone. I feel loved and supported by the family I have created for myself, which is essential to my recovery. I know that if I stumble, they are there to help me up. The feeling is mutual, as I am there for them as well. I also have professionals in my life who allow me to see my progress, which reminds me of why I am in this journey to begin with. I am reminded of my passion for living on a regular basis because I surround myself with like-minded people.

Since reaching out is the opposite of isolating, I empower myself by surrounding myself with people who love me and those I love in return. It allows me to feel like I belong on this huge planet, instead of getting stuck on thoughts that I am not enough or am alone in my behaviors.

3. Connecting Spiritually

Knowing that I am not alone means more than reaching out to friends in the mortal realm. It also means connecting with my Higher Power. By having an open-ended conversation with my Higher Power, I am not only showing willingness to change, but I am showing humility. I do not know all, but I do have choices to make. I can be guided in these choices if I simply ask for help.

My Higher Power tends to put people in my life who can help me after I ask for it, and that’s a surprising thing. This being said, I still have to make the decision to feed myself. My Higher Power cannot do that for me. The Universe didn’t create me so that I would starve myself. I have a purpose, I have a reason to be here, and I must show up for my body if I am to fulfill this.

Every time I feed myself and allow that food to nourish my body is an opportunity to feel empowered in my recovery. I am the sole human responsible for this, and since I am an adult, it’s up to me. I am strong, and I must use this strength to move toward the future of a recovered life. This is what I want for myself, and sometimes I need a gentle reminder that I am worthy, capable and brave enough to accomplish this for myself. I hope these tools can be helpful to you, too.

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Unsplash image via Sam Manns

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