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Please Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People in Eating Disorder Recovery

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of articles and posts from people in eating disorder recovery stating that other people’s recovery stories don’t resonate with them, or shouldn’t “count” as recovery.

Like many people in eating disorder recovery, I too still have a problem with occasionally comparing myself to other people’s recovery, especially on Instagram. However, that’s largely part of the nature of the illness — constantly comparing your looks, food, life and weight to others.

So why are we also comparing recoveries? Why are we invalidating another person’s success because it looks different from ours? That’s not recovery, that’s the illness talking.

Working in the fitness industry and being open about my recovery has gotten a fair amount of backlash. Unfortunetly, this is common. Recovery is individual, it’s not a one size fits all. Recovery is about balance. I enjoy salad and working out, but I also will make chocolate chip muffins or cookies and eat those too. However, no one talks about that. Thus it doesn’t “resonate” with their recovery.

To those of us who receive this backlash, it’s not only detrimental to our recovery, but it also undermines our hard-earned victory of beating this illness. It’s especially hurtful when another recovered individual does this. It leads to questioning our own recovery, feeling ashamed about our new life and being embarrassed of our bodies.

Recovery is learning to love the skin you’re in, flaws and all, choosing to eat the salad — not because you have to — but because you want to. Same with cookies. Same with that extra foamy pumpkin latte. Same with working out. It’s supporting others in their journey and not comparing. In the end, it does more harm then good. We should be congratulating each other’s successes, however big or small.

Eating disorders kill. They’re the monsters under the bed, the fanged creature in the dark alley. They are not our friends. We need to stop comparing other’s recovery to our own, not only for the sake of their recovery, but to ours as well. We are warriors, and to recover from an eating disorder requires a lot of strength and courage. As warriors we need to stand together, because we have all been fighting the same dark force. It’s OK if we used different weapons to face it.

Photo by Aricka Lewis on Unsplash