Recovery from an eating disorder is kind of like abstract art. People see in in different ways. Some people believe in full recovery. Others see recovery as something that you continue for your entire life. Like being on the “road to recovery“. But how do you know that you’re making progress?
Recovery is definitely a tricky thing to define.
How do you determine the difference between being “in recovery” to “recovered”?
You might take some detours or come across some bumpy road. After all, recovery is a journey. While it’s hard to put a finger on the moment that you transition from being in recovery to being recovered, I think there are some signs that can let you know that you’re headed in the right direction. So…
Here a four signs that you’re on the road to recovery.
1. Grocery shopping takes less time
Can you relate to spending ridiculous amounts of time turning over every single item at the grocery store to scrutinize the nutrition label before putting it into the cart? I can. Nothing went into that cart without a full background check. This made grocery shopping take so long.
When you can finally shop and pick items that look good to you without reviewing the nutrition label, this is a sign that you’re making progress. So, the next time you find yourself freely tossing something into the cart at the grocery store do a little happy dance. Because you’re that much closer to freedom.
2. You find yourself out with friends
This isn’t true for everyone, but many people find themselves isolated in the depths of their eating disorder. If this is true for you, going out with friends can be a sign that you’re making progress.
You don’t even necessarily have to feel super comfortable doing it. The fact that you’re making an effort and getting out of your comfort zone is reason enough to celebrate.
3. You’re doing less math
I hate math. Like, seriously hate math. Yet, I was always doing mental (and sometimes actual) calculations when I was in my eating disorder. It was almost unconscious sometimes.
Now, the only math I have to do is when I help my little brother with his homework. Gone are the days of mental calculations and whipping out my calculator to try to comfort my eating disorder voice. So, if you find yourself giving up the numbers, know it’s a sign of victory.
4. Food isn’t the only think you look forward to
Food tends to be the center of your life when you have an eating disorder. Your next meal can feel like only thing you have to look forward to.
As you journey into recovery, you might find that your world expands. It’s no longer just about food. Now I happily look forward to things like yoga class, ballet, and getting together with friends. Food is a part of my life, but not my whole life.
5. You don’t want to go backwards
In the beginning stages of recovery, deep down, you might not really want to get better. You may be thinking, “I’ll get better enough so people will stop bothering me about this. Then I’ll go back to my old ways.”
One sign that you’re on the road to recovery is that you don’t want to go back to your eating disorder. I think this is the truest sign of recovery. When you can realize that you’re never going back there.
When you realize that your eating disorder was a dark and lonely place and that you never want to live there anymore, you know you’re headed in the right direction. In those moments when you realize that you’re living real life. And that it’s much, much better than that any comfort than your eating disorder had to offer.