Though many things led to my recovery, accepting these three things were vital: I had a problem, I needed help, and I needed to embrace my new body size.
Here’s why accepting these three things were vital to my recovery (and why you might need to accept them too).
1. Accept that you have a problem
The first concept is the importance of acceptance. Acceptance of yourself, but also acceptance of your disorder.
You need to be real with yourself and accept that you might need help.
You need to accept that even though you might look healthy, you are slowly killing your body. I had to do this too.
It took months into my eating disorder for me to finally accept that I had a problem. I was in denial. My brain tricked itself into thinking I could control what I ate and that ultimately, I could stop restricting anytime I wanted.
That could not have been farther from the truth.
See, during this time the eating disorder was consuming me – every part of me. It consumed my thoughts, my actions and food even controlled my dreams at night.
I was so far from being in control, but I did not want to admit that I had a problem. Honestly, I didn’t want to admit I had a problem because I was ashamed, scared and embarrassed. I felt weak and a little crazy because I struggled so much with food.
I wanted to be normal like my friends who could go out to eat, have fun, and order whatever they wanted on the menu without terrible anxiety. While I wanted that freedom, I also didn’t want to give in and admit that I had a problem.
2. Acknowledge your need for help
After a long time of being in denial, I was able to acknowledge that I had disordered eating patterns. Once I began to acknowledge that I had patterns of disordered eating, I finally began to accept that I had a problem.
And this led me to accept that I needed help. At first, I tried to downplay my disorder by letting myself think that the only help I needed was a close friend – but I needed more help. I needed a stronger intervention.
I had to give up my control and trust the professionals.
I had to accept that my lifestyle would ultimately lead to death if I did not seek help. That’s when I began to acknowledge my eating disorder and really focus on why it controlled me.
Acknowledgement is what ultimately lead me to recovery because it showed me I could no longer live the way I was living. I wanted freedom and I was ready to push through whatever faced me to get there.Submission to the eating disorders stronghold was lurking at my soul, but I had a desire to acknowledge that and fight back with all that was in me.
3. Embrace your new body
Further along in the recovery process, I had to get past another branch of acceptance. This type of acceptance was more difficult than any other acceptance that I had to face in my journey.
Accepting that my body had gained weight and was no longer skin and bones was very challenging for me.
It seems like it would be logical to happily accept the weight I had gained. After all, isn’t getting stronger and gaining weight what I needed? Wasn’t that my goal?
Yes, gaining weight and restoring my frail body was necessary. But the weight also brought about negative thoughts.
I wanted to be happy that I had gained weight and that I was fuller in the face, stomach, and legs. But when I looked in the mirror I saw one of my worst nightmares happening: I was getting bigger.
My face was rounder than it had been in years. I hated pictures and looking at myself because I no longer looked thin and petite. Instead, I looked much rounder. I felt less attractive.
Yet, I had to push past my thoughts and my fears and tell myself over and over again that I needed to accept my new weight. Through that, I would be able to accept my healing.
I had to accept that I will never be that tiny again. But that’s okay – because it is a sign I’m alive.
My new body size is a sign that I am feeding my body with fuel so that I can love those around me and love my life.
I will accept and let go of the desire to be small again. I no longer will attempt and chase after the desire to be “thin”. Because being “thin” comes with a price. And the price almost cost me my life.
On days when I see a picture of the way I used to be or see clothes that I used to be able to fit into, I’m now able to push away the thoughts that tell me I should go back to that. Instead, I remember the cost I had to pay for that body.
It stripped me of my personality, friends, good grades, thoughts, and ultimately my life. Being thin and restricting is never worth it.
I pray that you too will realize that and accept that it’s a good thing to never be that small again.
Your life deserves more. You deserve to have energy and to be able to run and laugh without getting light headed.