When I first began recovery I fought it with every fiber of my being. I was totally cheating the recovery system. It was just so easy to.
The only person checking in on me was my mom and I could easily lie about drinking a protein shake or adding butter to my English muffin. My restrictions continued meal after meal as I moved away to college just one week into my recovery.
In all honesty, I was eating more food than I had eaten in a long time. But I was still restricting myself to foods I deemed “safe” or “healthy.”
Even though I was restricting, I still attended counseling sessions and went through a physical examination and weight check. They still scared me to death, but I kept going.
But then something snapped.
On the day of one of my my weight checks, I restricted hard.
Suddenly, I was terrified to gain weight.
I must have weighed myself 30 times in a span of 10 minutes. All on a cheap scale that gave me a different reading every time I dared to look down at the numbers.
What do I even want?
But I went to my weight check, my heart racing. I was silently begging for there to be no gain.
And there wasn’t.
I was shocked. Based on what I ate I thought I should have weighed more.
I had been cheating at recovery
But to my horror, I still wasn’t relieved at the numbers. Even though no change in weight was what I thought I wanted, I was terrified.
I realized that I didn’t want to die. I wanted to be able to live a normal life.
One day, I wanted a life when every second of my day wasn’t consumed with my obsession around calories, food, or how many steps I had gotten.
That night I went to the movies. I remember sitting there cursing the fact that someone had brought candy to share during the film. I looked at the milk duds scanning the nutrition facts on the back faster than humanly possible attempting to determine how many I could eat.
But before I could tell myself I couldn’t eat the whole box, I stopped and said I’d had enough. I didn’t want to sit in that theater and waste my time counting out 28 pieces because that was one serving size. I wanted to eat the whole box because I was starving – and because I could.
So I did it. I ate the whole box of milk duds before the previews ended. And let’s just say they were delicious.
That night, I ripped off the band aid. I stopped my endless restrictions in recovery.
When I got home from the movies I ate cookies and peanut butter.
I ate it because I was hungry and my body needed it. I was finally craving food and allowing myself to eat it, something I hadn’t done in months.
E A T
My extreme hunger was only just beginning at this point. The next morning I woke up had my usual breakfast. And then proceeded to eat more cookies and an entire jar of peanut butter. I was insatiable, and it never felt so good.
So, I began eating anything and everything my body craved. I would visit the dining hall and watch as the soccer team stared in amazement as I put away sandwiches, pizza, fries and some ice cream for good measure. For the first time in along time I felt like the old Libby.
So, my advice for you is simple. I know it’s scary to think you can just eat whatever you want – and believe me, I was as terrified as you are right now. But you have to make a choice:
Do you want to be the person counting out a serving of milk duds during a movie when you’re 70 years old, or do you want to rip off the band aid and just enjoy your life?
Recovery isn’t easy, and it shouldn’t be. We have done so much harm to our bodies; everything can’t be fixed overnight.
But I can tell you this – choose recovery everyday.
Even when it feels like you don’t deserve to eat, just do it.
Once you begin fueling yourself again, you are closer to freeing yourself from your eating disorder.
You are becoming the warrior you need and were meant to be.
You are becoming who you always were, you are setting yourself free from the chains of your eating disorder on the inside and outside.