The Pursuit of Healthy: 3 Ways to Change Your Disordered Thinking

2017-01-16

Image: Vin Ganapathy

I have spent my over half of my life with an eating disorder, while not always active, it is now something that will stay with me forever. Now, I am better equipped to deal with the mind game (I play on myself). I am also better equipped to deal with the world we live in that tells us exactly what healthy should look like.

Since I was 15, I have tried every diet and workout known to man. Wanting to be healthy was at the forefront; however, when I started losing weight-health quickly flew out the window. Obviously, that obsession to find the perfect combination of health and weight loss backfired.

After recovery, I knew what was considered healthy and unhealthy, but there is such a fine line. I was completely aware if I wasn’t careful, I could slip back into an eating disorder. So what happens when you are trying to be healthy AFTER you have been diagnosed with an eating disorder?

1. Be Careful

Yes, this is obvious. Who voluntarily chooses to spiral out of control into an eating disorder? I would venture to say no one, but how many of us have said, “I just need to lose ten pounds!” That thinking is risky. What happens if you can’t lose those magical ten pounds; are you a failure? What if you do?

“I just need to lose ten pounds!” That thinking is risky.

Being recovered from an eating disorder is tough because life causes our bodies to change for a variety of reasons-some we can control and some we can’t. And unlike other addictions and disorders, everyone needs food to live. So how can someone be careful? Simple, change your mindset, but you have to do it every day!

2. Think Health, Not Weight

There are many times I will catch myself organizing my next diet and next weight loss “goal”. Even after recovery I could always keep these diets under control, so clearly they weren’t problems, right? I think it is safe to say, most people hate diets (can’t spell diet without die). So why engage in something that makes you miserable and unhappy?

Instead of dieting, identify one thing you could do to make your life healthier: maybe parking farther away at the grocery store or drinking more water. Mine was skipping a day at the gym-yes skipping a day- to spend time with my children and husband. It is about health-mental and physical. Those should be your goals. Making yourself the best all-around you!

It is about health-mental and physical. Those should be your goals. Making yourself the best all-around you!

Find something in your life you like: reading, nature, crafting-start incorporating these things into your life as a focus-you’d be surprised how your self-worth will begin to change.

3. Ditch the Rules

It’s weird, when I stopped giving myself mini weight-loss goals to achieve or a certain amount of workouts to accomplish each week, the happier I got. Now, I go to the gym because I enjoy it, and if I don’t feel like going-I don’t…it is the most freeing feeling! The same can be said with food, if I am hungry, I eat. I am able to listen to my body and fuel it for what it needs.

If you think of all of these healthy choices as things you have to do, you are living the unhealthiest life. Throw away the scales, the magazines (of what you should look like), stop following the people on social media that make you want to be “healthier” and start listening to your body.

Overall, health is relative; everyone’s version looks different.

Overall, health is relative; everyone’s version looks different. To be truly happy and healthy, you have to find your outlets. Start putting value into the human you are and not the shell you are in. You will find your health and happiness will follow.

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