Why You Need to Break Your Eating Disorder’s Rules

When we are sick, we place food rules, restrictions, guidelines, etc. on us in order to to keep us “safe”. But these rules actually keep us stuck and keep us sick. In order to move forward in recovery, you must be willing to break rules.

Oftentimes these self-imposed rules empower restrictive behavior and don’t allow us to truly enjoy the lives we deserve to have. For example, not allowing yourself to enjoy a piece of birthday cake out of fear can feel isolating and disheartening. Not allowing yourself to eat when you’re hungry just because it isn’t “mealtime” can induce stress and anxiety. and even have you miss out on an experience if you’re out with friends.

Having rules around food and weight are unhealthy ways of managing stress and anxiety. Keeping these rules will prevent growth and change from occurring. If you truly want to move forward and start enjoying life, feeling less anxiety, and feeling better in your mind and body; you have to start breaking rules. Write them down and make it a goal to break at least one rule a week. It will be uncomfortable and scary at first, but over time you’ll feel stronger and more confident to keep going.

Taking action and being proactive in facing your fears and breaking down the barriers that are holding you back will make you free. It will empower you, make you feel more confident, and eventually it will get easier.

An example of a rule to be broken is doing something you are afraid to do like eating a “fear food”. Or it may be something you should try not to do; e.g. weighing yourself.

One rule I had to break in order to further my recovery was eating when it was past my “eating window.” I kept finding myself hungry late at night and not responding to my body’s needs was negatively affecting my sleep. Once I decided to break my rule and eat something before bed, my sleep improved and I felt better. It didn’t kill me, it didn’t hurt me, it actually wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be. The anxiety passed and the discomfort turned into confidence. I had won a small battle against my disordered thinking that I could utilize as a tool for motivation to break more rules

As you begin to break more of your rules associated with the eating disorder, your inner warrior will become stronger. One key thing to remember when breaking rules is that it will be uncomfortable at first, so you must ride the wave of negative thoughts and emotions when they arise. The feelings will pass and you will be okay. This is when you will realize how strong and capable you are.

Breaking your self-imposed rules won’t make you bad or weak. It will make you realize how they were preventing you from truly enjoying life.

I believe breaking the rules of an eating disorder will make you a better person, a stronger person, and a happier person. So go out and break some rules. It will be the start of living a life without your eating disorder.

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