Just like the adage, “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone”, you don’t know how shitty you felt until you don’t feel shitty anymore. This is how I would characterize my feelings after going cold turkey from my rigid running routine.
Physical and Mental Signs of Starvation in Anorexia
When we are suffering from a restrictive eating disorder such as anorexia, which often times includes compulsive exercise and movement, we can be oblivious to how sick we truly are. We might “feel fine” or think we just look “fit” or like the thin ideal the media sells us at every opportunity. Even though eating disorders are not directly caused by wanting to lose weight or be thin (they are genetically based illnesses triggered by energy deficit, intentional or unintentional), when we are underweight for our body type it is easy to dismiss the life threatening signs of starvation under the guise of just trying to conform to our society’s narrow idea of an ideal or “healthy” body.
I tried to DIY my recovery many times by adding a few calories to my restrictive diet. But 1500/2000/3000 calories just felt like this tiny tease, those extra so many calories just a tiny crumb. I began to internalize the idea that if I ate a normal amount of calories, I'd be just as plagued by hunger (true at the time) and it seemed hardly worth the effort. Better to just stay thin, I'd be tortured by hunger either way.
Today, during my morning scroll through Facebook I saw a video that had been shared for a new Netflix show. The person who had shared the post seemed excited about this show. Unfortunately, I was not so excited after watching the trailer.
I’m sure you’ve heard it all: “work with a treatment team,” “love your body,” “throw out the scale,” to name a few. So, I’m not here to tell you what you already know. Even then, if knowledge was enough to recover from an eating disorder (ED), we’d all be in the centerfold of Recovery Today. I’m here to give you some strong, lasting jewels of advice that were cornerstones in my own personal journey with ED recovery during pregnancy. Or, for lack of more graceful words, I’m here to help you and your baby survive—and thrive. Because, let’s get real for a minute: Babies born toHYPERLINK "https://www.anred.com/pg.html" mothers with ED are at higher risk to have birth defects, be born prematurely or at a low birth weight, have lower IQs, have cerebral palsy, be retarded and emotionally infantile and dependent, have underdeveloped social skills and the inability to form successful relationships with other people; and mothers with ED are more likely to miscarry or have a stillborn.
Sometimes I get caught up in the future. Tabitha talked about this in one of my favorite podcasts with Thom Rutledge; that sufferers are so overly focused on the future and that is totally me. It’s the constant wonder of how I will be one year from now, one month from now and even, one meal from now. Of course, these are not positive wonderings.
One of the biggest unknowns for me is how and what I will eat once I have stabilized and live in the world as a recovered person. While I struggle with doubt and fear and anxiety about eating today, I can push through this thinking "I need this, I need to gain, I need all this food to recover, rebuild and restore my body" and I get that there is no such thing as too much food in recovery. There is no such thing as too much food in recovery. Those last 2 words stop me.
I’ve been on this Earth for 36 years and I’ve lived for 12 of those.
I say this, because for the past 24 years of my life, I’ve struggled with an Eating Disorder. I say “struggled” because Eating Disorders are not something people enter into willingly. They are not some hobby that people take on for reasons of vanity or selfishness. Quite simply, they are a mental illness and not a choice.
Affirmations; statements said with confidence about a perceived truth. Affirmations have been a staple of self-help and self-improvement work for decades. They have helped so many people make significant changes in their lives; but they don't always work for everyone. Why can one person have great success using this tool, while another sees no results at all?