It’s been a whirlwind of a month around here. The boys both had a horrible stomach virus (Rotavirus) followed by a pretty bad cold, another bad cold, and then ear infections. The hubs and I were both also sick. Needless to say, we’re all wiped out and in need of a break! Thankful for all the people who have helped us out over the past month, and especially to understanding co-workers who haven’t slapped us silly for missing work or leaving early for emergency daycare pick-ups, doctor visits, and other baby issues.
Anywho, I wanted to address a really important topic in this post. For those of you unfamiliar with my personal story and passion, read this post. But long story short, I struggled with an eating disorder for many years and have been in recovery for several years. I’m a registered dietitian passionate about helping others learn how to have a healthy relationship with food. As with anyone in recovery, it still gets hard. There are those moments and days when it comes rushing back and you just want to give up. But you don’t. So, how do you stay in recovery in challenging situations?
Keep centered and focused. Always easier said than done, I know. But remembering how far you’ve come in this process is so important. When the tough feelings arise and you’re super uncomfortable, it’s easy to snap into that mindset of wanting to be numb again. I get it. But step back and remember all the horrible things that come along with the numbness. (i.e. Lack of relationships, isolation, weakness, moments of near death, inability to enjoy just about anything.)
- Check in with someone you can trust. This could be a spouse/ significant other, a good friend, a therapist, a dietitian, or a family member. Let your feelings out by telling someone that you’re on the verge of some really uncomfortable emotions, and it makes everything feel difficult right in this moment. They may not understand, and that’s okay. They don’t need to completely understand-they simply need to listen and be by your side. Sharing your emotions can be extremely powerful. Don’t underestimate its worth in your recovery.
- Going along with #2, call or text a recovery friend, if you have one. Maybe you have a close friend from treatment or someone you know who also deals with similar issues. Reach out to them once in a while. Do not get into details here-that’s super important. By this, I mean that you should not share numbers, weights, grams, or anything else related. You can share feelings, however. Sometimes just texting someone who’s been there too really can help you feel less isolated and alone.
- Voice your needs, as much as possible. It’s important to let your needs be heard. It’s an important step in any recovery process, whether it be from an eating disorder or something else (alcohol, drugs, etc.) Hiding or stifling your needs will hinder your recovery process. However, I also say “as much as possible” because there are some situations in which it may not be 100% appropriate for you to shout out “hey! stop dieting or eating that salad for lunch because it makes me uncomfortable!” So in those situations, you may need to simply recognize your feelings, allow yourself to see how they are affecting you, and then process them with someone appropriate, such as a therapist or mental health counselor.
- On that note, also remember that everyone takes their own path in recovery and life. This means that the person eating only a small salad for lunch could have other issues going on that you don’t even know about. Perhaps they are recovering from a procedure or other health issue in which they can only have certain foods in specific portions at this particular time. Or perhaps they just had a sandwich and a piece of cake an hour ago, and right now, just a salad sounded good to them. Or perhaps they are struggling with a diet mentality, but they aren’t quite ready to open up to another way of eating. They will need to discover health and recovery in their own way, on their own timeline. But their path is separate from yours, so don’t let that sway you from your recovery path.
- Keep being YOU. You are an individual, a beautiful individual, a guiding light of love within this world. No matter what anyone else is doing, just keep being you. You don’t need to diet or partake in a juice cleanse or be vegan or eat only raw foods to be the very best version of you. In fact, what you eat has nothing to do with who you are. You may have moments in which you feel like you dislike yourself or dislike who you are, and that feeling in and of itself may make you want to improve yourself simply by changing your diet. However, your diet won’t change you. If you get caught up in those negative feelings, again, talk it out with someone you can trust (a therapist would be best for these deeper topics).
- And finally, nourish your body! Remember to enjoy life itself and all that it offers, including cake! We weren’t born to find the perfect diet. Life is about so much more than food, so do remember to enjoy it all. And if you find that your life is about nothing but food, you do need to talk to someone about this. I’m a dietitian, so yes, a lot of what I do and talk about pertains to food and nutrition. However, even if you are in the health/food field, if the majority of your life outside of work is about food or dieting, then it’s an issue. If your mind is absorbed by food or diet thoughts, it’s an issue. Life is so much more than breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
I hope this post helps someone out there who is struggling with the recovery path. Please don’t hesitate to comment, Facebook, or email 🙂 firstname.lastname@example.org
Have an awesome weekend, guys! XO