When it comes to ending disordered eating/exercise behaviors, it’s really important to understand why you were doing them in the first place. While it’s really easy to say that you were doing those things to change your body so that you could feel better about yourself (read: adhere to our ridiculous and for most, impossible standards) or ‘be healthier’ (also, let’s be real, false), that simply isn’t the case.
You’ll argue that it is the case, and that it is as simple as that, and I know this because for a long time that was also my argument. I argued that it was just about my body and nothing else, AND I argued that it was for me and how I felt about myself, nobody else. It was all bullshit and if you say the same thing, it’s bullshit, whether you consciously recognize it or not.
Here’s the thing, it’s really easy to blame our bodies for our unhappiness/dissatisfaction with life. When we blame our bodies, we have a clear cut reason and about a million different ways to ‘fix it’ with a false guarantee of it working and making all of our problems go away. It makes it a simple problem and solution to what we’re feeling, but the fact is, what we’re doing is choosing not to feel. We’re choosing to use our bodies as a scapegoat and engage in disordered behaviors as a way to numb away from what’s really happening.
We do this with mindless t.v. watching, with drinking, with drugs, with gambling, with any coping mechanism that is being used to distract us from ourselves. When we do this, it creates a never ending cycle of pain and unhappiness because we never process through what was actually happening and this is why nothing is ever enough. This is why we’re never skinny enough, never fit enough, never healthy enough.
When we don’t address the real issue, nothing is ever solved. And the really hard and scary part is:
Once you take away your numbing coping mechanisms, you’re forced to deal with the really tough shit.
Once you have brain space for more, the things you were stuffing away come back. The trauma, the pain, everything you didn’t think you could handle when it happened, it all comes back. The key to healing is dealing with it. Working through it. Feeling it. Understanding it. And then, letting it go. This is the hard, messy, confusing shit that we didn’t understand how to feel or want to feel. That is why it can be really helpful, and in a lot of cases, necessary, for you to process through things with a therapist* or at the very least, have a solid support system to help you get through it.
Things like yoga nidra and meditation have also been proven to be helpful for teaching you how to be in your body and once you’ve learned how to be in your body, how to allow and feel your emotions and work through them, then it gets easier. That might take a while and that’s okay. You’re re-learning how to be in your body after years of disconnecting from it.
It gets harder before it gets better, but I promise it does get better.
It isn’t about the food. It isn’t about your body. It isn’t about your health. It never is. Stop dieting. Stop over exercising or exercising altogether for a while. Stop being a bully to your body. Start resting more. Start eating more. Stop tracking your food. Start healing. Talk your shit out.
You can do hard things.
*Affording therapy can be difficult for some. I’m in the same boat! Talkspace is a good affordable option. If finances are really tight, you can apply for financial aid with them (if they approve you, you will get a percentage discounted off of their services. It take all of 2 minutes to apply and you get a response immediately).
Disclaimer: I am not a therapist or medical professional. This is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any illnesses and should not be seen as a substitute for professional help. I share my experiences here in hopes of helping others, but I absolutely encourage you to seek professional help for your struggles.