Eating disorders are not about food

From the moment I woke up until I went to sleep, the only thing on my mind was food, an endless obsession with calories and grams. The funny thing is that food was not the problem or the solution; it was not about food.

You see, an eating disorder is like a religion with behaviours, habits and practices that go beyond losing weight because the core belief of this “religion” is the idea that once you are skinny, all your problems will magically disappear. Finally, you will be good enough; yet, you will be lovable.

But the more you control food the more food controls you

Finding one thing that you can control feels very good, especially when you lack control in your life. It gives you the false idea that you are “safe” won’t lose yourself as long as you keep it all under control. And for a while, you lose weight and get positive feedback, and you feel empowered and full of motivation.

“What we resist, persists”

But with control comes rules and with rules comes restriction, and the more you restrict, the more you feed the problem. Also, because the same foods you’re restricting are the same, you will probably binge and eat in secret.

So now what? Well, in this religion, when you lose control and self-discipline, you feel an urge to “repair” the damage as soon as possible, maybe throwing up or doing hours of intense exercise or perhaps both… and you do it all over again and again and again.

Identity crisis

Slowly but surely, our beliefs become habits of thinking, feeling and behaviour. We are what we believe we are and to change our beliefs is to modify our identities. That is why recovering from an eating disorder threatens our sense of self, and this is a terrifying place to be even scarier than being ill because it is unknown. Let go of all the habits and beliefs is a challenging step to make, but there is no real healing without it.

Letting go

While recovering from bulimia, I was scared of losing myself and not knowing who I was or could be without the eating disorder. I couldn’t imagine myself without it, and a part of me wanted to have it, but a more significant and healthier part wished to be free.

I knew that all the treatment would not work until I let go of my attachment to the illness, but it felt like an octopus glued to me from head to toe that became my skin. It was painful to have it as it was the idea of not having it. It was my safe place; When I was sad, angry, happy or alone. But it was time to face life and sit with the emotions and thought I had inside me.

So slowly, I tore it apart from me and let all fears free; I was in pain, I was vulnerable around food for a long time, but it was all worth it to recover my skin and give birth to a healthier me.

You must let go and kill yourself to be born again like the phoenix that obtains new life by arising from the ashes

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