In eating disorder recovery, it is very important to learn to love and accept your body at any size. It’s highly likely that your weight will do all sort of crazy stuff in recovery. You may gain weight rapidly and it seems indefinite. You feel extremely bloated and gain many kilos of water weight in a matter of days. You feel your weight is only going to your belly and thighs, your digestion is messed up and you feel the food is just “sitting there”. All this will signal panic to almost everyone in the restrictive eating disorder spectrum. They think it is abnormal and should not be happening. That something is terribly wrong and they should just eat less or eliminate food groups.
This, ladies and gents, is a normal part of recovery! Your body will go through metamorphosis. It is recovering just as same as you are! Your body has been suffering hardcore while in eating disorder. It is not working against you. It is trying to rebalance, heal and figure things out. You have to provide positive and supportive mindset to do so.
Next are some of my best tips on how to accept your weight no matter what it is doing in recovery or where it will end up being after recovery. When I adopted these mindsets and behaviors in my recovery, I did not care anymore about my weight, I only cared about recovery.
1. Realize that restriction will NEVER work – You have to arrive at a point of mindset where you’d rather be at a higher weight than have an eating disorder and follow restrictive diets. This kind of thinking will set you free! It’s the point where you realize that you are absolutely DONE with following diets and rules, with bingeing, with having a constant fear of food and food obsession, and with purging.
Because what is the other option? To Diet? Restrict? Try to lose the weight? You know that it won’t work long term but only further damages your body and mind. When you realize this simple truth, you can see that there is no other option than to just accept your body and start living your life!
Adopt a mindset where you want to recover from your eating disorder rather than focus on your weight. You have to fully grasp that 99.9% of diets fail, and it’s complete INSANITY to believe you will be that 0.01% who succeeds. You have to accept your weight before you can actually recover, not the other way around.
You have to accept your weight before you can actually recover, not the other way around.
2. An eating disorder will NEVER result in health (skinny does not equal healthy) – This time your ED voice might argue back – “But if I am overweight I am not healthy!”
If you are TRULY worried about your health then you would focus on recovering your body and mind rather than focus on your weight.
Repeat after me – having an eating disorder is not healthy! Being heavier without an eating disorder is a MUCH better place to be! If you have to restrict to lose weight, it is never healthy and never will be!
Recovering from an ED is most important for your health. Focusing on weight loss is only keeping you FAR away from recovery and health. Even if you follow the most “healthy and perfect diet” in the world and lose weight by eating less than your body demands, you will still be binge-prone, tired, cold, miserable, and obsessed with foods. You will have low metabolism, you’ll lose your hair and have unhealthy skin, your hormones will be messed up, your metabolism will be low, you’ll always be cold, you’ll have insomnia, and you’ll suffer from symptoms of thyroid disease. Low weight is not worth all that!
You have to learn to accept your weight no matter where it’s gonna end up because it is the best thing you can actually do for your health (physical and mental health). Your body can repair itself and it won’t (EVER) need to suffer from the wear and tear of diets.
3. You have to rewire your brain – Right now, your brain is telling you all this ED negative-obsessive stuff, but you have to change your thoughts to get back your mental health and have a healthy body image. If you start to tell yourself positive and encouraging things when you look in the mirror, even if at first you don’t believe it, it will restore your confidence little by little until your brain automatically starts to think in a healthier, positive way.
Repeat, repeat, repeat to undo the brainwashing of all the bullshit from the diets and “ideal” body standards you were exposed to.
4. Would you say to your best friend, “You look so fat?” – Do not tell yourself things you wouldn’t tell your friend! Treat yourself as you would want to be treated by others. Treat yourself the way you’d treat your best friend.
Pay attention to the way you talk to yourself.
Never put yourself down. Pay attention to the way you talk to yourself. If you notice you’re saying negative things, change that. If you talk to yourself in a more positive manner, you will actually start to believe it and see yourself in a completely different way.
5. Stop the ED behaviors – Stop weighing and measuring yourself. Stop wearing overly tight clothes that make you feel uncomfortable. While in recovery, buy some comfortable, flowy clothes like long dresses and shirts or sweatpants so that you can feel a bit better when you’re experiencing potential recovery symptoms like water retention, bloating, digestion issues and weight gain.
Stop judging your body negatively when you look in the mirror. Don’t avoid looking at your body, either, or it can send a signal to your mind that you don’t accept yourself. When you look at yourself in the mirror, really see the things you like and love about yourself. Don’t make it all about your body, but also about you as a person!
6. Expose yourself to body diversity – Everybody has different body shapes and sizes. Do not compare yourself to “perfect” bodies in the media. Instead, go out into the city and notice how many different body types actually exist out there in the real world.
The more we are exposed to body diversity, the more we tolerate, accept, and even prefer different body types.
The more we are exposed to body diversity, the more we tolerate, accept, and even prefer different body types. The more we see one kind of body (either bigger or smaller), the more we like that kind of body. So the more you come out of the skinny-body-idealization bubble, the better your body image and the more supportive you become toward all kinds of different body types, including your own.
7. Focus on something else to stop searching for diets and watching triggering stuff – Watching videos and reading articles about weight loss and dieting; following triggering social media accounts that make you feel bad about your body will only brainwash you to think that you are not normal.
Start searching for what you love doing so you don’t have time to focus on your weight and “imperfect” body parts etc. Find other things that you love doing. Find a new hobby, go out with friends, or take an interesting course.
Unfollow all triggering media accounts and instead follow some positive accounts that focus on recovery, body positivity or something completely different like art, traveling, animals, positive quotes, or DIY.
Image from HERE.