We all have our positive qualities which we proudly splash on social media whether the world asks for it or not. We also have those qualities that we find less desirable. These are the parts of ourselves that we go to great lengths to keep hidden from others. I am no exception. Sure, I’m an intelligent, tenacious, and compassionate woman, but I also am aware of aspects of my personality that can be troublesome at times. I find that I often focus so much on the details that I lose sight of the big picture and I am extremely hard on myself because I want things to be just-so.1 These traits played a role in how I viewed my eating disorder recovery, and a perfect example of this occurred one sunny morning about two years ago.
Sundays are my typical grocery shopping days and I have a particular store that I go to. One day I pulled into the parking lot and the store was closed because of a power outage. Knowing that I couldn’t do much about it, I hopped back in the car and drove to another store.
As I made my way across town, I began to worry about whether or not I would be able to find the foods I had grown accustomed to. I gently chastised myself for getting worked up over something as trivial as whether or not they had my specific type of salad mix. I’m flexible. It’ll be fine if I get conventional instead of organic! My reassuring self-talk calmed my mind as I pulled into the parking lot. With resolve, I found a stall, left my tendency to overthink at the door, and entered the store ready to shop.
After selecting my fresh produce and dairy, I arrived at the frozen foods section. I did not see my usual brand of frozen yogurt but decided that this would be a good opportunity to try something different. I was an intuitive eater now and had food freedom, so I could pick any one I wanted! My enthusiasm waned as I looked at product after product trying to figure out which one to buy. Some of the flavors didn’t appeal to me and some were chock-full of nasty tasting sweeteners. Just grab one, Deborah, and be done with it! I just stood in the middle of the aisle unable to come to a decision. My frustration eventually got the best of me and I headed to the check-out line without any dessert.
My head hung low as I walked across the parking lot towards my car. I tossed the groceries in the back seat, plopped myself down behind the wheel, and tears filled my eyes. I felt dejected. How could I be so indecisive and let food take up that much of my time when I’m better? Well, I’m not better, that’s why! I immediately wanted to burn my intuitive eating book, dust off the scale, and sign up for Weight Watchers again.
When I got home, I took some deep breaths and sat with my feelings until they passed. Once I was level-headed, I took a step back. I realized that I wanted to quit intuitive eating because I let myself get so caught up in the small details of the moment that I didn’t see my overall progress. I saw the grocery store incident as failure. My perfectionist mind told me that if I failed at buying a simple dessert, then I would fail at intuitive eating so there was no point in continuing. This was faulty logic. I had been an intuitive eater and left without dessert because none of the options genuinely appealed to me. Because I was so hard on myself, I failed to recognize the significance of this.
Now when I look back and compare my present to past, I realize that I did take many small steps toward recovery which led to tremendous growth over time. I’m happy to say that I acknowledge and am proud of these substantial changes in my life:
|Where I started…||Where I am now (for the most part)2….|
|I counted calories and freaked out when I went over my allotted amount.3||I eat with flexibility and realize that my eating isn’t perfect.|
|I weighed myself multiple times a day and the number on the scale always affected my mood.||I rarely weigh myself. When I do, I see the number as a number. It does not define me.|
|I stressed out about any shifts in my weight.||I know that my natural weight is within a range and fluctuations are normal.|
|I thought about food constantly and it disrupted my life.||My mind is free now to think about other things.4|
|I over-exercised to lose weight and sometimes injured myself.||I exercise because it feels good and I allow my body time to recover.|
|I felt tired during and after my workouts because I didn’t eat enough.||I have energy during my workouts because I give myself adequate fuel.|
|I worried about having fat on my body.||I accept my body.|
|I used food to cope with uncomfortable feelings.||I sit with my feelings and use healthy coping strategies to deal with them.|
|I focused solely on my appearance.||I acknowledge what wonderful things my body does for me on a daily basis.|
|I drastically changed my eating habits because I grew to hate and fear food.||I enjoy my food and I refuse to change what I eat to alter my body.|
I think that many of us get so caught up in the day-to-day challenges of intuitive eating that we don’t consider our overall success. There are bumps in the road and the pacing may be erratic, but we should never discount our progress. We have to acknowledge all victories, big or small, because any step we take away from dieting is a step in the right direction.
Please share your progress in the comment section below.
2I am far from perfect and sometimes old habits pop up. But I squash them as soon as possible!
3And once I started freaking out, my thoughts would run amok!
4Hello playing the piano, reading for pleasure, and trying my hand at writing!
Thank you so much for reading my blog! I am honored that you chose to read about my experience.
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