What I Wish I Knew Before Starting Anorexia Recovery
I began my journey with anorexia when I was around 12 years old. I didn’t realize it was an eating disorder until a year or two in. I’ve been in recovery for about three years, and I’ve had a couple of relapses here and there. Recently, I’ve been doing really well. I’ve gained weight and I’ve become healthier. Recovery is scary, and I didn’t know what I was getting into when I decided things needed to change. Below are the things I wish I knew before starting recovery.
- You’re going to gain weight, but it’s going to be okay. Part of your recovery is gaining weight back. You can’t keep a BMI of 14 forever. Gaining weight is part of becoming healthy. Your body is still beautiful, even with gaining weight.
- You’re going to need to eat more than just your safe foods. Recovery isn’t just about gaining weight, it’s about getting yourself to eat right. It’s about learning what is good for your body. Your body has struggled, this is your time to make it up to it.
- People will comment on your eating habits. I’m sure you’re used to this already. The infamous “just eat a cheeseburger” line was repeated to me hundreds of times. They may notice that you’re eating more, and they may comment on it.
- You are allowed to say you’re not comfortable talking about it. Does your mom bring up your weight all the time? Tell her, nicely, and repeatedly if needed, that you don’t want to talk about your weight as it makes recovery difficult. Do your friends comment on what you eat? Tell them, nicely again, that you don’t wish to talk about food. If you say it enough times, people will start listening.
- Some days are going to be really difficult. You’ll have days where you think “I can’t believe I just ate that,” and you’ll have days where you look at yourself and hate what you see. If you have one of those days, take a deep breath and write down everything you love about yourself (And don’t tell me “I don’t like anything about myself.” Your smile, the way you help others, your eyes, your sense of humor. It doesn’t have to be something about your body, it just has to be a reminder that you are enough.
- You’re going to need to weigh yourself. You don’t have to do this all the time, but you need to know what you weigh. If you drop below a certain weight, it can be extremely dangerous and you need to help your body survive.
- You need to be kind to your body. You put your body through hell when you have an eating disorder. Heart rate, blood pressure, fat, muscle, bone density, your hair, your nails, your kidneys, they ALL suffer. Now is your chance to apologize.
- You need to listen to your body. If your stomach is telling you that you’re hungry, eat. If you’re feeling thirsty, drink water. If you’re feeling weak or tired, take a nap. Your body gives you signals and warnings. You need to listen to them.
- You’re going to need someone to talk to. Days are going to be difficult, and holding the feelings in is unhealthy. Talk to someone about what you’re feeling. If you think you have no one, Crisis Text Line is there for you.
- You are beautiful no matter what. No description needed here really. You are beautiful.