Thank you for your very candid question and all your honesty. It sounds like such a difficult place you’re in, feeling uncomfortable in your body, hating yourself both physically and emotionally, being surrounded by waste and feeling hopeless.
Part I- Forgiveness:
Your first step is to literally take a step out of yesterday. Allow yourself to shed the past. Allow yourself to step away from the things that happened in the past, that you shed more than 100 pounds and that you gained a lot of it back. Let’s attribute a lot of that to living with an eating disorder. This is a new chapter in your life, one where you are choosing to heal. A big part of healing is forgiveness. So you need to first forgive yourself for the past. You state that you hate your body. But your body needs love and support right now while it heals. I want you to start by just quietly sitting with your eyes closed and telling your body that you are sorry for all that you’ve put it through, all the bingeing, starving, obsessive exercise, mean thoughts, and that you know it’s been through a lot but from now on you guys are a team, that you are going to begin to treat it with kindness so that it can heal. Then ask your body what it needs. Then just quietly listen and wait. Your body will tell you what it needs.
Part II- The Healing Process:
Instead of focusing on being skinny or healthy, begin to focus on feeling better both physically and emotionally. Sometimes we can trick ourselves into believing that we are focused on health when we are really still being gripped by a desire to be skinny. I suggest starting a mindfulness practice to check in with yourself physically and psychologically. Set an alarm on your phone (or watch or whatever you have) to go off every 2 hours. Every time it goes off, take a break from whatever you are doing. If you can find a quiet place to go, even better, if not, just quietly take a few deep breaths into your belly and ask yourself, “how am I doing?” “what do I need emotionally?” “what do I need physically?” You might hear that you need a nap, or an apple, or to talk to a good friend on the phone, or to get some air, or whatever it is that you need. The first step in healing is to begin to attune to yourself and figure out who you are and what you need. Being gripped by an eating disorder is the opposite of being attuned to yourself, you are totally separate from yourself because the eating disorder is dictating your behavior instead of what you truly need. Give yourself a month of this practice before even attempting to do anything else. The next part of your healing process is thinking about helping your body heal. If you are slow and achey, you should definitely go see a doctor to consult, get your blood tested and get an approved exercise plan. Once you are cleared, doing really fun but gentle exercise (things that are easy on your joints like water aerobics) is a great idea. You then can begin to think about getting your food back in order, once you are in a better relationship with yourself. Your relationship with yourself should be number one, not your relationship with food, which is why I’m suggesting that you wait on thinking about food until you’ve spent more time with your own needs. When you are ready, I’d recommend you seeing a nutritionist who specializes in treating eating disorders to support you in getting your food back on track. My philosophy in food is allow everything, but have gentle, loving boundaries. This could look like 3 meals a day and 1-2 snacks that are 80% whole foods and 20% other.
I hope that this was helpful for you. Please do comment in the comments sections with anymore follow-up questions.
Do you have a question about binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, or anything associated with eating disorders? Send an email to bingeeatingtherapy at gmail dot com. All questions will be kept confidential. Include your first name or the name you want to be referred to as and your location. Are you interested in online therapy to deal with your eating disorder? Please see my website or email me to discuss getting started.
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