ED Recovery and Radical Self Love, Health & Fitness., On Mental Health

Healthy Mindset

This blog documents a lot of the pauses/detours I had in my eating disorder recovery. When I look back, a lot of the problem was me not knowing exactly where I was going. And – I guess if we’re going to stick with the traveling metaphor – periodically, I even had the mistaken belief that I was at the end of my journey. When, truthfully I was either on a detour or just resting somewhere for a bit to reorient and figure out my real destination.

“I Just Want To Be Healthy and Achieve Longevity For My Family’s Sake.”

This was one of those rest stops that I thought was my destination. And this is one I am thinking about a lot lately because it’s how my husband currently approaches food/fitness and I have a hard time not projecting my eating disorder onto his lifestyle choices.

Here’s the thing: I am still in recovery and so any attempt to log macronutrients or calories or fat or sodium in any attempt to affect change to my blood pressure or cholesterol or whatever…is triggering. And I know that word is overused, but when you are actually in recovery or treatment for a mental health disorder, you have to avoid triggers. If I start looking at good and bad fats – that could be my slippery slope back to Orthorexic behaviors. So, I have to change the way I think about my actual hopes/dreams of my life/longevity.

I also know how easily I used to hide my internalized anti-fatness underneath health and longevity goals.

In the simplest terms – I do not want to waste anymore time thinking about food or my body. Period. Maybe someday I can look at my bloodwork, or medical metrics and work to improve them; but right now I’m still in recovery from my eating disorder and I do not want to backtrack on that.

So I have to reshape how I look at my “goals” right now. What is the point of a long healthy life if you’re not enjoying meals with family or if you’re constantly wrestling with internalized anti-fatness? What’s the point of living longer for your kids if you’re passing disordered eating or anti-fatness down to them?

Right now, I am making up for lost time. I’m enjoying life without thinking about food or health or my body. I need to stay here for awhile to get stronger. Hell, I might not ever be able to have a “normal” approach to conversations around things like blood pressure or diabetes. But if there’s a chance, I have to build myself back up without anti-fatness and that means eating and moving and living without thinking about any metrics around health or longevity.

I’m reading more and painting more and having more conversations with my kids and hanging out with my family and none of that is tainted with thoughts about what I’m eating or how my body looks.

I have written about this before – but I can scroll through photos from about 2019 and earlier and honestly tell you what I was thinking about my body and my food that day. Like, I can see this picture of myself from Mother’s Day 2018 and specifically thinking about how I felt like a navy blue blob all day and I struggled to find photos we took that I liked. I remember LOVING this one because Wes blocked my body.

And y’all? I though I was better then. I had stopped running like a maniac and was “focusing on my health and fitness to be active and live longer” – but I still was drowning in anti-fatness underneath all of those thoughts about “wellness” and so I still remember more about hating my body that day than about time with my kids. Which is why I know that approach can still cover up a lot of toxic mentalities and behaviors.

Whereas my Mother’s Day shoot this year was full of hilarious memories and zero thoughts about my body or my food choices. I look at these photos and just remember how happy I was in the sun laughing with my family.

Right now I just have to tell myself that every day I live with my kids without drowning in self-hatred or anti-fatness or diet/fitness obsession – is a gift. And if something happens down the road and some doctor indicates this caused my heart disease, or diabetes or something – then first: I’ll get a new doctor. Then, I’ll try to find one that understands the seriousness of ED recovery and can help me improve health metrics without ever discussing weight or calories or without adding moral value to foods.

But I’m not going to stress out about that now. I’m going to be kind to myself and recognize the difficult journey I’ve been on in my recovery and not try to put any extra and unnecessary pressure on myself. I’m going to celebrate every day I live for my family and NOT perpetuating anti-fatness or diet culture. I’m going to enjoy all of the meals we share together and I’m going to keep all foods morally neutral.

There are many ways to measure health and in all of the important ones right now: I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been.

2 thoughts on “Healthy Mindset”

  1. From a random internet stranger: I’m so proud of how far you’ve come. You’re an inspiration and a goal for me.

  2. I LOVE that you share these thoughts with the world!!!! It made me think about….
    *how Abraham Hicks frequently suggests that to shift energies around a subject you can try to just think about it less. I think you are on to something!
    *this past week as a friend propped her camera up to take a group photo of us I could see myself in the camera and adjusted the way I was sitting so as not to look so fat and compared myself to the other friends. As a newer fat person (after COVID and paired with perimenopause) I am also newer to these thoughts and want to notice them quickly so as to accept and then replace them
    *I remember you taking about trying to actually love parts of your body that are now different and I think about that as I notice my big belly in the shower—and try to love it more
    *have you ever heard of Kids Eat In Color? she’s a dietician helping out stressed out mom’s and I just love her! I thought of her when you said “I’m going to keep all foods morally neutral”. That’s not how she says it but she has the same message. I think had she been my mom I would have a totally different relationship with food—so I read her things to get her voice in my head and then I use it when I need to re-parent the wounded child inside of me as we talk about food and weight and health.
    Thanks for these conversations, you are appreciated!!
    Julie A

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