I can still remember sitting in the group room. I was at the Columbia Day Eating Disorders program in New York City. It was 2010, but I recall it like it was yesterday. I was in a partial hospitalization program for anorexia and exercise addiction.
“I did not do cardio yesterday. I did a yoga class instead.” Claps filled the room and a small grin appeared on my face. It still does as I write this. I was obsessed with cardio- I could not relax unless “exercise” on my “to-do” was crossed off. But yesterday I changed the dance- I engaged in a new behavior and even though it was scary, I felt empowered.
A client sent me this photo yesterday. It is a wonderful reminder to make sure that during recovery from eating disorders, that you pause and reflect on your journey. Stop and notice the small victories. For some of us with eating disorders we are plagued by our self-critical voices, pointing out all the things we are not doing. We focus on what we can do better or where we missed the mark.
Let us change the dance and focus on what we are doing. Here are some of the victories that I have heard from clients lately:
- I ate lunch every day this week.
- I reached out to support instead of bingeing.
- I was honest with my support team on my meal logs.
- I went out to pizza with friends, even when it was earlier than I like to eat dinner.
- I got out of bed when I was filled with sadness.
- I showed up for session, even though I was triggered by a comment my mom made.
- I ate carbs!
- I ate breakfast, a meal I have been avoiding for years.
- I watched an episode of “Headspace” on Netflix (mindfulness show).
- I tried a new recipe.
Recovering from an eating disorder is grueling work. Sometimes you feel like you take a small step forward, just to then take a big leap backwards. This is part of the journey.
So, what is one of your small victories? Please share with me. I would love to listen.
Full recovery is possible.
Serenity Always, Meredith