You probably think this is going to be one of those posts where I give you all kinds of awesome diet advice and tell you what to eat, how much variety you should get, how many calories to ingest, and how to exercise and how MUCH to exercise right?
Because we all know that people who have struggled with eating disorders are complete experts on this kind of stuff right?
I think one of the most ironic and hilarious aspects of the eating disorder is that even though it makes you into a total health-freak and convinces you that you are the healthiest person on the entire planet, in reality you are ANYTHING BUT.
In fact it takes years and lots of blood, sweat and tears to undue all of the lies and deception that the eating disorder has ground into your brain.
Unneccessary information like, “It’s a sin to eat late at night because it will make you fat,” and “Carbs will make you fat,” and “Sitting does not burn any calories,” all get shoved in there and become the cornerstone for your daily living.
Now that I am actually moving further forward in my recovery than ever before I actually reject any and all diet or exercise advice that I may see plastered throughout the world. I flip past the articles in magazines, I scoff at those hateful “Dr. Oz,” and “The Doctors,” shows (although that may be because I just hate doctors in general 🙂 ), and I block diet advice when my coworkers feel the need to preach.
The point is, I don’t need the world’s FALSE INFORMATION to fuel my eating disorder any longer. I am quite happy being free from it and I don’t want it back. Ever.
It didn’t help me to be healthy one bit, and it actually kind of ruined my picture of real health.
But through my recovery here is what I have learned about how to be truly healthy.
How to Be Healthy
1. Eat dammit!! Sorry for the language but I cannot stress the importance of this. You are doing your body no greater disservice than by starving yourself. Your body was not designed to be starved. It needs food to keep everything (your organs, your bones, your brain) functioning properly. It will rebel if you do not eat enough.
2. Eat well balanced meals. Each meal should consist of some type of carb, fat, protein, milk (or non-dairy beverage), fruit and veggie. Having all of these in a meal helps keep you fuller, helps repair the damage done to your body during the day, fuels your brain cells, and gives you great energy.
2. Get enough sleep. Your body needs sleep in order to recharge and rejuvinate for the coming day. It also keeps you sane.
4. Don’t overdo exercise. Overexercising only hurts your body. That extra hour on the treadmill? It’s only further breaking down your muscle fibers, and putting your bones at risk for osteoporosis and stress fractures.
5. Take a day off. Your body can only go so long at maximum speed before it breaks down. And trust me, it WILL break down.
6. Make time for yourself. Sometimes you just need to separate yourself from the world especially if you are stressed out. Do something non-exercise, non-ed related that you truly love. Go to a quiet place and read a good book, pamper yourself with sweet smelling body sprays, watch a good movie by yourself, window shop, take pictures, draw, anything that makes you feel good. A main part of recovery is learning how to care for yourself again.
7. If it hurts, kiss it better. This is probably the second most important step in being truly healthy. If you feel pain while exercising STOP IMMEDIATELY. Pain is a signal that your body sends you when something is wrong!
8. Invest in relationships. For a long time one of things that kept me in my eating disorder was my lonliness. I had stayed behind and gone to a community college instead of going off to university so all of my friends went away. I was utterly and completely alone for the next 4 years but I couldn’t make any new ones because My exercise obsession and my fear of going out to eat held me back. It wasn’t until this year when God finally brought some amazing friends into my life, that I realized how much more I valued having friends than having an eating disorder.
9. Dress for Your Body Now. When my exercise obsession got out of control last year, I completely lost myself. I became extremely isolated and downright miserable. I also stopped dressing up and wearing cute clothes because I was constantly going to the gym. The only thing I ever wore was my workout gear. I had also lost so much weight that those were pretty much the only clothes that fit anymore. And even if I went out to try and buy new clothes I would always leave in a horrible fit of tears because I had no idea which size I would fit into when I was healthy again. It was awful.
You know what’s even worse???? I am a huge lover of fashion so it killed me that I couldn’t dress up!!!
I remember clearly that the day that I knew I was truly recovering was the day that I started dressing myself up again. I had been seeing my dietician for a couple of weeks and bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t wear anything nice anymore. She gave me some great advice that I will never forget. She told me that one of her clients had started buying clothes from a thrift shop that fit her body now. Then, when she grew out of that size she would simply resell the clothes to the thrift shop and get new ones. It was the best advice ever. I immediately went out the next day and bought some clothes for myself. It was when I started to dress up again that I started to truly like myself again and started wanting to take care of myself. Now I make sure to always look cute whenever I am out and about and just bring my gym clothes with me.
10. Love Yourself. In order to be healthy and happy you have to truly love yourself. Do this by literally telling yourself to your face that you are beautiful, that you are worthy, that you are amazing, and that you are special. You need to hear this everyday.
There’s one more important thing that I am going to mention here. It may not apply to you and that’s okay, but it
was is the reason for my recovery. Give everything to God, and trust him with all of your life. I would be dead if it wasn’t for Him.