By Amy M. Klimek, MA. LPC Eating Disorder Program Coordinator, Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center
Recovery from an eating disorder is more than simply negating certain behaviors. It calls for integration, to live mindfully, to live completely, and to live fully.
Too often we find ourselves eating in front of the television, at our desks, or even in our cars. When we are distracted, we are denying ourselves the pleasure of the pure experience with the meal. Being mindful while we eat invites us to pause and taste the present moment experience. In recovery, the meal plan is the anchor against the eating disorder’s pull. To be mindful is to give permission to those thoughts to pass instead of holding onto them. The nourishment from food helps the person in recovery to challenge the mindset while trusting the process to revitalize the relationship with food and the body.
Be present in the process
We tend to find transitions uncomfortable, whether it’s between jobs, relationships, or particularly with our emotions. It becomes uncomfortable when we negotiate with these emotions – “I should not feel this way” or “I want to numb my experience.” Only by avoiding this internal negotiation do we allow ourselves to hold onto the full impact of the experience. Then we realize it is in our capacity to understand the full wave of the emotions. As we appreciate the ebb and flow of life- with joy and passion, at times onhealthy xenical grief and sorrow; the integration of those experiences makes up the layers of who we are. Give yourself permission to explore your influences, to notice your internal balance, and let go of expectations to look or be a certain way. By noticing the transitions of emotions and thoughts, being mindful in the experience, we can embrace the space in between with compassion.
Invite others to walk with you in your journey
Recovery is possible and sustainable with support from others. Have meals together. Appreciate the company while you are appreciating what is on your plate. Sharing the meal with others, is sharing the experience of nourishment of our bodies and souls. Ask others to share your journey filled with new practices and experiences. It might be one of the most courageous acts you can do for yourself.
The whole person is made up of interdependent parts and if one aspect is not working properly, all the others will be affected. It is critical to find balance in our lives, especially to approach treatment and healing holistically. As you take the unexpected recovery journey, you let go of cyclical ways of thinking, and begin to explore the limitless possibilities. You will find who you are and what you can offer to yourself and others. To recover is to discover the self again–recover what was lost while under the influence of the eating disorder.