One thing I’ve learned about recovery so far is that it’s ever-changing.
No day is the same, no week is the same, no meal is the same. And now I’ve been watching some of my eating disorder behaviors change and shift as I move further into recovery, too.
This week I had an off day. I veered from my “normal” eating schedule and it wreaked havoc on my food. I ate breakfast around 9:30am and didn’t take a break in my day to eat again until 4:30pm. By the time 4:30pm rolled around I was so hungry, didn’t know what I wanted, was in everything-sounds-good mode, and I ate both half a sandwich from a sub shop and a cheeseburger and fries from McDonald’s. The volume of food I ate doesn’t qualify as a binge but it’s binge/bulimia behavior to go to more than one restaurant for a meal. So now I’m seeing that the binges have evolved into binge/bulimic behaviors without the volume of food that constitutes a binge.
Now no part of this day was intentional; I wasn’t restricting food on purpose. When my therapist asked me what happened, I responded, “Nothing happened, I had kind of a full day, I didn’t want to stop and make food.”
“Okay, that’s what happened.” Okay. She was right. It was. And that decision to not stop and make food cost me engagement in behaviors later on in the day because restriction of any kind, intentional or not, mental or physical, triggers ED behaviors.
We problem-solved some easy, quick snacks I can make sure to always have around to prevent this situation from taking place again. We worked on me forgiving myself for engaging in the behavior. We talked about how the lack of volume of food that constitutes a binge is still progress, even with the binges evolving into other behaviors. And we moved forward. Just like that.
I didn’t need to panic because my eating disorder behaviors are changing. My recovery didn’t go down the drain with one bad food day. Eating disorders like to morph and shift with time and treatment and that’s what I’m seeing happening with me.
My therapist tells me eating disorders are ruthless; they like to hold on tight. When you treat them and make progress in treating them, they’ll start coming up in other ways to try and continue getting through to you.
So if you experience shifting food behaviors, know it’s because of the progress you’re making, not because of the lack of it. Continue working hard and moving forward and remember to be kind to yourself throughout the process. You are growing and evolving as you heal your ED, and that, is beautiful. All the love. xx