There are many things common to most of us with an eating disorder but one of these is that we spend so much time (too much time!) seeking and let’s be honest, arguing over, the ‘right way’ to do recovery.
Do we go ‘all in’ (I hate that term)? Do we follow a meal plan? Do we use a stepwise approach to introducing fears? Do we gain weight at a steady rate or let the body do it’s thing? Do we go into treatment or use a coach? And on and on and on…
And as I have written about before, all these questions and seeking the ‘perfect’ way to do recovery are not really us wanting to get recovery right because there is only one way to go about it…
Nope – these questions are all just fear generated and our brains desperately seeking ways to recover from a restrictive eating disorder without having to go through the distress and terror of actually eating more food and gaining weight.
At the end of the day, eat more food, face fears, gain weight, let the body weight settle at where it naturally needs to be, rewiring the brain as you do and fast or slow, using an ‘all in’ or stepwise approach, ultimately we will all recover.
The recovery approach that works best for us, as individuals, might well not be the same as the approach that works best for someone else. We have to work that out for ourselves and we have to trust our own inner expertise and gut instincts on the recovery approach we do deep down know we want to and need to use.
Still though (I know I did it myself for years and I see so many others doing it now) we don’t trust our own judgement in how to approach recovery or we are too terrified of it and so we pursue ‘permission’ seeking missions from others.
We seek advice from professionals, coaches, others in recovery, family members, friends, anyone we can find through any medium available to find an approach to recovery that we feel we can manage and that ultimately gives us permission to do what we know, deep down, we have to do.
But the problem with using this method of finding a good recovery approach is that we may well find we do not get the advice we are actually seeking from the people we speak to or the sources we research.
I believe we do all know in our guts(!) what recovery approach we want to and need to use to get better…. but that approach and acknowledging it is usually too terrifying to even recognise in ourselves, let alone admit to someone else…
Because the approach that we are desperate for permission to follow usually involves eating more than we think others will consider ‘ok’… and we fear being judged as greedy or as having ‘lost control’; when truth be told, in recovery being ‘greedy’ and losing control in terms of eating and resting are exactly what we need to do!
Ultimately in recovery, we have to learn to trust our true heart and gut instincts no matter what!!
It doesn’t matter what anyone else advises us or what treatment approach we are encouraged to use by some external source… Only we know deep down what is right for us and we have to learn to trust that knowledge, listen to, respect it and follow it.
We might be terrified of tapping into that inner truth but it is there and we don’t need permission from anyone to listen to and follow it.
You might have the best recovery coach or professional therapist in the world and trust them 100% but if the advice they are giving you seems off or insufficient and your gut instinct of what is going to work for you is different then this is YOUR recovery to own and do what will get you recovered fastest. And at the end of the day, getting recovered fast and so on with living a life free of this shitty illness is the ultimate goal of all concerned (or should be!) and so the approach that will achieve that should be supported.
It was only when I trusted my inner starving voice telling me to eat high and fast and when I did it, finally not seeking permission or validation from anyone else, that I made real progress.
Trust your gut and heart. The fear will be there but do it, no matter what anyone else says.
Even if you have to go against other’s advice or approval, as an individual and independent person, you don’t need permission, allowances, validation or even support from anyone other than yourself…. Although ideally that support will be available and if it isn’t then I am here offering my support to anyone who needs it!
Deciding on a recovery course of action and desperately seeking external validation for it is not necessary but we all do it! But a coach, professional, family member, friend, spouse, book, YouTube video, blogger, influencer… none of these people know us better than we truly know ourselves, no one else walks in our shoes. We do though, we know us and we have to trust that inner voice, our deep expertise and instincts.
So if you want to eat 10k in one sitting and you know that is going to drive you forward in recovery then please don’t let someone else tell you that it’s too hard for you, you won’t cope with doing so or that it’s not ok. You do you and you get recovered.
And as you do your recovery in your incredible unique way, then tell the world what you did and how and be proud of the superhero you are!!