Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Still Recovered

So one might think after this recent jaunt back into treatment that I would think I’ve taken some major steps backward and that I no longer am recovered.  I have to admit I was feeling this way my first few days of being inpatient.  The embarrassment and shame at having to admit to using behaviors again and needing help were pretty strong.  But they were gone by the time I left.

Part of it has to do with the length of time (years) I had of solid recovery before the relapse.  Part of it had to do with the length of time (several weeks) of the relapse.  Part of it had to do with the severity of the relapse, which was “minor” until the last couple of weeks.  Part of it had to do with the number of symptoms involved–only a couple as compared to before.

Most of it had to do with my mindset upon leaving and what got me into the relapse in the first place.  I honestly thought I would lose weight in a healthy, controlled manner.  And no, this was not an eating disorder delusion coming from someone who didn’t need to lose weight in the first place.  There were legitimate reasons for me to lose weight.  There still are.  But I learned, too late, that I am not someone who can ever diet in any way shape or form.  As soon as I cut out one thing, I went into full blown restriction mode.  A few days before I left treatment, I realized that for three plus years I had maintained my ideal weight by eating intuitively.  The two main physical causes of the weight gain have been resolved.  So if I go back to eating intuitively, my weight will, eventually, go back to my ideal weight.  It may take longer than I originally wanted, but it will happen.

I didn’t leave with a meal plan.  I didn’t write up a week’s worth of meals before leaving.  I planned on going back to what I was doing all along, because that is what worked.  I’ve only been home a week.  While there have been moments when I’ve been tempted to skip a meal out of emotional exhaustion or because I am running late, I haven’t succumbed to those moments.  I haven’t sat down before a meal and figured out how many exchanged of each food group I’m getting in.  I haven’t obsessively measured my portions.  I decided to eat based on what I feel like eating at that moment.

I am not saying meal plans are bad.  Or the exchange system is bad, or measuring portion sizes.  There was a time I relied on all of these.  But I spent a year working with a nutritionist after I ceased needing these things learning how to eat intuitively.  How long it takes to get to that point is different for every individual.  And if meal plans and measuring keeps you on track then keep doing it.  Do whatever works for you.

I’m doing what works for me.  And what works for me leaves me with one word: Recovered.


February 26, 2010 - Posted by | Eating Disorders, health, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Glad that you still find yourself recovered 🙂

    Meal plans and exchanges don’t work for me either. At a time, I relied on them, and even later, I thought that they were what I needed, until they became so anxiety-provoking and actually keeping me from living the normal life that I was so eager to gain from my recovery in the first place.
    I also struggle with the fact that I will never be able to “diet” or lose weight healthily. Although the opinion does vary from health professional to health professional whether or not I need to lose weight.

    I recently had a realization that I truly no longer have an eating disorder. A very good realization to come across.

    Comment by Jess K | February 26, 2010 | Reply

  2. “But I learned, too late, that I am not someone who can ever diet in any way shape or form.”
    this lesson has been learned. the damn shame of it i continue to try.
    i’ve heard of intuitive eating. need to look into it more because i’m pretty sure it’s not what i’ve fallen back to.
    to say it’s good to see you back and writing again is an understatement. reading your words is the only place i let myself acknowledge and think about what i refuse to discuss.

    Comment by Marisa | February 26, 2010 | Reply

  3. Yippe! I’m so happy for you. You did the right thing and prevented a slip from turning into a full blown knock down and fall.

    Do what works for you and that’s the most important thing. I’m very happy for you right now. Your back on track and controlling your life, not letting the eating disorder control it anymore.

    Comment by david | February 26, 2010 | Reply

  4. I have always wondered about the terms “in recovery” and “recovered.” Why do you choose “recovered?”

    I vacillated between the two for the first year of my recovery, wondering which was more appropriate or true for me personally. In the program I work, the vast majority of people use the term “in recovery” and after some time and experience post-eating disorder, I’ve decided that that’s the right term for me as well. For me, recovery is something that has to be worked on everyday for me to maintain it. I’ve taken that for granted before and found myself slipping back into old behaviors and thought patterns. To me it feels like saying I’m recovered is a state where it no longer exists in my life at all, like when I recover from the flu, rather than a state I must put effort in to retain. I also think that maybe saying “in recovery” gives a more forgiving attitude toward a relapse.

    What do you think?

    (glad to have you back!)

    Comment by Amanda G-M | February 27, 2010 | Reply

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