identity

Eating disorders exist because they feed your brain with enormous amounts of false beliefs, contradictions and flat-out lies. I have uncovered a few of those.

“You are fat.”

No matter how skinny you are, no matter the size of jeans you wear, your eating disorder will always tell you how fat you are. It doesn’t matter if you can see all your ribs and bones, if the veins on your arms stick out, if your cheeks are hollow, you are fat.

It doesn’t make sense, does it? Well, your eating disorder hardly ever makes sense.

So, NO, you are not fat.

Maybe you cannot see it yet, but listen to your loved ones, the doctors or friends who tell you that you are underweight. They don’t want to harm you, but they want to help you.

And if you are a bit further down on the acceptance path, you know deep inside that you are not fat, but that the opposite is the case. Try to filter these thoughts and compare them with what is real.

“You are worthless.”

Everything that is going wrong in your life has to do with the fact that you are simply worthless. Something about you is not right and this will never change. Only your eating disorder can rescue you from this place of inferiority.

First of all, you are not worthless. Nobody is worthless. We are all born the same and we are all worthy of love, affection, health, fulfillment, joy, happiness and so much more.

 “You are ugly.”

Your face will always be too round, your butt is not formed the way you want it, your nose is too big, your hair not thick enough, you ears too small and even your toes too long.

NO you are NOT. You are beautiful, you are unique, you are exactly the way you are supposed to be. Your eating disorder will always come up with new body parts to hate.

However, if you focus on those parts that you like (or used to like), you will begin to think positive again and you will be able to accept and embrace your body entirely.

“You are nothing but your eating disorder.”

Now, that you are in a relationship with your eating disorder, you finally found something that defines you and gives you a reason to wake up every morning and live your life.

This could not be further from the truth. I would even go so far as to say: You are everything but your eating disorder.

You are wonderful because you are you. You have so many gifts, so many talents and by letting go off your eating disorder, you will be able to engage in them.

“You cannot live without me.”

I occupy your mind 24/7, I give you commands you have to follow, I am the power behind every action you take, you would never be able to function without me.

At first it might seem that way. And I certainly was lost at the beginning of my recovery, but the more I let go off my eating disorder the more I was able to find myself and I discovered hundreds of things I didn’t know before.

The same is true for you, you can live without this vicious illness, you will live a life that is beyond anything you could have dreamt of. You will be free.

“You don’t deserve to be like everybody else.”

You don’t deserve to be happy, you don’t deserve to have lunch with your friends, you don’t deserve to eat a slice of Nutella bread just because you want to, you don’t deserve to eat dinner with your family like everybody else.

Yes, you do. You deserve to live a happy and fulfilled life, enjoying each and every moment. You deserve to eat like your friends and family.

You deserve to enjoy a slice of pizza or ice-cream or even just an apple. You deserve to be part of this world.

 “You show great strength and power by refusing to nourish your body.”

Let’s be honest, who else has such unbreakable willpower? Who else can withhold so many important nutrients to their bodies?

Who else can work out ridiculous amounts of hours without eating? Who else is smart enough to purge after binging? Who else can live like that?

Unfortunately, way too many people can and do. But we can change that. It is not a sign of your strength to engage in these activities that damage your body, it is a sign of your eating disorder’s power over you.

Would you really consciously try to ruin your health, even risking death, if it weren’t for that other person occupying your mind? I don’t think you would.

I think you would treat your body like a temple and give it what it needs on a daily basis to be able to have energy, bear children, grow old or simply have fun.

“You are unworthy of love.”

And who would love you anyway?

This is so wrong, but I believed this lie the most.

Why? We have already said that every person is worthy and so are you. You too, are lovable, compassionate, have a lot to give and are allowed to receive bundles of love.

“You can only hide your flaws by holding on to your eating disorder.”

We have already defined that you are unworthy, so it only makes sense that you need your eating disorder to hide your many flaws.

Every person has flaws. Nobody is perfect and, quite frankly, who wants to be? Flaws and imperfections make you special, they make you unique and interesting. Flaws shape your character. You don’t need to hide them, you need to embrace them.

Otherwise, life would be quite boring, don’t you think?

“Others judge you only by your weight.”

When a person sees you for the very first time, they look at your figure, assume how much you must weigh and then define your worth as a person.

They don’t care about your wittiness, your smile, your character, your brilliance, your sympathy, your emotions, your empathy or your humor. People are super superficial, after all.

I think I said enough.

“If you give in now and eat, you will forever lose control.”

If you give in today and eat at least a tiny bit of something, you will lose control and then you won’t ever be able to stop eating, right?

No, surprisingly not. The more regular you eat, the more nutrients you give your body, the more control you will gain over your eating disorder and over your health and life.

Don’t believe everything your eating disorder tells you. In fact, don’t believe anything it tells you.

Which lies does your eating disorder tell you?

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Play

In this episode of Fighting Anorexia, I talk about some of the many obstacles that we face in our recovery.
I share with you how I have dealt with many challenges along the way and what I have learned from these occurrences.
Some of my fears included:

– Simply Eating Dinner
– pride often presented an obstacle, what will others think?
– Perfectionism
– Not believing that I could ever like my body again
– negative thoughts and negative self-talk
– Being scared of life without my eating disorder because that is all I ever knew
– Being scared of getting to know your true self because all you know is your ed
– Being scared of not being liked by others anymore
– being terrified of totally losing control of myself and my body

And here are some ways of coping:

1. Make an emotional connection to how you will feel after having overcome these obstacles.

2. Tell yourself over and over again that these obstacles are merely tests to see how strong you really are and how committed to recovery you are.
These challenges are horrible, they are hard, but if you keep trying and keep finding ways of working on what needs to be changed, you can do it. I believe in you.

3. Overcoming an obstacle means that you are one step closer to health.

4. Sometimes you just have to be very disciplined.
For example, when you feel like you are way too big already and you still have to eat dinner.

5. A positive attitude helps tremendously and it reduces the size of the problem automatically.

6. Staying inspired throughout your recovery process is very important too. Continue to read stories, autobiographies, listen to recovery music, poems etc. Surround yourself with positive people who have survived this illness.

And here are more specific answers to some of our challenges:

1. How will my life look like without an eating disorder? will I be able to handle this change?
You will get used to your life without an Eating Disorder.
You have to trust those who tell you that it will get better and that you will be able to handle it.

I promise you, it will get better and eventually you won’t even remember your everyday life with your eating disorder.

2. How can I cope with feelings?
Most of us have developed an eating disorder to control our emotions and block out things in our life that we cannot deal with at the moment.
We can use distractions at first. Maybe writing helps you? Maybe you can talk to a friend? Maybe you can scream into a pillow? Maybe you can do kickboxing to get rid of anger.
Eventually you will learn how to deal with your emotions and they won’t be so scary anymore.

3. What if I don’t have coping skills other than my ED yet?
You can develop them and after a while, these skills will become your new go-to coping skills.

4. Will I lose control over my body?
No matter what it seems like, your eating disorder is controlling you and not the other way around. So, you don’t have control over your weight or your body. You will be able to control your body – in a GOOD and healthy way.

5. What if I cannot stop the negative self-talk?
Pay attention to your Eating Disorder thoughts, your emotions and your behaviors.
You will get better at this over time and then you can start talking back and telling yourself that you are worthy, that you are wonderful, beautiful, one of a kind, a master piece, allowed to eat and enjoy life.

6. I want my recovery to be perfect.
Nobody’s recovery is perfect. We ALL struggle.
Besides, there IS no perfect recovery.

7. Will others still like me without my eating disorder?
Your friends will see how much more energy you have and that you can be a much better friend without your eating disorder.

8. Who am I without my eating disorder?
You are a wonderful, beautiful person. You will have so much more freedom without your eating disorder and you will have the chance of getting to know your true self.

9. But will society accept me if I am not a skeleton anymore?
Maybe, maybe not. But your friends and your family will. And that is all that matters, right?

10. I am all alone. I don’t know whom to turn to or what to do when I feel like I cannot eat dinner or I feel like I have gained way too much or I feel like I just cannot cope with all these feelings.
The best thing would of course be to talk to your therapist, but also group therapy sessions help a lot and I would suggest you search for a mentor. Someone who knows what you are going through and who is there for you and helps you.

A wonderful resource is Mentor Connect.

 

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.”

~Confucius~

Now, which obstacles do you or did you face?
Do you have more examples and ideas on how to overcome these challenges? Please share them with us!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening to this episode!

If you would like to leave me some feedback, you can mail it to feedback@fightinganorexia.com

You can follow me on twitter: @anneso87

Thanks For Subscribing To The Fighting Anorexia Podcast: Zune iTunes RSS Feed

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023 Fighting Anorexia – My Year 2011

December 30, 2011

Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadThis will be a more personal podcast episode. So, if you don’t want to hear more about my year, please come back on Monday, when I will release a regular episode of Fighting Anorexia. In this episode of Fighting Anorexia, I talk about my year 2011. I talk about […]

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Learning to Believe in Myself

October 26, 2011

Yesterday evening, I was interviewed live on a show called “TalkTäglich”. The show is 20 minutes long and I was supposed to be the main focus of the evening. Needless to say, I was nervous. Really, really nervous. I was thinking that I would fail, that I would not know what to say, that I […]

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Recovery from Anorexia

October 17, 2011

Today, I would like to encourage you to read the following article that was published in The New York Times back in April. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/health/26anorexia.html I don’t know what your response to this article is, but mine was to get up, eat a yoghurt and promise myself to BE ONE OF THOSE WHO WILL BE FULLY […]

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010 Fighting Anorexia – Ballet

October 17, 2011

Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadNow that you have seen how my journey to recovery started, I would like to show you how I am doing now. I also share what I have finally dared to do after hesitating for years. Thanks For Subscribing To The Fighting Anorexia Podcast: Can’t get enough? Here’s more:024 […]

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008 Fighting Anorexia – Losing Myself

October 12, 2011

Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadIn the third and final part of my flashbacks I talk about the feeling of losing myself. Now, 7 months later, I can hardly remember this feeling, but I certainly have in mind the fear and shear panic I felt going to bed with a “full” stomach. I seriously […]

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