You Are Deserving of Recovery !
Eating disorders, just like us human beings in general, can be present in a vast variety of forms. Anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, orthorexia, with each sufferer having their own unique experience and symptoms. There is definitely no one size fits all.
Similarly, the individuals who suffer also come in many different shapes, sizes, weights, ethnicities and even social positions
Contrary to the popularised stigma, you do not have to be stick thin, white in ethnic origin or even a perfectionist to have an eating disorder, nor should being a certain ‘low’ weight be the main qualifier of feeling worthy of recovery.
A key issue is that such stigma around eating disorders, for a long time, has acted as a barrier for many individuals with an eating disorder to view themselves worthy of recovery. Myself included.
For for too long, there has been a myth that we need to be ‘sick enough’, a ‘low enough weight’ or on deaths door to even take recovery into consideration.
But let me tell you, openly and honestly, you don’t need to hit rock bottom to feel worthy of recovery. You don’t need to be a certain weight, and you certainly don’ t need to meet any typical standard of what someone would classify as having an eating disorder in order to make recovery feel like a worthwhile ambition.
As I mentioned right at the beginning of this post, eating disorders happen at all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and social positions. Eating disorders also appear, not only when someone continuously starves themselves, but also when they malnourish their body through binging and purging on food, engaging in obsessive exercise to burn off food, or in the way they feel about themselves when eating certain types of food.
Eating disorders are not a matter of appearance, or being in a situation of life or death. They are apparent in the whole relationship a person has with food, whether that be how they apply certain meanings to food, or how they feel and act before, during and after they eat. For these reasons alone, it makes no sense that anyone has to lose a significant amount of weight before they can be diagnosed with an eating disorder, or feel worthy enough of recovery.
Fact of the matter is, any disordered way of thinking, feeling or acting around food can significantly and very negatively impair someones quality of life - especially since food holds such strong significance in our complex social human lives.
Placing this issue into the context of your own personal experience, if you have ever experienced an eating disorder, or some form of disordered eating, chances are you may have felt you needed to look a certain way or get to a certain state of health in order to embark on a journey of recovery.
Alternatively, no matter what you weigh or look like, you may still feel undeserving enough to experience optimal wellbeing. In your own eyes, becoming ‘healthy’ might feel like a foreign ideal, or even something to feel guilty about pursuing.
That is another complex issue with identifying and treating eating disorders - the problems individuals are facing do not reside in food, but in the whole relationship they have with themselves.
For example, with low self-esteem, a lack of self-compassion and several anxiety provoking issues going on in an individuals’ life (mostly non-food related) are an underlying driving force for many people to turn towards food as a way to cope.
Self-compassion is absolutely crucial to eating disorder recovery, because it empowers us to learn that we are worthy enough to experience love, and also go out into the world to find and fulfil our purpose. Its just the unfortunate case that many clinicians and treatment programmes solely revolve around the food issues alone, so only th