Updated: Jan 15, 2019
Physical freedom as one of the many gifts of eating disorder recovery, are usually the most difficult ones to embrace.
In early recovery it often feels more like physical punishment than physical freedom. Having to experience the physical discomfort of one’s changing body can be agonizing. Then on top of that, learning to connect to physical sensations, something that we know that an eating disorder sufferer attempts to disconnect from, is terrifying. Some of these sensations include bodily cues, such as hunger and fullness cues. Early eating disorder recovery is often met with some resistance, feelings of discomfort, anxiety, and even disgust. An eating disorder sufferer does not trust her body and so having to learn to trust the body all over again can be so incredibly scary, to say the least. Further along the journey of recovery, the gifts of eating disorder recovery, including physical freedom, may actually start to be met with curiosity and wonder, as well as relief and freedom. For example:
I am starting to have more energy.
My headaches from purging or dehydration are going away.
I can sleep through the night and wake up feeling somewhat refreshed.
I am not so constipated all of the time.
I got my period again. This has a great deal of additional underlying meanings and metaphor for eating disorder sufferers and deserves to be explored further in another post.
I was able to get up in the morning and make the choice to not do any body checking.
I have energy instead of feeling weak and depleted.
My throat is not sore anymore since I stopped purging.
I don’t have that gross vomit taste in my mouth anymore.
My eyes are clear and not so bloodshot anymore
My heart is calmer and not beating so quickly all the time.
I no longer have severe stomach pains because I stopped abusing laxatives.
As one moves even further along their journey of recovery, these physical gifts of eating disorder recovery bring strength, health, life, and overall freedom
I am physically strong and can engage in the physical activities that I love.
I am having a baby and it is my greatest gift of recovery.
I trust my body and know it is working at its most optimal level.
I can wear one layer instead of three, not only because I am no longer trying to hide my body, but because I am no longer cold all of the time.
I feel freedom to wear a bathing suit.
I can look in the mirror and actually like what I see.
PLEASE KNOW that there is no exact time frame for one to shift beliefs on the physical gifts of eating disorder recovery.
Recovery is unique to every individual because no two people are exactly the same. And while some of these gifts may seem so unachievable, they do happen if you choose to live a mindful recovery. The list goes on and on and is so personal for each individual. Please share some of your stories and gifts of eating disorder recovery as they relate to physical freedom, wherever you may be on your journey of recovery. Please also share your stories if you are someone who has experienced these gifts in relation to someone who has suffered from an eating disorder. It is so important to reflect on the unique gifts of physical freedom that you have experienced through recovery and share with others to give hope those who may still be living in the darkness of an eating disorder.
If you or someone you know or love may be struggling with an eating disorder, please click on the resources link and listed below to help find support and treatment in your area. My new book, EATING DISORDER: Decode the Controlled Chaos is now available for purchase. Remember, your knowledge may just save a life.
My best to all,
Please visit. ericaives.com to learn more about my background as a professional.