I haven’t updated this blog in…well, if we’re being honest, years. I am in a satisfying and healthy relationship with a partner who I’m crazy about– we’re getting married. I have a wonderful job, a Master’s degree, and a great group of friends. Writing has always proved to be cathartic for me, and it really helped me get through adolescence, heartbreak, college, and many tougher times in my life. I haven’t needed to turn to writing in the past few years; however, this week I feel drawn to speak on something that’s been weighing on me lately.
In the New Year season, talk of resolution fills the air. Everyone, myself included, has things that they’d like to change about themselves. Sure, I’d love to be more organized, better at saving money, and a more accomplished reader/musician/writer…the list goes on. Specifically, it’s a season of weight loss and bodily transformation. People flock to the gym and suddenly resolve to be thinner, healthier, and more active. This can be really great for some people, and for many, the New Year brings motivation and the feeling of hope that comes with bettering yourself. However, for someone who is recovering from an eating disorder, the season of resolutions can be a scary and lonesome place.
At 23 years old, I finally feel as if I have a semi-good handle on my eating disorder. I speak about it in the present because it is a part of me. My bulimia is something that is always in the back of my mind. Even though I am no longer binging and purging every day, I feel as if being a recovering bulimic is much like being a recovering alcoholic- the compulsion is still there, and I have to actively choose to silence the voice of my eating disorder- urging me to chase a feeling of emptiness. After struggling for 6 years, and throwing up more than 5 times a day, I got help, and found some freedom in recovery. However, every year, like clockwork, Christmas passes, and the New Year brings up new feelings of insecurity and doubt. Everyone is excited about the possibility of losing weight and feeling more confident in their skin. For me, a recovering bulimic, feeling more confident in my own skin means continuing to learn to listen to my body, and to read the signals that it sends me. I don’t believe that I am at the point in my recovery where I can really jump into intense diet plans or weight loss regimens without falling back into old habits. I feel terribly afraid about embarking on any major (or minor) bodily changes for fear that I will let my eating disorder re-gain control over my life.
As a recovering bulimic living in a diet-obsessed culture, I find that I tow the line between being “healthy” and falling back into my former patterns of disordered eating. Re-learning how to eat and how to exercise after mistreating my body for so long was hard to say the least. I’m still learning what “normal” feels like. For the time being, “normal” is overweight, active, and eating healthily (most of the time-a girl’s gotta have an Oreo once in awhile, ya feel me?!?). Maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit for how strong I am. Maybe I could start a boot camp program, or jump into a Paleo diet, or train for a half-marathon without feeling the need to take it one step further into destructive behavior.
As I greet this New Year, for now, I’m resolving to be gentle with myself in this process, and to not compare myself to other people. I urge you to resolve to be mindful of how you approach resolutions and to recognize how simultaneously hard and hopeful this season of numbers and new beginnings can be for some people.