They say that it takes the average smoker seven attempts to finally quit. What about your average binge eater? How many times have you and I vowed to “stop”? And what was it that finally got us on the road to lasting recovery? That’s what I wanted to talk about today—and it was an email from a HealthyGirl.org reader that made me think about it:
“I’ve been having trouble with food for about ten years now, and I’ve probably only finally now started to have the real commitment to want to change enough to make it happen. For years the bingeing has made me very sad, and affected my life a lot, but I was still never quite ready to let it go (wow, it actually hurts to say that!). I also was still so committed to the idea of dieting and restricting food, that progress was never really possible. Even though I wanted the binges to go, I didn’t want the dieting to, and I was in this constant cycle of being very, very restrictive and then bingeing.
“I’m now 29, and the eating has overshadowed a whole decade of my life. I’ve now finally got up the courage, and tolerance, to say to myself: You are more than your weight. Your value doesn’t change according to the reading on the scale. Your family and husband love you for the person you are, not for the kilos you weigh, and they don’t love you less (or more) when your weight changes. You need to love yourself and accept yourself to, not constantly fight a war against your body.”
I love so many things about what Victoria said. Not least of which was her incredibly honest assessment that, as much as she thought she wanted to get better, there was some part of her that wasn’t ready to let the whole, entire binge-and-restrict cycle go. She wanted to let go of the bingeing without letting go of the thinking and focus on weight that went along with it.
Can you relate? I know I can. There have been so many times over the 15 years I was struggling that I wished for this problem to be taken away—to magically be lifted. But I had to put in the work. I had to slowly build up the self esteem and self awareness. I had to give myself time.
I used to look back and think that time was wasted, I used to mourn those years as “ruined.” But you know what? They weren’t wasted or ruined! Recovery took as long as it took. Every single step along the path was important. Every single small step I took mattered. None of them could be rushed. They all happened just when they were “supposed to” and I experienced just what I was supposed to in order to get me to right where I am right now. No regrets!
Have you ever felt like you just weren’t quite ready to let go of your eating issues yet? Did recovery every seem maddeningly slow for you, too?