Then & Now: Healing from An Eating Disorder



Just a quick drop in today to record some thoughts I've been having about change. Comparing my habits today to my habits when I was in the thick of my eating disorder is night and day. Only in hindsight have I been able to see how truly destructive and twisted my thought processes were during this time. I'm so grateful for the healing that has come and the things I have learned. 

With all of these changes, I feel the need to say that I'm not perfect at them (and I don't think I ever will be). Those thoughts from that time, they still come back. Sometimes you just have a bad body image day. The difference now is that I don't let them derail me, define me, or determine my worth. 

What are some differences between then and now?

THEN: 
Going out to eat and frantically looking up nutritional information online beforehand.

NOW:
Going out to eat and looking at all of the good food and trying a little bit of everything.


THEN:
My thoughts always focused on what I’m going to eat next and making sure I wouldn't eat too much.

NOW:
Going throughout my day and being able to focus on my schoolwork, my marriage, my job, and my ideas. With my eating disorder, I didn’t have room to foster the creative part of my brain; it was too busy counting calories and analyzing hunger. Now I perform musical numbers at church, jot down ideas for a book I want to write on a notepad, get sucked into a good movie with Derek, etc.

*I know not everyone struggles/has struggled with an eating disorder and can track calories, macros, etc. with no trouble. I'm not saying those people don't have time for ideas and creativity. Even this week, I've been tracking my protein intake to make sure I'm getting enough. It's all about knowing what's best for you. For me and for awhile, any kind of tracking was the only thing I could laser-focus on. I've found a better balance now.

THEN:
I would feel myself getting hungry and just ignore it, ignore it, ignore it. Eventually, hunger didn’t bother me anymore. I could push it aside and get by with a few almonds. Consistent headaches, though.

NOW:
When I’m hungry, I eat. It took awhile for my hunger cues to come back.

THEN:
I would constantly be comparing myself to other people and their eating habits. If someone else wasn’t hungry, I shouldn’t be hungry either because we both ate previously at the same time. This was especially challenging when traveling with Derek: he doesn’t eat on road trips or on long drives in the car to keep from having to use the bathroom. If I don’t have enough water or food, I get massive migraines.

NOW:
I am the road trip snack queen. And sometimes we have to stop so I can use the bathroom. So far, Derek still loves me.

There are a lot of things I've learned and I know more will come. For awhile, I had to ignore and not follow and fitness or macro accounts and completely distance myself from those things. I was in too tender of a place to be able to hear about what these women were doing and not feel pressure to do it myself. It was truly best for my health that I didn't track and didn't analyze my food.

When I was trying to get my hunger cues back and knew that I had been under eating, someone recommended I count my calories to make sure I was getting enough in. While that works for some people, I knew that for me that would have been a bad idea. I needed to step away from numbers and get back to intuition. Because I gave myself that time to heal, I learned how to eat again and what my body likes/doesn't like. Now, I still eat intuitively, but I'm in a place where if I'm curious about how much protein I'm getting I can track it. The difference now is that it comes from a place of curiosity instead of control. I know for darn sure that old Brooke would have convinced herself (and I did convince myself) that my tracking was only because I was curious, but that just wasn't the case. I had to be honest with myself and release those reigns of control.

Anyways, just some thoughts this week. Recovery is personal, individual, and not linear. It takes honesty and it takes HELP. Reach out. <3

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