An important aspect of recovery is changing the way you look at the things around you. For those of us who suffer from anxiety, it can be changing the way we view the situations we are in to help curb a sense of panic. For those of us who deal with depression, it can be changing the way we look at the hardships in our lives to not let them drag us down. For those of us who are struggling with some kind of eating disorder, it can be changing the way we look at food. We are told by so many sources that when trying to exercise or diet, trying to shed some unwanted weight, that we have to focus on calories, amount of food, type of food, and so on and so forth. What begins as a focus can quickly become an obsession. We start to obsess over those calories and what we eat, leading to an unhealthy balance of exercise and rest. This is where our disorder lies; somewhere in that moment of wanting to make a change and refocus yourself, and the moment when you refuse to let yourself eat a simple meal. Somewhere in that time, we become accepting of damaging ourselves for the sake of “health” and “beauty”. In this place, food becomes more than it should ever be, it becomes more dangerous than it has any right to be. It becomes something that dictates our actions, and we are the reason it’s there. We have made the monster ourselves.

Counting Calories

Our outlook on food is integral to how we can cope with an eating disorder. We have allowed ourselves to view food as superfluous rather than the necessity that it is. Our bodies are designed to need food, that’s just the fact of the matter. We cannot survive without consuming the right amount of calories and nutrients. It is a basic component of living. To view it as anything else is flawed, and yet, that’s exactly what we have done with it. We have viewed it as this temptation that we can’t escape. To us, it is something that we want to avoid at all costs because it is the reason why we are the way we perceive ourselves to be. It’s wrong, it’s flawed, and it’s dangerous. Food should not be something we don’t give ourselves often, nor should it be a treat or a reward. It should just be a necessity in our daily lives. If we assign food this sort of special or extraordinary role, we breed this idea that food is something more than it is or should be. It’s not a special thing; food is what we need to survive, and we should never try to limit ourselves of consuming it. You should never approach it as trying to consume food in a way that compensates for a lack of working out that day, or vice versa. Just eat until you’re not hungry anymore. We know how hard that can be when all these people and outlets around us are speaking to monitoring your calorie-intake and thinking about every little facet of your diet. Some of this stuff is healthy and okay, but there is a limit that is too often crossed. Instead of being mindful of food and our consumption of it, we are restricted by it, trapped by it. We can’t escape its grasp because we choose to give it the power over us.

Finding a place in recovery where we can take that power away is a big step. It won’t be an easy road, and it may not even be a road with an ending. It could very well be a lifelong journey of working on keeping that obsession at bay. There will be days where you can eat whatever you want and feel fine, but then there will be the days where every bite feels like a step backward. You may find yourself walking past the mirror or getting caught in its gaze. It’s the nature of this beast and one that we wish we could tell you how to get out of.

Redifining The Relationship With Eating In Ourselves

You don’t need to fear food the way you are taught to. Food doesn’t have to be a threat you or how people see you. Sure, it is good to take in healthier foods and not in excess, but there is a line between mindfulness and obsession. It is a hard line to walk sometimes but it can be done. We want you to reach a place where you feel in control of how you eat and how you look at food. We know it won’t be an easy or instant solution, but we believe that you are capable of reaching that point. Many of us have. You are not held down by your diet and you don’t need to worry over every calorie. Let your body do what it is designed to do and love who you are.

Read More: Stigmatizing Eating Disorders

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]