The Power of Your Mind & Identity
The redundancy of your life is your subconscious program.
Let me explain:)
My eating disorder had become my new ‘normal.’ My autopilot, so to speak. My daily tasks, thoughts, actions, experiences, beliefs all stemmed from my poor relationship to food and my body. I would make choices based on what I could and could not allow myself to eat that day. I would plan around how to eat less and without others watching. I would schedule times to be alone and hungry and to hide myself when I felt at my worst.
My eating disorder had become my identity.
I was no longer the Emily that loved to go out and adventure. I was no longer the girl who was able to support her friends and family. I was no longer the girl who fan-girled over theater performances or snagged late night snacks with her friends. I was no longer the girl who lived life to the fullest.
I was the girl struggling with an eating disorder.
When I entered recovery, I realized that the hardest part was not what one would have thought it all would be. Many women fear gaining weight. Gaining weight is their number one fear followed closely by the fear of eating more. The fear of eating more, however, is a simple catalyst from the fear of the number on the scale going up.
The other common fears are facing fear foods, eating at normal hours and normal portions. The fear of having to buy bigger clothes or showing their larger bodies to people in the world. The fears I expected all stemmed from my physical reality and habits.
What I didn’t realize was that the hardest fear of all, was the fear of questioning and challenging my entire identity.
If this all sounds dramatic, it’s not! It is still the hardest thing I have ever had to work through regarding my eating disorder and recovery.
It began with the awareness that my entire life, my dislikes, my likes, my routines, patterns, even clothing choices or ‘favorite restaurants’ were all subconsciously being programmed from my eating disorder.
“My favorite food is fruit.”
Was that true?
Or was it true that I believed I couldn’t have a favorite food be a ‘bad’ food?
I couldn’t admit that my favorite food in the entire world was buttery popcorn! No way!! Only failures would admit such a thing! And if it was my favorite food, people would expect me to eat more of it and more often and I would get fat! I can’t be fat! Your identity.
If you’ve struggled with food in the past or currently is someone struggling right now, you know what I mean when I say, “Sometimes it can feel like your eating disorder is running the show and you’re just watching from the sidelines.”
You lose parts of yourself when you allow your eating disorder to run things.
You lose your truth or your authenticity when you aren’t actually calling the shots.
And it can be hard! It’s taken me years to sit with myself and meet this girl, me, again. I had to ask, “What does Emily like to do? Who is she? What does she want to accomplish? Where does she want to go?” “What does she believe in?” I had to leave the mold of my eating disorder identity behind and that’s INSANELY uncomfortable. I had to stop worrying that if I went to dinner and got a burger that my friends were silently judging me because I was always the ‘clean eater’ of the bunch. I had to let go that if I gained weight, I would lose a life. Gaining weight, gained me a life! I had to let go that my worth resided on the scales or that I always had to be the one working out, pumping my body with kale, and never eating fast food to matter to boys, friends, people on the street.
I had to let her go.
I had to let go of the girl who cried over eating a bag of potato chips. I had to let go of the girl who worried 24 hours in advance what she would order at the restaurant. I had to let go of the girl who turned sideways in mirrors that she walked past or that pinched her thighs when she sat down in chairs under conference room tables.
I had to let her go.
Because ‘her’ was never me. It was a form of myself. It was an adopted habit, addiction so to speak, a belief that I bought into who I was, had to be, and would forever more resemble: The girl with a ‘perfect’ diet.
Because what did chasing a ‘perfect’ diet or body ever do for this girl? The one typing this blog post now?
Never what it promised me.
I had to completely reimagine myself. What do I like to do? Where do I enjoy adventuring? What don’t I believe in? Etc.
Because I was taking me back.
I was taking my value and worth and esteem, confidence, certainty, and support system back into my own hands. I was making choices. I was calling the shots. I was dictating what was and was not okay, allowed, a failure, expectation, success, etc.
I was changing my beliefs.
And it began by letting my old identity go.
The one that never served me.
The one that made empty promises followed by emptier stomachs and an empty shell of myself.
The identity that was never truly me.
My eating disorder.
And this step in your own recovery process is messy because you can’t “take action.” It’s nothing physical. It’s mental and emotional. It’s messy and draining. It’s exhausting and ruthless.
But it’s the true fight worth fighting. Because you can force yourself to eat way more easily, in fact, than forcing yourself to BELIEVE that you deserve to eat.
You can force yourself to gain weight, but it’s a lot harder to release the BELIEF that you have to be skinny to matter or be beautiful or be desirable, etc.
You can do all the actions and steps to live a life fully free, but you’ll never accomplish it FULLY if you don’t believe you deserve it in the first place.
Believe in your new identity. Believe in your true identity.
Believe in your life without an eating disorder.
Believe and love YOU.
Because you are not your eating disorder.
You are not the fit girl at the gym every day.
You are not the woman who only eats lettuce.
You are not a body or a belief around your weight.
You are a being. You are light. You are love.
You are your true identity.