How can I keep Motivated during Recovery?
An eating disorder is, by nature, a very tricky illness. Its voice is very compelling; it tries constantly to convince you that there is nothing more important than your weight and food intake. You can have a burst of motivation, and five minutes later, be planning to reduce your carbohydrate portion at dinner. Repetitive, obsessive thoughts are very common in eating disorders. So is losing your identity and ability to make flexible choices.
I did not want to recover from my eating disorder for a very long time. Years, in fact. Even when I was actively in treatment, there were still parts of me desperately clinging to it. To this day, I still fight thoughts of relapse.
But I don’t listen to those thoughts. Why?
This is something I found really tricky. I was not motivated to recover all the time. In fact, my desire to lose weight was so overpowering that I often got locked into ruminating about food, etc. Did I want to change? I believed that having an eating disorder made me better than others, made me special. I did not want to leave it behind. I didn’t know who I was without it, I couldn’t even see whether I could live without it. If your eating disorder is your best friend, that takes away from all your other relationships, including the one with yourself. If you are turning to disordered eating behaviours, you are taking away from your capacity to cope with difficult circumstances and your ability to feel painful feelings.