To overcome eating disorder seems to be a difficult and almost impossible task. But there is an easy way that can help us move forward. Creating small and achievable goals helps us move with one step at a time. Thus, we avoid this overwhelming feeling of being too far from the main goal and also keep ourselves with a clear vision and measurable goals. The first thing we need to do is to understand why it is so important to stop dieting. I have a separate post for this here. And now I will show you 5 simple steps that helped me win the fight with the eating disorder (bulimia – in my case). All those steps look very small and too easy to achieve, but please note that they work on a subconscious level. This is what makes them so important.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step“– Lao Tzu.
1. Fake it till you make it.
You may have heard the words “Fake it till you make it.” It literally means: pretend until you succeed. If you have ever tried to achieve something in life while following this mantra, then you know how strong it is. The idea behind it is to imagine what your dream life would look like and start pretending you are living it.
In my case, the dream life was one where I am beautiful and I love myself. As a person with an eating disorder, I hated my body so much. My self-esteem was extremely low and I had no desire to take care of myself. I didn’t buy clothes, I rarely put on makeup, and if a friend called me with an invitation to put some high heels on and go out on Friday night, my heart was hurting. How could I go out and have fun when I look like that? I preferred to hide at home so that no one could see what I saw in the mirror.
That’s why I decided to pretend. To pretend to be beautiful, to like myself, to love myself the way I am. I decided I had nothing to lose, so I’d better try. And I started. I always started applying makeup. I bought new dresses. I also bought some new high heels. Despite my confused inner world, I began to act as if everything was wonderful. And it started to be wonderful. I got a little closer to the idea that I could love myself. I got closer to the idea that I could be beautiful the way I am. And I fell in love with myself.
You can use the “Fake it till you make it” mantra in every aspect of your life. You can use it for your self-confidence, for how to live a normal life without addictions or to overcome eating disorder. At first, the feeling is strange, but if you pretend long enough, things work out.
2. Stop the negative self-talk.
Have you noticed how you are talking to yourself? And did you know that words and thoughts directly affect our life and destiny? In general, we are what we think and talk about ourselves.
Every time I put on jeans that were too tight for me or ate more than I thought I deserved, I began to blame myself and repeat to myself how useless I am, how fat I am, and how I would never lose weight. All these words made me even more desperate and unhappy. Then I started pretending that my life was wonderful and I look great, I started replacing negative words with positive ones. And today, every time I get caught saying or thinking bad things about myself or blaming myself, I stop and change my words. I tell myself that I am wonderful, that I love myself and that everything is fine. Even when I don’t really feel it.
Words have a strong influence on us and our subconscious. And our subconscious is what leads our lives and our inner world. When we change our inner world, the outer world begins to change too. Therefore, tell yourself more often how much you love yourself.
3. Don’t put your life on hold.
One of the downsides of eating disorders is that we pause our lives. We postpone the important things for the moment when we will be slim enough and look good enough for them to happen. Because we don’t deserve them right now. We don’t deserve to have fun, we don’t deserve to go on vacation with friends, we don’t deserve to buy new shoes or clothes. Sometimes we use it as an excuse. I can’t look for a better job now, because I have to lose weight first. I can’t start my own business now. First, I need to achieve the amazing body shape and then I will move on to the next goal. Life goes on, while we are waiting to lose weight.
But do you know what I found out? You can have fun now. Your friends will not love you more or less if you look different. You can buy those new shoes and that new dress and you can go look for another job. Now. You don’t have to look a certain way for all this to happen. Plus, when you start working on your other goals, you will change your focus and stop thinking constantly about how you look. Don’t put your life on hold, live it now.
4. Throw away the clothes that don’t fit.
Every woman has clothes in her wardrobe that no longer fit her, but she secretly hopes one day to be able to wear them again. I also had. Unfortunately, with an eating disorder, these clothes put too much pressure on my life. They become the measure of my success.
Every time I tried to fit my “slim” jeans, but I couldn’t, I felt like I had failed. But at one point I realized that I could no longer allow some jeans to determine what kind of person I am. That’s why I just threw them away. I cleared my wardrobe of anything that kept me away from focusing on the present. Some clothes I gave away, others I sold. The clothes of the past were no longer a measurement of my happiness. The feeling of getting rid of all this burden was amazing. I bought new clothes. A step closer to overcome eating disorder. And what could be more wonderful than another reason to buy more new clothes.
5. Stop focusing on the numbers.
By throwing away our old clothes, we lower the expectations we have set for ourselves and take a step closer to freedom. The next step is to stop weighing ourselves or stop paying attention to the numbers.
The general advice is to just get rid of the scale if we have an eating disorder. Although I didn’t do it, I had tried not to use it, but I was tempted quite often. The truth is that in the beginning, if it showed a smaller number, I became sad because it was not enough, and with a larger one, I just was devastated. Both cases were not in my favor. But over time, I stopped paying attention and learned that numbers are not important. I began to accept myself as I am, no matter what the scale shows. More or less pounds, it is still me. I have tried to focus on improving myself not in appearance, but inwardly, which automatically made me a better version of myself.
If I had just thrown away the scale, maybe it would have been easier for me to overcome eating disorder. But in the end, what matters is not the scale itself, but the meaning we give it.