I have been reading a book, Life Without Ed, which is written by a woman about her experience of recovering from her eating disorder. The standard abbreviation for eating disorder is ED and many people just lump them together in the the name, Ed. Thus the Ed in the title. I do not refer to my ED as Ed because I actually have an Ed in my life and I don’t want to create confusion or a negative association with my person-Ed.
So, this woman writes a lot about what her ED says to her. My ED does not tell me all the same things that hers tells her, but her representation of the insidious undermining of the messages from her ED totally resonates with me. I decided I would make a list of the current messages I get from my ED. Much to my surprise, what I thought would be a pretty short list, turned into a very long list of messages. And I think it does a good job at showing how my ED wants to undermine my recovery process/progress.
Honestly, this list isn’t even everything…But it gives you more than enough of an idea as to what messages I hear.
Messages from my eating disorder:
- Your meal plan is too much and you can’t eat all that food or you will gain weight.
- If you can’t weigh yourself to know that you aren’t gaining weight, you can’t eat.
- If you gain weight, you are worthless. You need to restrict to prevent gaining weight.
- If you lose weight, you are amazing and strong and I will help you stay that way and you can lose even more weight and be even stronger.
- I am your only friend and I keep you safe.
- When you reach out for support and no one is available, I will be right here to help you.
- You need to exercise/exercise more to negate the calories you just ate.
- If you don’t know how much you weigh and you plan on sticking with that meal plan, then you have to exercise.
- Because exercise is good for you, people will assume you are doing it to take care of yourself and not because I told you that you need to.
- When you are hungry between meals and don’t eat it means you are stronger than other people…they will cave and eat.
- Stretching times between meals doesn’t count as restricting.
- Your Renfrew nutritionist told you to have snacks when you are hungry between meals, but you don’t have to and it doesn’t count as restricting because it is not on your meal plan.
- No one will really notice if you just shave off one carb, one protein, one fat, one dairy from your meal plan.
- If you pick the smallest piece of fruit, the smallest bread slice, the smallest everything, you will still be compliant with your meal plan and you will get to eat less food.
- It doesn’t matter if your meal plan worked for you for 5.5 weeks at Renfrew. Now you are home and the meal plan will make you gain weight.
- You still have your scale. You can weigh yourself every day!
- You don’t need anyone’s help.
- You are shameful and ugly and weak.
- You are going to fail at fighting me, so why bother trying?
- Everyone knows you are disgusting.
- Everyone can see that you are fat and that you don’t deserve any love or caring>
- If you restrict, everything will be better!
Now you can see why every meal is an effort and challenge for me. This is the constant dialogue in my head. And it totally sucks. However, I have been sticking to my meal plan and no, I am not even picking the smallest of everything to cut calories even though the thought is very tempting. I can’t say that I am resisting everything on this list…But I am doing the best I can.