I locked eyes with my reflection in the mirror and I almost didn’t recognize myself. Not necessarily because I had lost weight, but because I had lost myself in the process. My eyes, which had once been bright and hopeful, were sunken and dull. I could not help but wonder if it was still me behind them. I decided that it was me and that there was just a little bit less of me than there was before. “I am changing” I reminded myself. “It will be worth it when I am beautiful, loveable, confident, and skinny.
I genuinely believed that weight loss would be the key to finding happiness. I didn’t just want to lose weight to “look good”, I wanted to lose weight to finally FEEL good. Ironically, as the number on the scale got smaller so did the hours I spent with friends and family. As the time spent exercising increased, so did the unforgiving and indecent thoughts about calories. Before I knew it, I wasn’t Kara anymore…I was a machine; specifically, a human calorie calculator.
My eating disorder did not just take my enjoyment of food away. With that, it took my spunk, humor, hobbies, and general love of life. I no longer lived for memories with loved ones. I no longer lived for family vacations and hangouts with friends. I didn’t live for soccer games with my team or to see my two younger siblings continue to age and to grow. I solely lived to see the number on the scale get smaller.
Recovery from my eating disorder has been a rocky road full of many ups and many downs. After all, recovery is not just making a singular decision to start eating again. It is making a conscious and challenging decision over and over and over again every single day until there isn’t a decision to make anymore. Until recovery minded choices are second nature.
Recovery is choosing to eat even when you feel unworthy of food. It is choosing to rest when every single cell in your body is aching to compensate. It is choosing to get out of bed and face another day even when you don’t see a point to your life or existence. Eating disorders are not just about the food and recovery is not just about eating.
In my recovery, I gained weight, but I also gained energy. I gained food freedom, enjoyable movement, friends, less stressful social gatherings, improved sleep and digestion, the ability to concentrate, healthy hormone function/my period, and LIFE!!! This process is very much ongoing for me and I am far from where I hope to be someday, but I am working towards the life of my dreams every single day (life of your dreams > body of your dreams)!
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