I've been relying on concrete data to "prove" that I'm recovery: X days without bingeing; X days without restricting. Renfrew was good about this--emphasizing hard data when we felt discouraged, but not using it as the sole benchmark of recovery. (I was particularly amused when my nutritionist whipped out a calculator to show that I had a "65% reduction in symptoms since admission" after a particularly bad night.)
That's great and all, but what is feeling like a more remarkable feat is the soft data--the times when I notice that my thoughts have actually changed. I gobbled down a candy bar this evening--not the end of the world, but it wasn't on my meal plan, and since I have a lot of dinners with friends this week at yummy restaurants, I know I'll be having my meal-plan desserts later this week. I ate the candy bar because I was hungry, and lonely, and hadn't followed my meal plan earlier in the day and was short on starch exchanges, so it was somehow "okay" because of that. Essentially, it was a mini version of the exact problem that landed me at Renfrew: restricting and bingeing.
Two months ago, the process would have been: I had a candy bar > that was wrong of me > the whole day is ruined > since the day is ruined I should go all the way and binge > binge > tomorrow I will restrict.
Tonight, it was: I had a candy bar > I haven't had dinner so was probably hungry > I'm going to have a yummy dinner that's on my meal plan > and if I'm hungry later I will have a snack. And that's exactly what I'm doing.
One of the women in my group was prone to my old-think too. She compared it to tripping while walking up the stairs, so standing up and throwing herself down the entire flight, because there was no point in continuing up the stairs anymore. We all laughed when she said that, because it sounds ridiculous in those terms--but that's exactly what so many of us are prone to. So I slipped, and it's fine. It's only a "slip" if I make it as such, anyway--a candy bar is not a binge; it's not anything that needs to be compensated for, even though it's not terribly healthy for me and I didn't plan for it. Having a candy bar sometimes when you didn't plan for it is normal. And again: I'm not a normal eater yet. But today's thought--which, incidentally, I arrived at organically, without having to force myself to think "right"--shows me that I'm getting a little bit closer.
One Man’s Struggle and Recovery from Anorexia
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