This is not different.

26 Nov

Eating disorders tell a lot of lies. There really is no area of life, whether it’s looks or self-worth or grocery shopping or fitness or school or parenting or relationships or anything else, that an eating disorder will not lie about.

Eating disorders will even lie to you in recovery.

This is because eating disorders are self-obsessed fuckers that will do anything to try to get you to take them back, to pay attention to them again. They will tell you that they’ve changed, tell you about all these new options and choices, trying to make you believe that things won’t be the same as before.

Whatever new lie an eating disorder is trying to hook you with, I promise, it is no different than before.

It’s something I’ve had to be wary of, myself, throughout recovery. I know that my eating disorder will try to come up with new images to try to get me to strive after. My ED will tell me that where I am, right now, is not good enough, that there is still something I need to do, even in recovery, to be better. Because the thing with ED’s is, as Amber of “Go Kaleo” puts perfectly, enough is never enough.

Let me be more explicit about what precisely I mean by ED’s “different” lies:

1. You don’t need to focus on losing weight, just being toner!

Aah, the “toner” lie. This is the one that ED tries to hook me with most often. “We won’t focus on cutting down calories or losing weight,” ED bubbles optimistically, “we’ll just work out more so that you’ll have more defined muscles instead!” ED goes on and on about how I won’t look lazy, with all that muscle definition. How I’ll get rid of some of that treatment pudge that comes from being forced to gain weight while not working out. (You know, so the weight can turn into fat cushioning your internal organs LIKE YOUR HEART and allow for better myelination IN YOUR FUCKING BRAIN instead of just becoming muscle that’ll further metabolize you to death.)

Uh hunh. We’ll just make my arms look toner. And then my legs, and then my butt, and my abs, and to do that we’ll just cut out a little bit of dinner here, skim off of breakfast there, just to give a little edge to the muscle cutting. And then we won’t worry about how we’re tired all the time and attached to abductor machines by the hip and have maybe dropped a few pounds since this all started…

Yeah. I see where that’s going.

2. You don’t need to overexercise, just be more regimented about your fitness plan!

“Ooh, let’s download this gym tracker app!” my ED suggests. “Then we can keep track of how much weight your lifting, and how far you’re running, and how long your aerobics circuits are going!”

Yup. And then perfectionist me will see it all before me, and decide it could be better. And so I’ll lift more weights, run farther, work out longer.

And longer and longer and longer and longer.

And I’ll have to keep track of every fucking little detail, every day, looking up ways to get better…

Mhmm. I know that neuroticism. Sure, it’s just getting transferred from calories to weight reps, from low-cal recipes to track laps, but it’s still the same. It’s still an external valuation of my self-worth.

And you know, I’m pretty sure I’m worth just a bit more than how many push ups I can do.

3. You need to eat more healthily.

Uh, wasn’t this the same crap that got me into all of this to begin with? Good foods/bad foods? Eating celery instead of pretzels, a banana instead of fried rice? Sure, maybe I had a cheese quesadilla from late-night coffee house every night this week. I’ve still eaten spinach and strawberries and some more spinach too (dear college board plan, can we change up what vegetables are both offered and edible? thanks much.)

You know what? Next week, I might have a cheese quesadilla every night too. And I’m gonna be just fine.

4. You need to shape up your body some so that you’ll be more desirable.

Anybody else getting bored with? Sounding the same yet to y’all too? I almost fell into this trap over this summer. My boyfriend was away in Japan, and my ED attempted to fill my head with visions of thinner, firmer arms and six pack-esque abs. “Ah, how you’ll turn him on,” ED whispered in my ear.

Lemme tell you about how in the end I didn’t buy into that plan. Yeah, since Japan boy’s gotten back, haven’t had any problem turning him on.

Mmmm, no problem whatsoever. 😉

5. You need to prove you’re still driven.

“Remember when you got up at 7 am every day to go to the gym? Even when you’d gone to bed only three hours before? Man, you were tough. What happened to that will power? What happened to that drive?”

Um, I think I diverted it to doing things that actually make me happy. Remember that whole thing about moderation and taking care of myself and learning that “indulgence” is not in fact a four-letter word? Remember that whole thing about life not being a contest, and “proving that I’m better” than everyone else, proving that I am “extraordinary” not actually making me any stronger or safer or happier?

Oh, apparently you forgot. Well then it’s a good thing I reminded you.

 

Fellow recoverers, eating disorders are liars. No matter how good a plan whatever new proposal they’re trying to throw at you may seem, I promise, look at it closely enough, and you will find the exact same things your eating disorder beat you down with before.

Because when it comes to being “good” for an eating disorder, there is no difference.

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2 Responses to “This is not different.”

  1. Rachael November 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    What a great entry–thank you for this. It’s a great reminder for the excuses I give myself when I find myself falling back into ED habits. I would love to be able to convince myself that these thoughts are lies, but it’s definitely easier said than done. At least it will make me more aware.

    • miceala November 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      Rachael, I totally get the “easier said than done” piece. Oh the number of times I’ve *known* what I needed to do, yet still wasn’t doing it… I’m eternally grateful to my dietitian for beating me over the head with common sense every time I’ve tried to pass of one of ED’s new plans as “different this time.” I hope being aware will at least make it a little bit easier to fight back against ED!

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