Signs Your Eating Disorder Recovery Isn’t Over
Fully recovering from an eating disorder can take years or even decades for some. Some people, sadly, never really recover from the tragic condition. Healing after an eating disorder requires training your brain to forget about all of the things it usually focuses on. You have to completely change the way you think. You have to learn to look away from the things you feel compelled to look directly at. You also, of course, have to get to the root of what caused your eating disorder, and address that. Eating disorders are often just symptoms of unaddressed emotional trauma. But, the truth is that, even once you face that trauma, work through it—perhaps in therapy—and release it from your subconscious, you can still be chased by the ghost of your eating disorder. Some say having an eating disorder changes you forever, even if you fully recover. Here are signs you haven’t fully recovered from your eating disorder.
You walk extra after a big meal
You still feel a compulsion to walk home after a big meal, even when your original plan was to take a cab home, or when it’s honestly too cold or dangerous to walk all that way. You can’t just…get in the cab.
You restrict after indulging
After a day of indulging—like, say, Thanksgiving—you restrict. You always feel the need to counteract a big meal by eating very little the next day. You aren’t yet able to have a big meal, and just forget about it.
You weigh yourself daily
It’s not mentally healthy to weigh yourself daily. While those who haven’t had eating disorders may be able to do this without consequences, if you’ve suffered from an eating disorder, you should avoid the scale.
You’re fixated on weight in general
You have a general fascination with weight, always wanting to know how much other people weigh.
You’re aware of others with the issue
You’re still hyper-aware of disordered eating habits in other individuals. You seem to have a laser focus that detects even slight habits associated with anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating in others.
You cancel plans after big meals
You still cancel plans after big meals sometimes. You don’t feel like you “should” wear your going out clothes after a big meal. You feel guilty, and like you don’t deserve to have fun.
You hide your body after eating
You won’t have sex with your partner after eating, or at least after eating a big meal. You hide your body. You won’t look in the mirror when you change. You wear the biggest t-shirt you can find, so as to not even detect your own figure under your clothes.
You look at images of bodies
You spend a lot of time looking at images of bodies. Maybe on Instagram, you can spend an hour looking up pages of…fitness models…plus size models…or individuals with self-proclaimed eating disorders.
You need menu details
You need detailed information about the menu wherever you go. If you’re going to a dinner party, you need to know exactly what you’ll be eating and at what time, so you can plan the rest of your food that day accordingly.
You’re wearing a FitBit
While these can be useful tools for many, they aren’t healthy for those recovering from eating disorders. It’s best for your emotions and mental health to forget about counting steps and calories.
You get depressed after indulging
You feel depressed after having dessert or indulging in a large meal. You want to retreat from the world. You feel very isolated.
You won’t buy certain foods
There are certain foods you simply will not bring into your home because you cannot control yourself around these foods. You are still not in a place where you can just have a few bites.
Diet talk is triggering
You don’t like when people around you talk about diets. You leave the room. You try to change the subject. You become irritable.
Your workout/food schedule is inflexible
Your workout or eating schedule is inflexible. You make others change their plans to accommodate the time you go to the gym or have lunch.
You couldn’t counsel someone
If you know that you could not help someone else with an eating disorder, then you aren’t fully healed from your own. Only when we know that something truly has no more control over us can we help someone who is currently struggling with it.