Why I Still Struggle In Recovery

TW: Eating disorders, weight loss

Recovering from disordered eating is very complex. There’s the physical aspect of it, your body readjusting, but the really daunting part is the mental and emotional side. For me, I don’t think it will ever fully leave me and I think that tends to be the consensus among most people who have struggled with these issues. I wrote earlier this month about what recovery means to be but I thought I’d be brave and be honest about what I still struggle with.

The biggest thing that really affects me regularly is diet talk and body shaming. This ranges in severity from people moralising food, which is irritating but not the most unsettling, through to people shaming themselves and berating themselves and pledging to “make up” for what they’ve eaten. The worst bit about it is the fact that it’s totally normalised. No one bats an eyelid at someone calling themselves fat (and using it as a negative) or broadcasting to anyone who’ll listen, that they have to be “good” and not have certain foods. And they do so without any thought for the people around them. The quote that always sticks with me is that every time we shame our own bodies publicly children (and all other people really) are listening and learning. Maybe it’s too late for my generation and possibly even for the next one growing up now but you have to hope that things will start to change.

Along the same lines is people commenting on what I’m eating. This is rife at my work and it’s so infuriating. It’s a difficult thing to confront people on because it’s so ingrained in our culture. The majority of people probably just consider it making conversation, or at worst mild teasing when in reality it can make things very difficult for those of us who are just trying to eat without comment or judgement.

Anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while will know where I stand on before and after pictures. They are troubling on a purely theoretical level but for someone who is in recovery or recovering from an eating disorder they are so hard to deal with. Even when I wasn’t well the last time and was talking about my weight loss a lot I never posted a “transformation’ picture. I’d like to think that no matter how sucked in to that world I got I never would. Selling the idea that one body is better than another because it’s smaller is messed up. It’s not the images themselves that are the problem necessarily, in a lot of cases it’s the caption. “Can’t believe I ever let myself get like that” “I’m disgusted looking at the picture on the left” are examples of the kind of thing that’s heartbreaking and deeply disturbing to read.

Although, in the moment, when these things crop up, I can be very unsettled and anxious I don’t blame the individuals. Diet culture permeates every form of media, it enters the classroom and the doctor’s office, it’s no wonder that so many people buy in and don’t even question. They don’t question the system that they are supporting whether directly or indirectly and in most cases they don’t question, or have no idea, about how they are affecting others, across society in and in their direct social circle. It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 10 American college women suffer from a clinical or near clinical eating disorder, statistics on that don’t exist for the UK but it would be hard to imagine they would much better. Due to the fact that eating disorders are massively undiagnosed the chances are there are people around you who have suffered or will in the future. That’s worth thinking about.

V ❤

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23 thoughts on “Why I Still Struggle In Recovery

  1. Charlotte says:

    You know one example that stands out in my head more than anything and I am meaning to write a post about is that on good friday we had the telly on and it was … (used to be GMTV cant think what its called now) and they ran a segment about how ore and more children were suffering with mental health problems. literally 5 minutes later Kate Garraway says so enjoy your easter, eat lots of chocolate and diet starts on monday! Its so sad that we live in a culture that doesnt even link these things today! They dont think oh children are unhappy and it must be because were putting all of these pressures on them!

    People need to seriously keep their opinions to themselves at times. At the end of the day unless I am specifically asking, what I put into my body has nothing to do with anyone but me. I mean unless you notice I go to take a bite of my pizza and it has mould on it or something then ill let you comment 😛 Healthy, Unhealthy, Fat, Thin we all have the right to exist in this world free of judgement and with love

    Charlotte | http://www.discoveringcharlotte.co.uk


  2. Rebecca Claire says:

    Since we started talking more (and being religious readers of each other’s blogs) I have been so much more aware of other people’s comments and how potentially harmful they can be. It’s infuriating but there have also been thoughts in my own head and words out my own mouth that I have considered in a different light thanks to your body positivity/blog posts/our chats. I have learned so much from you! Xx


  3. Giana says:

    I love that you share this with us and everything you say is so true, and a lot more people (the media) need to pay attention to this sort of stuff xx


  4. Sarah Athow-Frost says:

    Thank you for this post. I would not even have considered this perspective before. It really made me think. If I’m honest, I’m not sure if I’m ready to really face up to some of those thoughts either.


  5. Jen says:

    Very brave of you to share this, and that in itself is an achievement. It took me 20 years to talk about it, and address it. I got some really good help, and to be honest it has helped hugely. Nothing goes away, and I’m very aware of things I’m thinking or doing. I slip now and then, and I still try to hide it. But 8 years ago, I made some heavy promises and I’ve kept to them. Never feel like you’re alone, or can’t ask for help. But do keep up the good practices I hope you’re leaning to live with.


  6. kirstyralph11 says:

    I think any illness takes a toll on us emotional and psychically. I applaud your honesty and opening up about your experience and sharing your struggles. I know how frustrating it is to have people make misconstrued comments about issues that are so personal to you. I’ve struggled with people failing to understand my diabetes and it’s post like these that makes the world step back and look at it properly and understand it more x


  7. Sarah says:

    This is really interesting. I never thought that way about ‘before/after’ photo’s but I totally get it. Our society is so messed up when it comes to weight and body image. I hope youre ok xxx


  8. jenny says:

    I have also struggled with my weight but am finally beginning to feel comfortable with how I am. Thanks for writing about how you feel, it’s good to read about another perspective.


  9. Tamsin | Eco Fluffy Mama says:

    One of my dear friends keeps talking about weight loss. Posting screen grabs of her fit bit and obsessing over how many steps, calories in/out, food, being bad and weighing every day. It’s heartbreaking to see. She talked about people commenting on what she eats and it’s made things worse. Our mindset needs to change.


  10. Toria says:

    You’re so right that commenting on food choices and weight seems to be so ingrained in our culture that it’s “normal”. It shouldn’t be. I really hope that I’m helping my daughters to have a different mindset as they grow up.


  11. ljdove23 says:

    I totally relate to this. I have had anorexia since my teens right up to my thirties, and spent a great deal of time in eating disorders units over the years. These days I am “in recovery” but it’s still a struggle, perhaps it always will be. Keep going, you’re doing so well. xx


  12. cvnxena says:

    The mental aspects are definitely the harder sides to overcome and I find that with everyone discussing it at all times it can exacerbate the situation!


  13. Kara says:

    I went to school with a girl who had a serious eating disorder which saw her hospitalised numerous times. I never understood her struggle but now I can see it


  14. Newcastle Family Life says:

    As a parent to a teenage girl I am always careful what I say around her in regards to food and body image etc, some comments that people say can have massive impacts on people. I remember a teacher at school commenting on my weight in front of the class and that lead to be having weight problem for years x


    • sirvikalot says:

      It’s so important that we talk positively about ourselves around young people who are learning how to interact with themselves. I’m happy to hear that you’re so aware of that although I’m sorry you learned from a bad experience.
      V ❤️


  15. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... says:

    Wise words. My children see me naked, wobbly bits, stretchmarks and all. I want them to know that the airbrushed models on adverts etc aren’t real. Being happy with yourself is a great achievement that so few people manage.


  16. laurasidestreet says:

    I can imagine it must be really hard especially as the media supports us questioning our own bodies all the time, it’s so hard to get away from that as it’s seen across papers, magazines and Instagram but it’s so good you are recovering

    Laura x


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