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- A Guest Post by Our lovely Bulimia Recovery Mentor Clara Toronto
My friend and I had hitched a ride with my sister to Maverick to pick up candy for a sleepover at my house. We couldn’t have been more than ten years old at the time. We both bought lots of candy, as can be expected from two over excited friends. My sister looked absolutely repulsed by all the food we planned on eating, grabbed my bag and said "you are going to weigh this much more if you eat all this."
I’m sure most of us have had experiences like this. The kind that stick with us and haunt our minds. Subconsciously I began to weigh my food with my eyes and think "this is how much more I am going to weigh after I eat this…" But eat I did!
From those words, and others like it, evolved a dangerous and painful relationship with food. One where I would eat and eat and eat - and then consumed by fear of gaining weight, empty myself by purging through exercising and/or throwing up.
This is where I got the reputation that followed me around for many years - of being a "Bottomless Pit Bean Pole." I’m sure you’ve been told this in one way or another and shrugged it off with a laugh and a sentence that trails off… (But inside you feel like you’re dying!)
Before and during my bulimia recovery journey, the comments by others did more damage and really cut deep. I suppose you could call them 'triggers'. I took them personally. And they usually resulted in me binging and purging even more. Causing myself more harm than the comment was intended to do... the person making the comment probably did it completely innocently.
Recovering from Bulimia isn't easy (But totally possible, keep exploring this site it's Bulimia Recovery Program!). Especially when people don’t know what you are going through. It is hard to not take things personal when we are feeling insecure about ourselves.
People talk. People say things. People don’t fully understand the impact their words can have.
Part of bulimia recovery is learning and understanding that not everything is meant to be taken personally... People will always throw around comments that can stem from a number of things… Blatant ignorance as well as their own personal insecurity. My sister did not intend for me to carry her comment with me all these years… she didn’t intend for it to trigger negativity in my life. Maybe she was insecure? I don’t know… what I do know is that she doesn’t even remember saying it.
It is easy to let thoughts of self hate and cruelty enter our hearts and minds when people say things to us that trigger our insecurities. Such as… "You eat so much yet stay so skinny!". These comments can often trigger "Tough Love" - When you think to yourself "You’re disgusting, you need to sort yourself out! Imagine if they knew the truth!!?" - But it’s important not to go down this track. Shaye often talks about about how using "Tough Love" in recovery is such a big mistake. To read about why it's important not to use tough love in recovery and what you should do instead, click here. Keep this in mind when you feel critical of yourself after any comments made by others.
Beautiful girl, love yourself because only love can heal you.
So by now you’re beginning to understand how absolutely critical self love is in your bulimia recovery journey. It helped to save my life, and it will help to save yours too.
In my Bulimia Recovery, I found self love difficult at first. I’m a people pleaser. I don’t know why I feel the personal obligation to make everyone around me happy but I do…(Thankfully it’s a lot better these days!) So when people would comment on me being a bottomless pit, yet having a thin physique I’d immediately want to please them by eating some more and staying skinny. The idea of disappointing their expectations totally freaked me out! The thought of them knowing the truth of how I could eat so much and still be thin, terrified me. I was so scared of disappointing them. I was so scared of anybody knowing my bulimia secret...
Well, obviously I was lacking self love. By not loving myself and worrying more about their perception of me, I was the only one being hurt in the end. My journey of self love helped me to care more about my own well being than what others *might* be thinking!
I challenge you, lovely girl, to follow the steps above and work on self love everyday. There is power in verbally declaring something. Declare your love for yourself like you would declare it for your pet or a person you love. Express love for yourself EVERYDAY. Multiple times a day. Remind yourself that you deserve it from yourself and others - and that working on self love is a critical part of your bulimia recovery.
It’s hard to let go of the reputations we’ve developed over the years - but practicing self love will help you do this in a graceful way… A way which only adds to the love and respect that others feel towards you.