Recovery Is the Best Choice Around
Recovery means so many things but one of the most important lessons I learned early on was to chase my recovery with the same reckless abandon that I chased my anorexia. If I could be the best anorexic, then I had to go for it and be the best at my recovery.
I had been living with the “anorexic mind-set” for over 28 years, so this was no easy task. Anorexia never really quite had its complete grip on me until I was in my late thirties. At that time, several events and situations occurred that left me feeling completely out of control of my own life. As soon as I began to control my food and weight, though, I felt better about myself and my life—but I didn’t realize the dangerous path I was on.
After almost a year of starving myself left me near death, I began the painful process of recovery. Knowing how, when, and what to eat was all brand new. I slowly learned to trust my loving husband, therapist, and sponsor, even though I felt they were the enemy some of the time. While the fear of weight gain is real, the concept of weight gain never ending is a myth (my body won’t betray me and just continue to add weight and never stop). I can actually trust my body and finally learn how to take care of it. I am someone outside of anorexia; the disease doesn’t have to be my identity.
It is very scary to step out blindly and begin to become someone else, someone other than an anorexic. But the steps get easier and the fears become less. The all-consuming job of staying perfect in everything I did, took so much away from my being able to experience life. Now, I cherish each precious day, good and not so good.
Along with experiencing life to its fullest, I have made some ironic changes in my career. Part of being anorexic led me to the gym on a consistent basis. I have now learned a lot about weight training and strengthening (yes, there is life outside of cardio!). I have become certified as a personal trainer and have quit my professional job as an accountant, a position I held for over 20 years.
The ironic part of this change has been that everything that comes out of my mouth when working with my clients is in complete contradiction to my old lifestyle. Instead of planning my day around how little I can eat, each day is planned around what I can do to take the best care of myself. That process is challenged quite often by the “old self,” which seeks to somehow keep hold of me. However, a healthy reality prevails and I make right choices and am able to help other women, who struggle in many different ways with making healthy choices. I also am fortunate to lead an eating disorder recovery group for women once a week. Life today is not free from struggles, but it is absolutely true… recovery is the best choice around.
By Jill Robinson
Reprinted with permission from Eating Disorders Recovery Today
Fall 2005 Volume 3, Number 4
©2005 Gürze Books
About the Author
Jill Robinson is a certified personal trainer, specializing in working with women who struggle eating disorders. She can be reached at: [email protected]