Anorexia Recovery: Challenges and Changes

Over the past 6 months I have fully committed myself to Anorexia recovery in every way possible. As a result, there have been a lot of challenges that I’ve faced and an increasing number of changes that I’ve made; from weight gain to going back to college and taking a step back from Veganism. One of the main things that has helped me is to always pick the hardest option, even though it’s the scariest – it’s in those times of discomfort and guilt that you recognise that you’re making progress.

Ironically, Anorexia is your best friend and your worst enemy all at the same time. Whilst you have the insight to recognise the damage that you’re causing to your body, you also have the inability to act on it – because of your eating disorder, you simply don’t care.

My mindset completely switched and I wanted out. I wanted the years that Anorexia had stolen from me back. I wanted recovery.

But luckily around May, not long after my 20th birthday, my mindset completely switched. I wanted out. I wanted the years that Anorexia had stolen from me back. I wanted recovery.

I sought help from my local Eating Disorder Service, started meeting regularly with a dietitian and therapist and since then have made so much progress. I haven’t only gained weight, I’ve gained my life back.

I’ve realised how truly amazing life can be as you step further away from your eating disorder. I’m determined to fully recover and adamant that I won’t get stuck in quasi recovery either. Whilst there are still aspects of my eating disorder that I need to overcome, I have already achieved a lot. And so, I wanted to write a post highlighting the challenges and changes that I’ve faced so far in recovery, to give those who are struggle some hope, and prove that not only is recovery possible, it’s amazing too.

You always have the option to go back to your eating disorder but once you’ve experienced the life that recovery provides you with, you won’t want to. It’s the most terrifying, challenging and difficult thing that you’ll do but, it’s so worth it.

This post is written from my own personal experience and is not intended to replace professional advice. If you are suffering from, in recovery, or think that you have a disordered relationship with food then please visit your GP. You can also find advice and resources on the following websites: Beat, Mind and the NHS.

Life

  • I’ve returned to college, with the goal of moving away for uni next year
  • I’m a million times happier
  • I feel like myself again
  • More laid back
  • More spontaneous
  • I’m no longer depressed
  • My life is no longer dictate by routine
  • I don’t force myself to wake up early for fear of being ‘lazy’
  • As my personality has come back, me and Maisie have bonded a lot more
  • I’m more social
  • I feel emotions again
  • I enjoy music, TV and films like I used to
  • I don’t think about food 24/7
  • I have so much more free time now that I don’t spend all of my time preparing, eating or thinking about food
  • Me and mum are closer and I can tell that her mental health has improved too
  • I’m building a life for myself beyond Anorexia
  • I’ve been able to help and inspire other people as a result of sharing the progress that I’ve made on my own journey
  • It’s meant that the quality and variety of my blog and Instagram content has improved
  • I’m not as moody or irritable
  • I’m a nicer person to live with and be around
  • I’m so much more confident – both in who I am as a person and around other people

Food and Eating

  • I have so much more FOOD FREEDOM!
  • Eating isn’t the most important part of my day anymore
  • My meals aren’t a ceremony
  • I’m more comfortable eating with or in front of other people
  • I eat quicker and chew at a ‘normal’ pace
  • I can eat with noise or the TV on – this used to be a huge problem for me as I felt the need to focus intently on my food
  • I don’t have to focus so intently on my food, close my eyes when I eat or make sure to savour every mouthful because my body knows that I’m providing it with food regularly
  • I love snacks now whereas they were one of my biggest fears before
  • I’m more comfortable eating carbs
  • I’m eating a larger amount and wider variety of food
  • I’ve been able to revisit my childhood favourites
  • I’ve learnt that it’s fine if my food isn’t ‘perfect’ as I’m able to eat regularly
  • Food isn’t the most important part of my life
  • I’m not strict with meal or snack timings
  • I don’t pre-plan my meals or food
  • I’m less anxious when doing the food shop
  • I can eat out in restaurants more comfortably, without checking the menu beforehand or pre-planning
  • I no long weigh out food
  • I’ve relaxed my Veganism which has massively helped my mental health
  • I eat different meals every day, rather than feeling as if I had to always eat the same
  • I’ve been able to try new foods
  • I don’t have to eat the same foods or same amount every day – my body isn’t a robot
  • I eat what I want, not what my eating disorder wants
  • I’ve stopped eating alone
  • I can now eat all of the amazing products that brands send me, rather than hoarding them
  • I don’t fear specific foods or food groups
  • My diet is more balanced
  • I have a healthier relationship with food
  • I don’t think about food all the time (this mainly changed when I overcame my extreme hunger)

Body Image

  • I’m less obsessed with my body than when I was smaller
  • I don’t feel the need to body check
  • I’m more accepting of weight gain than I thought that I ever could be
  • I’m learning to accept my body
  • I recognise and accept that being in a bigger body will enable me to live the life that I ultimately want to live

Exercise

  • I stopped compulsively and obsessively exercising
  • I stopped working out and reduced my overall exercise
  • I don’t force myself to wake up early to exercise
  • If my body is telling me not to exercise, I listen to it
  • I’ve recently returned to exercise, but I am not doing it obsessively or compulsively.

Health

  • I can sleep better
  • I’m not constantly cold all of the time
  • My hair, skin and nails have all improved
  • I’m not tired all of the time
  • My concentration and memory have improved
  • I’m at a higher and healthier weight for my body
  • I no longer get throbbing headaches or dizzy spells and my chest pains have improved

I have to say that the majority of these benefits have come as a result of weight gain. It goes against everything that your eating disorder is telling you, but it’s such a crucial part of recovery and the positive knock on effects that it has are second to none. I’ll never be the same person that I was before Anorexia, but the way I see it, I’ll be an even better version.

I know the prospect of recovery is scary, trust me I was absolutely terrified. But if I can do it – if I can challenge myself, eat more, and improve my life in every single aspect, then what makes you think that you can’t?

This is only my personal experience of living with an eating disorder and recovery – not all aspects of this post will apply to everyone. If you are suffering from, in recovery, or think that you have a disordered relationship with food then please seek the advice of a healthcare professional.

You can find other posts in my Anorexia Recovery series here.

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Hi, I'm Yasmin! Plant based recipe developer and certified health and wellness influencer. I share simple, nourishing plant based recipes along with tips on healthy living, mental health and well being, in the hope that I can inspire others to be the healthiest and happiest versions of themselves.

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