These days, I rarely binge. I occasionally overeat, but when I do I don’t think of myself as a “total failure” and I don’t tell myself “I need to go on a diet”. I don’t hate myself and I don’t obsess about calories and fat grams. I do, however, still struggle with days when I just don’t like my body. This is the most difficult thing to let go of. There is still, somewhere in my brain, a part of me that aspires to some kind of body ideal and even if that ideal changes over time, it is a challenge to be happy with my body as it is right now, in this present moment.
When I recognize this struggle, I can start using some of the tools I mentioned in my last post: mindful meditation with the aim of noticing and accepting my body, positive affirmations (“I am healthy, beautiful, and strong. I listen to my mind, body, and spirit.”), wearing clothes that make me feel good, etc. But, more often than not, I find myself asking God to “take this burden” from me and then days, hours, or just minutes later I take it right back, picking up right where I left off with squeezing loose body parts, sighing as I look in the mirror, and wanting to find more time to exercise.
In my role as a counselor, it frustrates me when I work with a client who comes to me for help but isn’t ready for it and ends up rejecting the help offered. But, aren’t I doing the same thing with regard to my body image? I say, “God, help me! I can’t do this anymore!” and then immediately resume the very activities that I asked God to help with. I’m not giving God the opportunity to help. As a counselor, I would say to a client in this position, “It seems like you’re not ready to totally let go of this burden. What are some of the rewards for holding on to it?” So, lately, I’ve been asking myself that question: What are the rewards of holding on to negative body image? I don’t have any answers yet, but I’m working on it. If I can figure out what the rewards are, maybe I can find a different way to get those needs met. I’d like to get to a point where I can let go of my struggle…and not take it back.
What are you struggling with in your recovery journey? Is it possible you’re not ready to let go of it? Be gentle with yourself and recognize that there will come a day when you give it away and don’t take it back.
Peace, joy, and health.