Honouring Your Body: Recovery Through Words

Recovering from an eating disorder is an everyday battle. It is waking up and choosing not to hate the skin you are in and realizing that you deserve to nourish your body with food. It is being able to look at exercise as a tool to move your body, get your blood flowing and muscles moving rather than punishment for not looking a certain way or to atone for the foods you ate the day before. Recovering from an eating disorder starts with sifting through the beliefs you have about your body and food while dealing with motivating causes such as the need for control of perfectionism. Once you have healed on a spiritual and emotional level, you can begin to show your body the love it needs and nourish and take care of your physical health.

Learning to eat without fear or restriction starts with breaking down the barriers in your mind that cause you to believe that eating or eating certain foods will drastically alter the way you look or stop you from attaining what you believe to be the perfect body; a body that will make you more acceptable, worthy and happy. When in actual fact, the amount of fat or lack thereof that hangs from your physical form has nothing to do with your self worth and will certainly not lead to a better life.

Affirmations are “positive, specific statements that help you overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. They help you visualize and believe in what you’re affirming to yourself, helping you to make positive changes to your life”.

I was first introduced to these when learning about self-love and all the daily habits you can fit into your routine that will help you get there. The idea of saying something out loud over and over might seem absurd to some, especially when you factor in the fact that these statements are meant to change the way you see yourself. But, how do you think that you got to believing that you are fat, ugly, too thin, worthless or useless in the first place. Through words. Years and years or negative self-talk, comments from those around us and what we read in magazines and throughout mass media. Your disordered eating habits rooted themselves in affirmations of self-hatred, were watered by slogans endorsed by our diet culture such as “the fat you eat is the fat you wear” and bloomed amongst words that caught our ears reminding us to such in our stomach as a little girl or asking us whether we really do want seconds at a dinner party. Words led you to this painful way or viewing your body and food and it is through words that one must undo, start a fresh and begin taking the steps towards healing.

Here are affirmations that can help carry you through your journey into recovery. Whisper them to yourself before or after a meal, stand in front of the mirror and affirm your body or write them down and pin them on your wall to serve as a constant reminder or your worthiness.

I deserve to nourish and fuel my body.

I am enough. I do not need to reduce my physical shape, size and form. Shrinking will not make life any easier. I am worthy of taking up space. There is nothing wrong with taking up space.

My body is the only home I will ever own. I deserve to live in it comfortably and to tend to its every crevice with love and care. My home may not look like those littered on the property magazines. But it does its job keeping me warm and safe and is beautiful in its own right.

Food is not the devil, but rather offers my body nutrients and vitamins that feed every cell in my body and allow me to exist in my healthiest form.

Healthy is defined by the way I feel. Not by the number on the scale of the size of my jeans.

I honour my body enough to eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full. I listen to my body and allow myself to eat without restriction or fear.

I am choosing to be present. To eat mindfully, chew carefully and savour every bite.

I listen to my body and the way it responds to the food I give it, and respect it enough to make conscious decisions about what I eat based on how these foods make me feel.

There are no ‘good’ foods or ‘bad’ foods. There are foods that give me energy and allow me to perform at my best and there are foods that may make me feel sluggish or overwhelm my body. I try as far as possible to give my body food that makes it feel good, but where I choose to eat something that does not sit well with my body, I do not need to punish myself but rather move forward with respect for and a new understanding of my body.

Being hungry is my body’s way of crying out for nourishment through food. I try as far as possible to listen to and honour these hunger queues and allow myself to indulge in meals or snacks that present themselves even when I may not be hungry.

I do not live to eat, but rather eat to live.

I love my body and appreciate everything it does for me.

I do not need to reach a certain body weight to allow myself to live fully, express myself or open myself up to new opportunities.

Being thin will not make me happy.

I choose to eat foods that will allow me to live every day in the best way possible, however there is space to indulge and treat myself.

Eating something that I did not plan for does not erase all the healthy meals I have eaten that day.

I eat ‘treat’ foods when in moderation when my body craves them and will not punish myself if I eat these foods in excess but will rather choose to make wiser choices with my next meal.

I deserve all the things I had deprived myself of in the name of being skinnier, prettier and more acceptable.