The Door to Change is Open. Learning about eating disorder recovery from Let’s Make a Deal.
Posted Aug 12 2013 2:23pm
So you long to be at your old weight, the lower size, the
place where everything was fabulous? Like the amnesia when recalling an old
boy/girlfriend—you know, that selective memory that favors only the good times
(not how miserable they made you feel or how unhealthy your relationship was
with him/her)—you remember longingly how great it was to be thinner, and you
strive unhealthily to get there. Remember how happy you were, how you loved
your body then? Don’t you recall how great you felt—physically and mentally?
Was it as good as you recall or did you feel trapped?
The door is open for change!
Likely not! What was that disordered relationship with food
really like? How great did/do you truly feel and function? Perhaps, as I hear
from so many...
was off. Depression crept in, as did anxiety. Thoughts might have become
obsessive. As a result, you were not truly present. Rather, your thoughts were
racing, removing you from engaging in conversation and interacting in a healthy
emotionally removed—perhaps that was helpful—but not feeling the negative stuff
also meant not enjoying the positive experiences either. Were you missing the
connections with friends and family? Did you miss out on those early years of
your children’s lives, or the later years as your parents were aging? Present,
but in body only?
dragging, deprived of energy from truly getting enough fuel throughout the day.
Maybe you made up for it later, but that didn’t help you function throughout
the day. Ok, so the coffees or diet Cokes gave you that caffeinated illusion
that you were energized, but the headaches and preoccupation about your next
meal surely told you otherwise.
lightheadedness and fatigue were bad enough. But the disturbed sleep during the
night might have been more than you bargained for.
feeling cold all the time, especially when nobody else was.
to attend all those appointments—with your doctor, your therapist,
psychiatrist, and that darn nutritionist. Bad enough to have to take all that
time, and copays, but having to be held accountable every visit? Uggh!
Yes, there is another way...
periods (for you women) were a bit worrisome, never mind the impact that would
have on your bone density.
It was so
challenging and overwhelming planning meals and trying to be social, when so
much centers around eating!
thoughts became so distorted.
felt so trapped and helpless.
not even happy then, as you were still striving, against your body’s best
interest, to lose more weight.
It was like
living two lives. The one everyone else saw. And then the real you, the you you
Remember that old TV show, Let’s Make a Deal? I guess it
still airs, but decades ago when I last watched it here’s what I remember.
There were three curtains, and behind each one there were items—some desirable
and some, so-called zonks. Contestants would have to make a decision to trade
what they were shown behind one curtain with the unknown contents hidden behind
Have you read all the posts this cup mug is on? Just checking!
another curtain. They had a chance to reneg on their decision—offered money to
trade back, still site unseen— restoring the hope and promise of possibilities
behind the alluring curtain—which of course could turn out to be a worthless
This show somehow seems like eating disorder recovery
itself. In spite of knowing that we are living with a zonk, which in the grand
scheme of things has so little value, it is challenging to trade for the
virtually unknown. Virtually, because we have all but forgotten how much
better, how much more value that former non-disordered self had.
If you’re stuck in a pattern that you know isn’t working,
why not take the risk, so to speak, and try what’s behind a different curtain?
Could it really be much worse that what you are living with now? You knew what
the other curtain held—the benefits of listening to your body, of nourishing
yourself, body and soul. So why not make a deal and trade up?
Maybe you won’t like all the offerings behind a curtain. So toss or trade back the parts you could do without. Perhaps you'll need
to learn to tolerate some parts of the package that aren’t your
favorites—you’ll learn how to make due. Yes, with support and experience you
can become more accepting of the full package.
Ready to trade up? Make a list of what you dislike about
your current situation—physically and emotionally. What is it stopping you from
doing? What harm is it doing? What would you be able to do if you didn’t have
this disorder? What was it like without it?
And what positives do you get from your disorder? A strange
question, perhaps. But on some level you must be getting something positive
from your current situation. It may be your drug of choice, or allow you to not
have to make decisions about your future. There may be all sorts of positives you attribute to your disordered lifestyle.
Now put them together. Bring them in to discuss with your health professionals—your therapist, dietitian, or MD.
Do the math, adding the pros and the cons. Then make your
voice heard and make a deal. Yes, it’s time to peak behind the next curtain.
See all articles by Lori Lieberman, RD, CDE, MPH, LDN, at: http://dropitandeat.blogspot.com