I was addicted to other people’s recovery methods. This simple truth kept me stuck in food obsession, and it took a very long time to realise this.
This is what my life was like: I would spend hours on the internet searching intuitive eating and different recovery methods. I got a buzz every time I found a new ‘guru’s’ site, signed up to their free guides and read their blog from front to back. I would read articles over and over, wanting desperately to be like the people I read about. After two years of “wanting to recover”, my inbox was jammed full of people’s advice, tips and stories.
I jumped from one recovery programme or advice to the next, always wondering two weeks later why my current method “wasn’t working”. I’d get bored, angry and frustrated then Googled some more. I repeatedly moved on to a new method that was more exciting and would be the time I recovered.
Now I’m definitely not trying to say that reading about recovery or looking for advice is wrong. It is positive and healthy and sets a different mindset towards ending an unhealthy relationship with food. But when you switch your primary focus from food to recovery from food, it is still an obsession. Looking back, I see it as the diet mentality still. I was looking for external plans and someone to tell me what to do to be a ‘perfect’ intuitive eater. I was not happy being myself so desperately tried to be in someone else’s life.
I realised then that I needed to find other ways of enjoying my own life and coping in it without an obsession or disconnection. I focused on behaving like a person without an obsession, even when the feelings of going back to what I knew were overwhelming. This meant not spending hours on blogs and watching recovery videos, or planning how I was going to eat ‘intuitively’.
Instead, I focused on what other things would give me a spark. I found ideas in what I used to enjoy. I watched makeup tutorials on YouTube. I went for lots of walks and I spent time talking to people. I watched and read a lot of non-health books and TV. I wrote some articles on my favourite topics, even if people never saw them. I worked out what excitement I wanted in my life, and how to get there. I also tried, one hour at a time, to accept each day as it was, and my life how it was. I tried not to generate a new obsession to fill the old one, instead I looked for joy in the things I already had. It’s all about winning over the thoughts in your head, and truly believing you can win.
So if you are still searching for the path to freedom, it is time to let go and trust yourself. It is a scary thought, but focus on the things you love, and recovery takes place by itself. I am a firm believer that this is the only way to escape the obsession.