Eating Disorders

Embracing A New Body in ED Recovery

There is only your body: the same body you took your first steps in, laughed your first laugh, and loved your first love.

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“To be attached to your physical appearance is to ensure a lifetime of suffering as you watch your form go through the natural motions that began the moment of your conception.” ― Wayne Dyer

Well said, Dr. Dyer. As we go from embryo to old age, we watch the natural process of change take place in the skin of our being, right before our eyes.

The realization we are living inside a body with its own itinerary first becomes apparent for many of us in puberty. We witness the strange process of our body blossoming without our consent. This is often when body image first becomes a predominant focus for the adolescent mind.

Our brains are built to categorize, organize, and control so we can maintain a firm grasp on who we are, and the world we live in.

They stick to easy thought patterns, default to ingrained, deep-seated beliefs, and efficiently jump to conclusions whenever given the chance. Our bodies, on the other hand, remain in tune with the rhythm of nature. They rely purely on intuition, feeling, and instinct to keep us alive and well.

From the moment you were born, before you even had the capacity for thought, your body was instinctively working away to become a strong and healthy sanctuary for your soul to flourish in.


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Eating disorders are mental illnesses.

The mind hijacks the body and begins to analyze, critique, and control the physical form in which it resides.

The mind uses the pictures and stories it has collected from society to describe how bodies should look and behave. It clings to these stories and holds them up against us in the mirror, in order to justify cruel words and punishment.

The body does not take any of this personally. It waits patiently for the mind to quiet so it may guide you back into balance and continue you on your journey to your highest potential.

When did we forget our bodies know what they are doing? When did we lose sight that we grow from an embryo to a full-bodied human, without the input of thoughts?

Once you enter ED recovery and release the control of the unwell mind, your body will jump at the opportunity to get to do its job of taking care of you once more, regardless of what damage has been done. You will assimilate back into the language of hunger and fullness, cravings, preferences, feelings, and emotions. These biological alerts may feel fierce at first, but so does our breath after having been underwater for an extended amount of time. Trust these cues will soften over time, and return to their natural and manageable pace someday.

As you become reaccustomed to honoring the messages of the body, your mind will likely object and protest with all it has.

It will go on doing its mind thing — shouting judgments, comparisons, and rules. Respect the mind-body shift is not a seamless, overnight transition; your mind will want to return to what it has known for so long. Turbulence is a natural part of the process. What is important is to keep returning to the vibration of the body, honoring the gentle tugs, and heading in the direction of liberation.

When your life begins to be guided by your body rather than your mind, you will witness miracles. You will begin to trust yourself again and absorb the magic of the present moment.

Your body will also change because it is what bodies do. Although your mind may not agree with the transformation of your body, this dissonance should not be interpreted as a reason to give up and return to the prison of insanity. Rather, it is an opportunity to sit compassionately with your mind, allowing it to throw its tantrum while remaining strong in your power. Give your body space to breathe and heal without conforming to the psychotic standards of the mind.

If your body takes a shape your mind does not approve of, return to the truth of who you are — the observer behind it all. Remind yourself  there is no “new body” to cope with.

There is only your body: the same body you took your first steps in, laughed your first laugh, and loved your first love.

Hold on to this truth like a mast in a storm as you wait for fluctuations of the mind to still. Only then can you return to listening and answering your body’s ancient wisdom and head for shore.

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Article Photo by Eugenia Maximova on Unsplash

Carissa Shaul believes in miracles. Since finding her way to freedom after a five-year battle with an eating disorder, Carissa founded Abandon Perfection which offers coaching to women on a similar path. In addition to writing, Carissa fulfills the call of her soul through teaching yoga at an eating disorder recovery center, studying psychology, traveling, and hanging out with her sweet Boston Terrier in the rainy forests of the Pacific Northwest.

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