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Recovery from an eating disorder doesn’t come quickly. Milestones such as leaving treatment or reaching weight goals are few and far between. Many of the victories we have when recovering from an eating disorder are small. In fact, most of the time, those big victories we all strive towards are made up of what seem like smaller ones at the time.
It is important to recognize these and accept credit for them to encourage yourself to continue moving forward.
This weekend I had a small victory I hadn’t really been aware of until I began writing this article. I was celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday and had cake and ice cream without feeling guilty about it. I have been in recovery for quite a while now, so it didn’t seem like a big deal.
We all have things like this that happen all the time and feel like they are not a big deal. However, recognizing it was a victory–no matter how small–and that I am still stronger than my eating disorder was a very empowering feeling.
The first step in giving yourself credit for the victories in your recovery is, of course, recognizing them.
This sounds simple, but it can definitely be harder than it seems.
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You may find yourself out for dinner with friends and you have some of the chips before the meal comes. Or perhaps you order a drink other than water; something you wouldn’t do when you were sick. It can even be something as simple as getting seconds at dinner when you’re still hungry or having a snack you hadn’t planned for.
These types of things may not seem like much, but they are things you wouldn’t have done when suffering from your eating disorder. It is these small victories that, when chained together, make up recovery.
Once you recognize the small victory you have made, take a minute to acknowledge it and appreciate where you have come from.
It really is that simple. Appreciating what you have accomplished and the importance of it makes a huge impact on your recovery.
It is important not to have the mentality that because you have achieved this you can take a break from your recovery. Instead, remind yourself the big victories you are striving towards are made up of many moments like the one you just had.
In order to get to those bigger ones, you need to keep moving forward. If you’re already in recovery, remind yourself you didn’t get there from one small victory, and you need to continue moving forward now as much as you did in the past.
I encourage you, even if you’ve been in recovery for a long time, to recognize the small victories you achieve each day.
Not only is it very empowering to keep moving forward when you are in the process of recovery, it also reminds you what you came from and protects you from going back.
So remember, big victories are made up of small victories, and you deserve credit for all of them!
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