I think there are more things that change with recovery than don’t. It’s not only your eating and your body that will change, that’s for sure. Getting healthy means that just about every aspect of you will change (usually for the better).
Change, even when it is for the better, brings challenges. Your own perception of yourself will have opinions over the changing you. Other people will have their opinions too. Some people don’t like it when we change. Others encourage it. It is up to you to be able to mentally sift though all of this and manage your own reactions to it.
Remember, other people have opinions about you. Only you have truth. Other people will have opinions about what healthy should look like for you. Only your body has truth. Usually, when we are getting our health right in the true sense of the word, we are happier people.
I mean healthy in the true sense of the word. Not the instagram sense. Not the image of a skinny white woman eating a salad. That’s not healthy, that is a marketing. Your image of what health looks like has been distorted by the diet industry. Most people can’t get their heads around the idea that for many of us, a larger body means better health. Skinny is always healthy, right?
Wrong. So fucking wrong.
This is hard to explain to many people and the reason it is hard to explain is the same reason that religion is hard to explain: belief systems and unconscious bias. I guess I write about these things a lot. That’s because they are fundamental in the establishment of our perception of what health is. Our society believes that thinner is better. Well, belief is not fact, but belief heavily distorts truth. Truth is truth, but what we believe to be truth often isn’t. For example, many people believe that there is all this science and data to show that being thinner is always better. The issue we have here, is those collecting said data and science already have the unconscious bias that thinner is better. They will only be able to “see” the data that supports thinner is better. This heavily distorts science, and what the wider society believes to be truth.
What should “health” mean?
Health, or a person’s state of health, should be very personal. It should not be influenced by another person’s idea of what health should look like. Health does not have a face. Health does not look a certain way. Health is not a colour. Health is not a weight. Health is not an age. Health is about you, being at your physical and mental best, at any one point in time.
Of couse we can improve our health, but that is all relative. Above all, the health of one person, and the measures used to achieve that, should not dictate the health of another, or the way another should live.
Anyway … unsuppressed personality?
I guess what I mean with this, is that as you stop suppressing your bodyweight, and you stop restricting your food, everything changes, including your personality. I’m not saying you will have a completely different personality. For most of us, we are the same people, just less suppressed. Bigger in so many ways and all of them good.
My unsuppressed personality is a much better listener. I’m 100 x more fun. I am bloody brilliant at relaxing. I am still productive, but in a less self-destructive way. I have a sex drive. I am interested in people. I’m the same person I was when I had an eating disorder but amplified and colourful. Like a colour film versus a black and white one.
It’s all better. Oh, apart from the PMT. That’s certainly a thing with me and I get cranky as shit when I am due on my period. But other than that, it honestly is all better. But, even when I am cranky I am a better sort of cranky than I was when I was suppressing my bodyweight. That’s because I know how to look after myself and listen to my body now. So … PMT sees me allowing myself a hell of a lot of chocolate, hot baths, and early nights.
Your eating disorder personality will have judgement about your unsuppressed personality.
Yeah, it will. It will tell you that you got lazier. That you forgot how to be productive. That you are like everyone else now.
My eating disorder used to tell me that I was special and better because I would never allow myself a rest. It would tell me that giving in to desire was weak, and that I had the special edge over everyone else because I knew how to push myself and not give in.
None of that is true. I wasn’t better. I wasn’t special. I was fucking sick.
In the process of getting better, I had to accept my unsuppressed bodyweight, but that wasn’t the only thing my eating disorder brain didn’t like. It didn’t like my unsuppressed personality either. I had to stick up for that in the same way I had to stick up for my body. I had to repel my own judgment over both. I had to work on accepting both, and understanding that suppressing food led to suppressing me.
Your changing personality may effect other people
Nine times out of ten, no, probably more like eight times out of ten, the changes that happen to us as we achieve greater health are welcomed by our loved ones and friends. Most of the time as we get better we are more fun and nicer people and what’s not to like about that?
Sometimes, the changes in us are not so welcome. Sometimes getting better means that your interests change. This can be hard on people you once held shared interests with, as they will feel you moving away from them. Sometimes getting better means we are less likely to allow ourselves to be treated in a way that we know is not good for us. I think that when your eating disorder is the pinnacle of your life, you put up with shit you shouldn’t do so that you can maintain your eating disorder. Then, when you are no longer trying to maintain your eating disorder the other things come to the surface and you realize you don’t want to put up with them anymore.
In many cases, recovery leads to much better relationships. In some cases, recovery leads to break ups. I’m just pointing this out so you know not to judge yourself. To be kind to yourself, and others, as you work out who “new you” or “not sick you” really is.
Accepting your unsuppressed body and accepting your unsuppressed personality. This is a huge part of finding your truth. And most of it requires that we move away from the perception of “healthy” and discover what our true version of healthy actually is.