The Eating and Exercise Disorder Demons That Stick Around

I’ve said it many times before on the blog, but I’ll say it again: honesty is the best policy.

I am blessed to be able to say that it is 100% true that I have recovered tremendously from my eating disorder. Despite my recovery, I would be lying if I said that I am never tempted by disordered thoughts. Some days, the temptation to fall into disordered behaviors is stronger than others.

Especially during this time of year when everyone is getting ready to show more skin in the hotter months, I find myself turning inwards and focusing too much on my diet and exercise. Today I want to share that I do struggle with little “demons” that tell me to act against what I know is good for my body. Recovery does not mean immunization from old habits. However, recovery does mean that you are in a healthy mindset, you’re doing your best and recognizing where you can continue to grow.

  • One day when there was no more skim milk in the dining hall, I consciously chose not to get 2% and got soy milk instead. I ended up kicking myself for it because a) my choice was driven by thoughts of fat and calories; b) soy milk doesn’t wash down peanut butter as well as cow’s milk.

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  • Sometimes I get a little anxious and slightly crabby if I don’t work out when I’d like to.
  • 99% of the time, I love having a salad with my meal, but sometimes I will add a salad to my meal, even if I don’t want it and I know I’ve had plenty of vegetables during the day. Just because I “should” have a salad.

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I do love my salads, but sometimes it’s just too. much. fiber.

  • Sometimes I still think about timing my meals.
  • Sometimes I look in the mirror and compare myself to other girls.
  • Sometimes I’m still afraid of eating too many carbs.

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but then you bite into a meal like this and feel VERY thankful for carbs

  • Sometimes I waste my time thinking about what will be the “most effective” workout, instead of just moving and grooving depending on how I feel.
  • Sometimes I feel the need to “clean up my eats for a while” after indulging (it never happens, but the temptation is still there).

Indeed, these things go on in my brain occasionally. They are usually without effect, but sometimes they do affect my actions and self-image. The point is that, even in recovery, these thoughts exist, and that‘s okay. Just as with any temptation in our lives, we sometimes fall, but the temptations do not need to dictate our actions. Know that you are able to transcend those temptations, no matter how long they seem to stick with you.

Phew. Sorry for the heavier post on a Monday. I was feeling a heart-to-heart today. Nevertheless, I hope you all have a joyful day! You are my rays of sunshine on a cloudy day like today!

So tell me:

If you have a past with disordered eating habits, do you sometimes find yourself tempted to fall into old habits? 


27 thoughts on “The Eating and Exercise Disorder Demons That Stick Around

  1. Thank you for opening up and being raw about your life after ED. I’m still in the midst of recovery, and you are definitely right when you say there are good days and bad. What I admire most is that you don’t give in to those disordered thoughts. I am so proud of how far you have come, Alison!

  2. I think it’s awesome that you’ve chosen to be so honest about some of these lingering thoughts. I agree that it’s difficult to completely smash these thoughts even if you’re not someone who struggled with an eating disorder. I truthfully think it just comes with the territory of being a woman in our society. That said, it’s definitely easier for those thoughts to trickle in when you’ve struggled in the past and I’m ALL TOO FAMILIAR with this. I didn’t struggle with my eating disorder throughout my pregnancy but it’s definitely come back now that I’m trying to tone the post-baby bod. I know it’s vain but I want to feel comfortable with my body. I think this is okay but the mindset of how to get there, isn’t. We’re all a work in progress and I think imperfect progress is the best we can do sometimes. 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing lingering thoughts Alison. I definitely do struggle with several of these things off and on, and I have to consciously pray that God would help me to put off these old bad habits that only serve to drag me down.

  4. You’re gem you know that. It can be tough admitting to oneself even that its not always supremely smooth sailing…and heck yes, that is okay. I consider myself as having quite smashed that ED down too; I’m immensely proud of how far I’ve come and how happy I am to be me in my body. But yeah there are *those* moments where I overthink and second-guess descisions surrounding excercise and food. Besides getting fewer and further between; the difference now? I know enough and trust myself sufficiently to get back in line without danger – mentally or physically. Much love Ali 🙂 !

  5. I’ve never had truly “disordered” habits, but I have gone through phases where I’ve certainly put in a lot of thought about what i “should or shouldn’t eat”. I don’t think you ever truly get over these things, but the goal is always progress!

  6. And this Is why I love you. Thank you for keeping it real. And honesty. And not sugar coating things. What’s great is you are able to recognize that stinkin thinkin (cheeeeeeesealicious🙈😂) and move on and make healthy decisions. You’ve come such a long way and your strength inspires every single day. Thank you

  7. Yes – 100%. But I’m thankful that I can notice it now and change those thoughts on a dime (most of the time). And if I can’t, that’s okay as well. It is hard to recover from disordered eating, especially if you find yourself around people that obsess about it, or make comments that can sometimes retrigger those thoughts. I had similar thoughts this weekend about trying to clean up and time my meals better…but then I realized it was better to honor what my body was craving and when. Makes sense, right? And thank you for sharing your beautiful those. Ps, salads are sometimes UGH; too much fiber is right.

  8. I, and I know many others LOVE and appreciate your honesty so very much. I was just commenting on Sam’s blog about something similar today. Even though I have a fairly healthy body image, there are days when I find myself poking at things that “jiggle” or feeling self conscious when I compare myself to other girls.It happens, but it doesn’t derail me or make me do things that are unhealthy.

  9. Even this far into my own recovery, there are definitely still days where I struggle with feelings like this, so I can very much relate. I find they pop up the most when I’m feeling overly stressed or tired, so I think they’re just a way for me to cope with anxiety… kind of like what I suspect my ED was all about. It’s awesome that you’re aware of them and still committed to sticking to a healthier path, though 🙂

  10. Al pal.

    Your honesty is refreshing and it’s honestly expected- No one, even those who’ve never had disordered thoughts before, ever go through periods of NOT second guessing themselves. It’s human nature. You, however, have shown your progress by acknowledging it. That shows the greater success.

  11. You’re so open and honest in your posts! I think that’s definitely a good indicator, because you’re working through things and sharing about them instead of hiding them or being closed off about them 🙂 You’re wonderful!

  12. Alison, as always, you are a ray of light in this dark world. Your honesty is brave and the transparency with which you write is a breath of fresh air. Being self aware will you get you so far in this recovery- I know first hand that I am the only person that can make my recovery firm and strong. You are showing true strength by being aware of the small hiccups. You have the greatest future ahead of you my sweet dear. ❤

  13. So much respect for you for sharing these thoughts, girl. It takes such a strong person to put those vulnerable things out there and admit that they do happen. I definitely still have disordered thoughts, but I’m much better at recognizing them and taking them down because I know I can defeat them. It will sometimes be a hard line to tell the difference between being healthy or being disordered, but we can all get through it.

    ❤ you so, so much. I'm so grateful to be a part of your life and to have your presence brighten my days.

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  15. I love the honesty of this post and I can completely relate to the disordered thoughts that still tempt us in recovery, and even when we are fully recovered or close to it. Thanks so much for being real and candid about the struggles!

  16. this is so so refreshing to read, and i can’t thank u enough for the honesty and realness of this post. i have these thoughts so many times, except now I’m able to fight them a little better. I’m only 3 months into my recovery, but heck i feel like a completely different person from before. thank you so so much for writing this<3

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