By: Gabrielle Morreale M.A. LPC. C-DBT.
Progress over perfection! It’s a phrase we say when it comes to many things, especially in recovery! Now don’t get us wrong we wholeheartedly stand by this statement. Any steps you are taking toward recovery are amazing! Eating disorder therapy is a long, hard road full of twists and turns so whatever it takes we believe in you!
This saying, however, got us thinking about what else should be over perfection. Well …everything really, perfection is not possible but an illusion our mind creates. I can’t tell you how often I hear or even think to myself I’ll be happy when… why not work towards being happy now? We often get perfection and happiness confused thanks to our messy capitalist culture but any who! For some people happiness may not be possible, happiness is subjective and not the end all be all either. Sometimes surviving is the best we can do and that’s MORE than okay! Sometimes just breathing is all we can do and if you’re there please know we are sending so much compassion to you and whatever you may be going through. No matter where you are in your life’s journey you do deserve happiness. Pause and read that again, maybe even say it out loud!
In this blog, I’m hoping to talk about the concept of happiness and perfectionism in regard to our bodies. As a recovering perfectionist and anorexic, I can promise you, that you are allowed to show up just as you are! You do not need to miss out on life due to your body! Your body does not need to be perfect to be worthy! Your body does not need to be perfect so you can live your life. There is no perfect body it is a façade. It’s a concept our culture has created and it’s only hurting you and your recovery!!
What I realized in my ED Recovery
One thing I know that was difficult for me to grasp when I was struggling was that changing my body would not change my life…not really anyway! I still deserved to show up just as I was and today, I get the privilege to show up just as I am. Also, before continuing I want to acknowledge that I have body privilege as a straight-sized, white, abled-body, cisgender female. Also please know ultimately you have autonomy over your body even in recovery. At Recovered and Restored you are the expert on you and your body. This topic has just been on my heart so I wanted to speak to it in this blog.
Changing your body will not make you truly happy. Your body and life are not better or smaller, you deserve to take up space! Maybe for a few moments or even temporarily could a body change provide relief or satisfaction sure, but not true happiness. It may provide a sense of control or belonging which speaks more to the distortion of our culture. You suck diet culture! It may continue to aid in our own fat biases which we need to challenge anyway, but weight loss or changing your body will not provide true happiness. Also, each time we give in to the desire to change our body it just reinforces to our brain all the negative messages we see and it fuels our disorders.
All that said you do not need to change your body to live your life your body deserves to experience good things no matter how it appears.
Being that I have recovered I know that you can logically know these things but the distress it can bring to attend an event or see an old friend or do something that may bring joy can be, so here are just a few short tips that help me still to this day and that I share with clients.
Tip 1: Check in with yourself, are you using your body as a scapegoat?
Is it just an excuse not to go out, are we really feeling poorly about our bodies and that’s our “reason” not to engage? You are allowed to pass or say no to whatever feels right for you. No is a complete sentence as they say. If you find that you do want to participate but find your appearance is holding you back, aka using your body as the scapegoat, I encourage you to feel that fear and go anyway. The longer we avoid things because of our body the harder it may become to engage in things we love. Your eating disorder wants you to isolate. Don’t listen to it.
Tip 2: Speak to your body tenderly.
Your body is your home. It is with you through everything. It shows up for you and it keeps you alive. What if we tried the next time we were feeling stressed about our bodies whether it’s a bad body image day or when we are having thoughts about deserving to show up as we are, what if you tried some body affirmations? Some examples could be… my body is inherently good, my appearance does not matter I am valuable, no matter what, or my favorite one people love me for me I am enough. I acknowledge these will not make the sticky, thoughts the hard thoughts the negative thoughts go away, but maybe just for a moment, they will bring you some peace. Also, if nothing else it will help your brain begin to think differently about how you see your body. Our brains love repetition, try repeating the statements or statements like this even if you don’t believe them it’s okay for a long time, I would’ve said reading this that I was full of shit. However, I can promise you over time. It gets easier it really does.
Final Thoughts from an NJ Eating Disorder Therapist
Again, I acknowledge that these tips are not one size fits all, and I speak from a privileged position. I hope that if nothing else by reading this you take away that your body is good you deserve to show up, just as you are, progress over perfection is always great, and that perfection is BS and you are beyond worthy of happiness!
Other Mental Health Services Offered in PA, NJ, DE, SC, and FL
We offer a wide variety of services related to eating disorder recovery including trauma therapy! We offer Weekly Support Groups, Nutrition Services, and Family and Parent Therapy as well as Coaching, all tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual. We offer our services for Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, and Orthorexia online in New Jersey, Delaware, South Carolina, and Florida! We are here to offer our support and understanding in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
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Recovered and Restored is an eating disorder therapy center founded by Gabrielle Morreale. We specialize in helping teens and young women heal from eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, and binge eating disorder and treat disordered eating, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. We provide eating disorder therapy in the towns of Horsham, Upper Gwynedd, Lower Gwynedd, North Wales, Lansdale, Hatfield, Blue Bell, Doylestown, and nearby towns with eating disorder therapy. Also providing virtual eating disorder therapy in New Jersey, Delaware, and Florida. Some towns served virtually but are not limited to Pittsburg, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Center City, Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Mount Laurel, Cape May, Avalon, Brick, Dover, New Castle, Bethany Beach, Marydel, and Oceanview