Something that anyone recovering from an eating disorder will encounter is the feeling of guilt. Despite being the healthiest, both physically & mentally, I’ve been in a long time, I still struggle with this at times. The feeling can creep out of nowhere. I’ve had weeks where I’ve felt confident and care-free in terms of food, but then all of a sudden it’ll all come crashing down. It can be disheartening – you’re making leaps & bounds in recovery but then you’re reminded that you still have work to do.
For me, the best way to deal with this feeling is to just accept it as it is. Allow yourself to feel it, but acknowledge that it is most likely an irrational guilt you are feeling. In my experience, I can feel guilty after eating even if my body was telling me I was hungry prior to this. All I have done is listen to my body and its hunger cues. An extra snack isn’t going to make me put on any weight.
I also always take each day as it comes. This may not work for everyone, but throughout my whole recovery process I’ve learned to just look at each day as a chance to start over. I don’t get hung up on what I ate yesterday nor what I will eat tomorrow. All that matters is the here and now and that I am giving my body the energy that it needs at that moment in time.
Going back to the irrationality of it, I hold my hands up and admit that when I feel guilty I am prone to falling back ino the habit of calculating the calories, fat, sugar etc. that I have consumed that day. And guess what? It’s never as much as I think it is. I’m then left with this disappointment that I’ve fallen back onto the calculating for reassurance. If you also find yourself doing this, please delete the calorie counting app you are using straight away. Don’t leave it lingering on your phone or iPod otherwise you’ll be tempted to start using it religiously again. It’s okay to trip up every so often. Recovery isn’t a straight forward journey and there will be days that are harder than others, but it’s important that you do not fall back completely onto old habits.
So, next time you feel guilty for eating that extra packet of crisps or that extra piece of fruit, just take a deep breath and remember that tomorrow is a new day. Things are always more clear after a good nights sleep and if you’re far into recovery then I do not doubt that you have already acknowledged this yourself.