Recovery includes discomfort. Accept that. If it were that easy, no one would be in treatment or therapy for addiction, they would simply decide to recover and make it happen.
Along with the willingness to seek help, must come the ability to tolerate and endure discomfort and change. When you’re in recovery from an eating disorder and facing these challenging feelings, you’re doing that without the crutch you’ve come to rely on – excess food, restricting, over-exercising, or however else you’ve been numbing your feelings.
Meal times are an integral part of every day, not to mention a central focus on special celebrations. It’s a common topic of conversation and it can be excruciating when attention is drawn to what you are or are not eating.
I encourage and support clients to walk through these moments of discomfort, and to practice what is called “radical acceptance.” There will be plenty of things in life we may not like or choose, including other people’s words and actions. Accepting these doesn’t mean we approve or become a doormat for other people to walk all over. Radical acceptance means we can let things be, and still stand up for ourselves by choosing our own reactions and actions.
Standing up for yourself – speaking your truth with kindness and compassion – can be the most uncomfortable feeling of all, yet with practice it becomes easier. It’s the same as adapting to a new way of eating and wearing new clothes as your body size changes. It feels new and different and unknown, but over time it becomes your new version of normal – at least until you progress to the next level of change in your life.
Moving through life and feeling your feelings, without picking up anything to numb yourself, is uncomfortable. And on the other side of that discomfort is always growth and evolution, along with new information you can use to become the person you want to be, and have the life you want to live.