As we are fully in fall, I reflect on what I need to let go of, as if I were a maple tree turning orange and red and dropping its dead leaves.I struggle with a severe eating disorder, and this season reminds me that I need to let go of my need for control in my disorder.
I wish letting go was as easy as writing the words “binge,” “purge,” and “restrict” on autumn leaves, tossing them in a river, and watching them float away. Unfortunately it takes a lot more effort to let go of such deeply-entrenched patterns.
Letting go of control looks different for everyone. For me, it means throwing out the scale, ordering a frappuccino instead of choosing black coffee, and covering my mirrors with artwork so that I look at beautiful sunsets and joyful dogs rather than my body. For me, letting go means getting the nutrition that I need so that I have the energy to ride on the back of a motorcycle, climb up to an Appalachian Mountain peak, socialize with family, walk my adorable service dog, and get back on my cross-country skis.
The life I want sounds so blissful. All I need to manifest that life is more nutrition… but that brings fear. Fear creates panic, and that’s when I deny myself the complete nutrition my body needs.
Every day is a fight to feed this body. Some days, I just want to throw in the towel because I spent so long restricting, binging, and purging. On those days, I forget to reach out for support. I forget that there is a beautiful life waiting for me on the other side of my eating disorder.
How will you let go and make positive changes in your life? You might choose to notice negative thoughts and replace them with neutral ones. You might drink one fewer cup of coffee per day . Maybe letting go involves posting positive affirmations on your wall to interrupt body-checking or quitting a bad habit. Letting go could even involve clearing your schedule so that you can be fully present with others.
Since getting back on the recovery band wagon, I have been able to spend more time being present with my loved ones. I usually obsess over weight and calories, and that takes my focus off the person I’m hanging out with, and back onto me and my behaviors. As I let go of the need to control my body, I’ve made room for new experiences in my life – even a new love!
Your steps towards letting go don’t have to be big or life-changing to make a difference. Simple things can ward off negative thoughts and urges and keep you working towards your goals. Once you identify what you want to work on, letting go can help you be in charge of your life.