Finding The Silver Lining: Three Ways To Reframe The Process of Recovery
By Rebecca Clegg, LPC, CEDS-S
For reasons that are obvious to all of us, much of what we read about with regards to eating disorders is wrought full of scary statistics and frustrating truths about the diet culture we live in and the inequities inherent in the system. We hear and talk alot about the dark side of eating disorders, but for just a moment I want to shine a light on the silver lining of the process of recovery.
As we work with our clients, it is so important that we be the voice that not only speaks out against the eating disorder, but that we are the voice that speaks out in favor of recovery. Here are three ways in which I like to frame the recovery process to help my clients align with the process from a positive and uplifting perspective.
- By Choosing Recovery over the Eating Disorder, You Reclaim Your Self Worth:
In changing your relationship with food and your body image, you have to commit to the process. It will require you to be deliberate and engaged in choosing to think a different way –day after day after day.
In order to do this, you are required to unearth a long-forgotten truth: that you are inherently worthy of something good. Each time you choose recovery over your eating disorder, you are sending a message back to your soul. You are saying, “I value you; you matter to me; I’m willing to do this hard work for you.”
As they say, actions speak louder than words. Committing to your own recovery one day at a time is like saying “I love you” each and every day.
- The Recovery Process Connects Us To Our Soul
As a recovered professional, I openly speak to this from a first person perspective. My own recovery and the reclamation of my self-love and respect has been the single most valuable experience of my life. It has taught me about the true worth of a human being. It introduced me to my soul.
In fighting for my own recovery, I had no choice but to get intimate with my whole self, the shadow and the light, and embrace who I was at every moment along the journey. I had to stay with myself and learn to embrace my stumbling, my imperfection, my fear, and my pain. I had to learn how to love all the totally flawed aspects of my humanity.
Without this journey of recovery, I may never have done the deep work, asked the hard questions, and had the courage to stay still long enough to hear the answers.
Recovery was the very path that lead me home to myself.
- Recovery Allows You To Create a Balanced Relationship With Food Amidst a Toxic Diet Culture:
In recovery, you are choosing to create a balanced relationship with food. This is not just contrary to the eating disorder you are fighting, this is downright counter culture! Sadly, our cultural norm is to be on a restrictive diet.
Our culture’s obsession with food and body shape can be seen any television, magazine or billboard across the country. The cultural double bind that we are all exposed to is that, as a culture, we are obsessed with food, and yet we are told to be afraid of it all at once.
Very few people in our culture have a balanced relationship with food. I would never wish an eating disorder on anyone, however, I do often espouse that the silver lining to being recovered is that you are a small section of the population that is awakened to the harm inherent in our diet and weight loss obsessed culture. In choosing recovery, you get to experience food as joy, celebration, nurturing and sustenance. You are one of the lucky few that truly can live in balance with food, which is something our culture does not support.
With this knowledge, you can also go forth in the world as an ambassador of the truth, and if you do nothing more than commit to your own recovery, you are playing a role in healing the overall problem.
Rebecca Clegg, LPC, CEDS-S, is the founder of Authentic Living, a private practice specializing in the treatment of women in recovery from eating disorders & body image issues. Becca is also the Co-Clinical Director of Creative Health Initiatives (CHI), a group therapy program that provides outpatient groups, programs and workshops for women in recovery and business development consultation for therapists.
Becca is also a speaker, writer & teacher, educating families, clients and clinicians on the treatment of eating disorders and body image issues. She has been a contributing writer for The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), The International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals, NBC, Euro News, Recovery Warriors, and her own personal blog found at Rebeccaclegg.com. In 2017, she published Ending The Diet Mindset: Reclaim a Healthy and Balanced Relationship with Food and Body Image; and speaks nationally on the subject of dieting and diet culture, with the goal of empowering people to develop a balanced mindset with regards to the ways they view dieting, their bodies, and the culture we live in.
*The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders and not intended as endorsement by iaedp Foundation, Inc. or its Board of Directors.*