Sunday, October 25, 2009

what does recovery mean to you?

last week, i performed size ate at Dominican College in Orangeburg, NY. after the show, a young woman came up to me and after a few initial pleasantries, asked, "so... there is no clinical definition of recovery out there. what does recovery mean to you?"


good question.

of course, my recovery is all i can discuss because the path to recovery is varied and many, and my recovery is the only recovery i'm an expert on (and even that is debatable on certain days).

what does my recovery look like? 

not scheduling my meals, but eating intuitively, like a toddler. when i'm hungry and with passion, enjoyment and curiosity. sitting down to a meal, ordering and enjoying(!) whatever my body wants and needs - a cheeseburger with bacon and fries, or brown rice with chickpeas and broccoli raab, or a 2nd piece of birthday cake - eating until i'm full, then stopping because satiated, not stuffed. all of this happening without too much handwringing or having to give it too much thought. then coming back and doing it again when my belly starts to gently rumble.

exercising when my body and mind craves movement - enjoyful movement - not because i am trying to tone or lose or tighten. not scheduling 5 daily workouts/week because the exercise magazine says so. moving because it brings me joy and because it helps me live my life with less anxiety and fewer migraines.

knowing how to recognize the self-destructive thoughts as just that, thoughts, not instructions. not truth, just thoughts. thoughts that i have the choice to listen to or not. then, when these thoughts beckon, knowing how to take care of myself, mother myself. metaphorically, letting that little girl throw her temper tantrum, or picking up that scared little lonely girl into my arms and letting her cry and shushing her to sleep with kind words, a warm bath and hot tea.

that's pretty much it.

simply put, recovery for me, is freedom. freedom to eat, to move and to feel whatever it is i need and want and not being bound by what others tell me how i should eat, how i should move, how i should feel.

in my case, recovery has yielded me a life populated by coulds as opposed to shoulds.

what does your recovery mean to you? struggling? if you could ask a Genie to grant you recovery, what would it look like to you? no limits.


NewMe said...

Thank you. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Throwing away the diet mentality, listening to my body, my hunger, my satiety, my food preferences has been one of the most liberating experiences of my life.

It's an on-going process, but I am so thankful to have found this road.

Amy said...

You just took the thoughts right out of my head.

I think recovery for me means eating when I'm hungry, and not punishing myself or berating myself for going over my calorie limits. Listening to my body and knowing when I've had enough, but also knowing when I'm hungry and not just bored.

I guess, bottom line is just not having to think (obsess) about all of this all of the time.

"Julia" said...

I know I took the steps to initiate my recovery. I'm glad I did, but I'm furious with myself for doing so.
At this point, recovery still seems very foreign and very distant to me.
I like your definition. I hope I can get there someday.

justjuliebean said...

I'm mostly where you are, though I'm maybe a bit too cognizant of the weight effects of all I do. I am comfortable with what I am doing, and I hope that I can stay with it, and not let stress or other stuff throw me into unhealthier ways.

Villamor family said...

great post....recovery for me is the freedom to live. to not wake up in the morning and hate myself for what i ate the night before. to not even remember what i ate at my last meal and to enjoy food without guilt. i still have moments where i slip back but they are just moments now and not episodes.

Shae Adele said...

Recovery, to me, means not weighing myself everyday. If I am recovered I won't shut down if I gain weight, and I won't punish myself (meaning, try to do better) if I loose weight. Weight will be natural in recovery.

Recovery is the freedom to live, happy and healthy, as every other 16 year old can. It means finally reaching normality.

Suffering? Well that's easy. It's the day to day struggle that I face: Can I eat this? Do they think I'm fat? I ate too much...
It's when I can't make it through a day because I've gained 1.3 pounds.

Thank you for your thoughts :)
They are so encouraging.

Patty said...

What does recovery mean to me? I've never really thought about it actually. Thanks for posting, it really made me think.

Cindy said...

For me, recovery means renewal.

Sia Jane said...

Brilliant :)