How Eating Disorder Recovery Can Be a New Beginning How can eating disorder recovery be a new beginning? Perhaps the more accurate question would be...how can it not be? This sentence rings true now, after finding support, tools, and a community that counters the chatter in my own mind that was led by ED - the name I coined my Eating Disorder. The new beginning I gained in recovery helps me realize some of the ways I was thinking about my body. Perfectionism and competition were keeping me from living my most authentic self. I spent hours, days, weeks, months, and years consumed by the pendulum of my disordered eating behaviors. I started to become aware that my initial eating disorder recovery steps needed to include asking for help. The next steps began to unfold, like recognizing that ED was only one small part of me. However, it was the part that was gaining too much of a voice. I was tired of listening to ED, the unrealistic and unkind voice in my own mind that told me, for example, what I could or couldn’t eat, how much food I was allowed to consume, and how long I needed to exercise for. I started to accumulate recovery steps, one after the other, that helped me to develop a different, more balanced relationship with my whole body, mind, and spirit. Once I started on the road to recovery, I continued to come back to the mantra: “eating disorder recovery can be a new beginning.” I would repeat that phrase every time ED tried to tell me something opposite, to sway me to believe something different. The other parts of me started to take center stage - the parts that ED had suppressed. I knew there were gifts waiting for me, things I would learn about non-judgment, perfectionism, body shame, and compassion. Insights about myself and the world around me were mine to have. I didn’t know how initially to break the rhythm, but I was ready for a new beginning, for recovery. I just didn’t know how to go about it. I pondered questions like: 1. How do I find an eating disorder recovery center? 2. What would the eating disorder recovery steps be? 3. What would my eating disorder recovery goals be? At Body Positive Works (BoPo) an eating disorder recovery center in Bergen County, NJ, with the support of a dietitian, a therapist, yoga classes, and a strong supportive community, I was able to discuss eating disorder recovery steps and outline my recovery goals: 1. To return to an intuitive way of eating 2. To learn that my body was unique - a gift - that would take me on all of the adventures of my life 3. To stop comparing myself to others, and to only compare myself to...myself! 4. To tackle my long-standing negative relationship with perfectionism 5. To express myself and my emotions to my support system 6. To take quiet reflective time for myself - through yoga and meditation 7. To journal 8. To accept food as fuel and fun, and to enjoy it 9. To play more often 10. To set realistic goals for myself 11. To take time to be in nature I recognize that the road to recovery is not linear. It has taken twists and turns, but today I am feeling connected to myself and to a strong supportive community. I know that there is no room in my life for judgment and unrealistic expectations. I understand that sharing my feelings...all of them...the “easy” and the “challenging ones” offer me a full expression of life. I realize that I am not alone and that recovery centers like Body Positive Works (BoPo) exist. It’s a place where I can be myself, express myself, feel good about myself, and feel supported. I’m glad I picked up the phone one day and reached out to them. I’ll give you their number here...perhaps they can support you too… 201-708-8448.