I often wonder when I’ll be able to let go of core beliefs I’ve held for as long as I can remember. One constantly plagues me, and I’d love to kick it in the face one day and never look back.
In about four month’s time, it’ll be three years since I had my weight loss surgery. I’m still way down from my highest weight, yet I’m nowhere near my goal weight. I could provide a list of reasons why that is, with my eating disorder (ED) being the number one obstacle. I feel myself in a good place in my recovery, but I’ve had to hold a mirror to my face to realize I’ve slipped back into many disordered behaviors. I’ve been in this war. It’s a knock-down drag-out with ED. It is a war that long becomes tiresome, but one that I know I must take on each day. Some days, the fight is much easier than other days. This is where we come back to the core belief.
My strongest one is that I’m not enough. I’ve traced where this belief comes from, and it also seems to be a common one from others who have eating disorders. I remember it was something we discussed when I was in outpatient therapy. And it is undoubtedly a topic that my therapist and I talk about frequently.
The dance between “normal” and the eating disorder is a delicate weave. It is so hard to want to function “in a regular manner” when your mind becomes so mired in that record that wants to spin around and around:
You’ll never be enough
You’re not lovable
You’re not worthy of love
I’m fortunate to work from home while much of the city is shut down due to COVID19. I’m grateful that my company is doing what they can during this unprecedented time. However, having 24-hour-a-day access to my pantry and refrigerator has not been a perk. There are times when I don’t even realize how many times I’ve gotten up and put food in my mouth. It isn’t hunger that drives me, but almost a sense of doom. As if I need to eat up all the food before it is gone, yet struggle to complete a meal when I sit down and focus on consuming one. It’s a dance that I’m tired of stepping to the rhythm of.
With the support of my wonderful nutritionist, I’m working on getting back to fundamentals. I’m asking myself, “am I hungry?” Then I eat. “Am I full?” Then I stop. If there is food left, I immediately put it up or throw it away.
All of this may sound easy. I’m aware it rings like what this generation might term a “first world problem.” The challenge feels major in my mind because that core belief is right there on the edges ready to swoop in and tell me I’m not enough, or I’m not doing enough, or I’ll never be enough.
Almost a year ago, my amazing therapist gave me a wonderful gift. It was a silver bracelet with the words “I am enough” engraved on the inside. As I continue to work with my treatment team on ways to lower the volume on this belief, an inner need to find that bracelet drove me. I tore my room apart, searching for it. I felt close to possessed, especially when I couldn’t find it at first, but I wouldn’t be deterred until I secured it around my wrist. When she gave it to me, she said it was for those days when “you don’t believe it for yourself.”
I don’t believe it for myself. Not yet. But one day, I will. I truly believe that.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”