Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Excerpt from Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder: Reclaim Yourself, Regain Your Health, Recover For Good by Johanna S Kandel

Lighten Your Load

Imagine yourself standing at the base of a big, tall mountain and looking up. If someone told you to climb straight up to the top of that mountain without the aid of ropes, harnesses, grips, or proper climbing shoes, how would you feel? Overwhelmed? Wouldn’t you feel that you were being asked to do the impossible? If so, you’d be right. But if you were told you could get to the top by walking in a spiral around the mountain at a much less steep angle of ascent, that there would be maps, rest stops, guides, and water stations along the way, that you might slip backwards from time to time but there would always be someone to catch and support you, you’d probably feel a lot better about starting the climb. It might be a longer journey, but you’d know that the summit was ultimately within your reach and that you could get there.

As you begin your climb up Recovery Mountain, lightening your load will make it a lot easier. Those of us with eating disorders o share a tendency to take on too many burdens. It’s as if we were going through life carrying a backpack full of really heavy bricks, and, trust me, that makes it awfully difficult to keep on moving forward. (Some people in recovery have even said that it can feel as if they’re lugging an entire U-Haul truck behind them.) Some of the bricks—such as avoidance, fear of confrontation, self-loathing, people-pleasing, perfectionism, to name a few—are of our own making. But they weren’t not created in a day. Sometimes we buy into being what we think we are supposed to be (like a people pleaser). And sometimes, even though we may be aware that it’s not in our best interest, we volunteer to carry other people’s bricks without ever being asked. If someone else is having a bad day, do you tend to think it’s your fault? If there is strife in your family, do you believe it’s your job to keep the peace? Are you constantly trying to live up to someone else’s expectations?

As you travel the path to recovery, take some time to take an inventory of what you’re carrying in your backpack. Which of those bricks truly belong to you and which belong to someone else? Some of those we tend to take on for others are:

  • Our parents’ relationship with each other
  • Maintaining peace in our family
  • Being responsible for other people’s actions, destructive behaviors, and feelings

When you’re ready, one by one, start to chip away at those bricks and return the ones that don’t belong to you to their rightful owners, or just throw them away. Give yourself permission to walk away from the unnecessary burdens you have now unloaded. They are no longer your burdens to carry. As you do this, your own load will become a lot lighter and you’ll make the ascent a lot easier, and you will also be making room to accept support and take on behaviors that empower and support your own health and wellness.

© Life Beyond Your Eating Disorders, Johanna S. Kandel, Harlequin September 2010

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Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder: Reclaim Yourself, Regain Your Health, Recover for Good

@ Johanna S. Kandel

There is life beyond your eating disorder—and you deserve to enjoy every minute of it. Johanna S. Kandel, founder and executive director of The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, struggled with her eating disorder for ten years before finally getting help. Now fully recovered, Kandel knows firsthand how difficult the healing process can be. Through her work with The Alliance—leading support groups, speaking nationwide and collaborating with professionals in the field—she's developed a set of practical tools to address the everyday challenges of recovery.
Complete with inspiring true stories from others who have won their personal battles with eating disorders, this book provides the help you need to break free from your eating disorder and discover how wonderful life really can be.

Purchase here: Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder: Reclaim Yourself, Regain Your Health, Recover for Good

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