Recovery is Not a Destination


"It just ain't possible to explain some things. It's interesting to wonder on them and do some speculation, but the main thing is you have to accept it-take it for what it is, and get on with your growing." ~ Jim Dodge, American writer, actor

Each moment in time we have it all, even when we think we don't.
~ Melody Beattie, American author, journalist

Recovery from eating and weight issues is not a destination. It is not a place where you arrive one day and finally “get it.” Or get to that number and everything is perfect. If you see your healing as a destination, not only will you be disappointed, but you will also miss your recovery.

Recovery is also not a linear process. In other words, you do not decide one day to change your eating behaviors and each day get a little better until--voila!--you are at your goal.

Recovery from eating and weight struggles actually looks more like a spiral. You are ever moving upward and forward. You will constantly be circling around and finding yourself facing an issue you thought you had resolved a week ago, or a year ago. Look closely. You will find you are approaching this issue from a slightly different perspective. This new perspective is due to your growth and the work you have put into healing eating and weight struggles.

It is easy to become discouraged when you think you should be beyond the issue. However, if you understand that growth occurs when you can look at an old issue from a new perspective, you will more easily come to appreciate the small shifts as part of your journey. Pay close attention to what you say to yourself about where you are. And credit yourself with each moment that you steer clear of old all-or-nothing thinking and behaviors. These moments are the recovery process. Recognize these moments, and know that you are moving forward.

When you feel stuck, take five minutes and write without stopping, all the positive things you have done to care for yourself over the past week (for example, scheduled the medical appointment you’ve been putting off, took a 15-minute break on a busy day, said no to an additional volunteer activity, went to bed on time, etc.). Include positive things that occurred in the realm of food and body—no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential (for example, stopped eating a favorite food when full, kept Hunger Scale Journals, was assertive when a family member tried to push second helpings).

Allow yourself to notice, internally, the shift inside as you notice these positive things you've done. You might notice an upwards energy in your body, or an expanse or warmth in your upper torso or around your heart. Notice these sensations, because when you do, within 10 seconds, you are building new neural pathways to support feeling more positively in your life!

Consider sharing these positive experiences with an understanding loved one, friend or therapist. Say them out loud and again notice the sensations that follow.

As you go through life, notice and appreciate the small shifts in your recovery and know that you are moving forward.

About Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, LDN, SEP

Karin can help you escape food and body angst and learn to manage your eating and weight naturally. Visit www.EatingWisdom.com for free handouts, online courses and more tips on mindful, intuitive eating and healing disordered eating.

© 2014 Karin Kratina. Adapted from the work of Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, LDN and Amy Tuttle, RD, LCSW