So many times I've tried approaching recovery, approaching "normal," and been stopped when I think, "Wait, what is normal? Nobody's normal...so what the hell am I trying to do?" Especially today, when we walk through a normal grocery store to find magazines with titles like "Seven Evil Foods You Need to Know About" on their covers, and articles teaching normal people how to sneak in calisthenics at their work desk and as many times throughout the day as possible so that they can look good naked with their normal boyfriend.

Comparitively speaking, recovery is a state of normality, but the mistake so many of us make is in our definition of "normal."

"Normal" should not be thought of as a synonym for "average" in the U.S. today, when girls start dieting in second grade and don't stop until they're in a wheelchair being fed by a nurse. You can't justify your disordered eating by comparing it to all of your friends (or celebrities or magazines) - they're not normal either.

Normal does not mean "totally carefree and unconcerned" about eating behaviors. We're not striving, in recovery, to forget about eating concerns alltogether. That's impossible; you can't erase the memories and habits you developed through four years of high school, so why would you expect to erase those developed through four years of an eating disorder? You have to expect and be prepared to deal with urges to behave in a disordered manner for a long time after you decide to recover; try not to be discouraged - you're striving to be healthy, not to forget about eating alltogether.

Your 'normal' is not going to be the same as everybody's 'normal.' Forgetting or missing meals may be nothing to some people while it will be a disaster for you when you're coming out of an eating disorder. While they'll make it up later stress-free, you'll dwell on it and anxiety will affect how you make up or don't make up the meal. Do what you've got to do to stay well, if it means sitting down at specific times each day to focus on a healthy meal, do it. If it means waking up ten minutes early to fit in a bowl of cereal, or moving a dinner date back an hour, is there any reason not to? ...You're probably better off putting effort into your eating habits than those who don't think about their nutrition at all.

mmm...that's all for now.


back to recovery
home