Re: "Ed" Said...
Breaking the cycle is not easy, but it can be done. In the beginning, every time you don't restrict or don't purge or don't exercise, you feel immense, immense guilt, but if you want to recover, you have to live through the guilt and anxiety and bad feelings without caving in to the ED. For me, it was time that basically helped--time and crazy as it sounds, gaining a little weight. I think when my body was so malnourished, my thinking and brain just weren't working right; plus, I was getting next to no sleep thanks to the ED induced insomnia. It didn't feel good those first months of recovery. Once I stopped restricting, exercising (at all), stopped purging the first thing I noticed was severe, SEVERE exhaustion. I just slept and slept. I had to take naps every day, sometimes more than once a day. It's like finally the damage I had been doing to my body caught up with me. I was completely exhausted while in the throes of the ED, don't get me wrong, but it was only after I stopped the behavior that the extent of the full damage and exhaustion came over me. In some ways, it was a blessing because I was just too tired to exercise any more.
Now, when you gain weight initially, it is scary because there is a lot of bloating that comes on with it and the gain isn't even and sometimes it seems rapid and uncontrollable. However, it's important to remember, the gaining won't last forever. Once you get to a set point weight for your body, it stops (for me this was the middle of the normal range for my height and frame size). Then, after about 6 months to a year without any ED behavior and when I could start a little exercise again (just easy walking, not my draining ED workouts), my weight seemed to settle better, I got muscle tone and it went to the low of normal for my height, where it pretty much has stayed for several years except now that I'm pregnant I'm gaining a little, but that's to be expected. I have never counted calories or restricted again and my exercise routine was normal just to maintain fitness and not draining and tiring and never every day for months on end. I have rest days every week.
Overcoming an ED gives you a huge sense of accomplishment and a boost of self-esteem. I think it was the most difficult thing I have done in my life.
The unknown is scary, but dying from the ED is even scarier. It's not an easy, quick death. It's slow and painful and you are living feeling miserable and depressed the entire time. No one is happy living with an ED.