Performative Recovery

To perform means to entertain an audience.

Actors perform when they dress in costume and play the role of a character.

Singers perform when they stand on stage and belt the lines to a song.

Athletes perform when they practice their sport.

A performer is anyone who performs for others to see.

Unfortunately, many people approach recovery like it’s a performance. They put on a show to entertain their audience (friends and family members). They want to be applauded and patted on the back for eating.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting or needing encouragement. It feels good when your hard work is noticed. But it becomes a problem when your recovery turns into people-pleasing.

Imagine this scenario: you’ve had a long day. You’re tired and hungry. You get home and immediately notice a plate of food on the counter. That looks delicious, you think to yourself. But you don’t eat it. Instead, you opt for something “safer.” After all, no one is home to notice whether you challenge yourself or not. And you’re convinced that it’s only worthwhile to eat something scary when other people are there to sing your praises. This is performative recovery.

Performative recovery masks an eating disorder. It isn’t real recovery. You perform when the spotlight is on you, then go back into hiding as soon as the show is over.

Your recovery might be performative if you eat one way around certain people and another way when you’re all alone. Or if you can’t stand the thought of challenging yourself without telling anyone.

I used to go out of my way to tell someone that I was having a snack, as if they cared. But I wanted them to know. They needed to know. They needed to know because they needed to think I was normal. And normal people have snacks. By that definition, I was perfectly normal, thank you very much.

Frankly, I still catch myself talking about food when it’s not appropriate. For example, when someone asks what I’m doing, they aren’t asking about what I’ve just eaten. That information is unnecessary. But sometimes I give it out anyway. Maybe it’s habitual. Or maybe it’s my people-pleasing nature shining through. Either way, it’s something I need to address.

It’s very important to guard against performative recovery. After all, your recovery is ultimately a matter between you and God. Performance-based recovery will not stand. It will crumble in the end.

If this is a struggle for you (as it has been/is for me), address the issue by eating alone. It shouldn’t be sneaky or secretive, but challenge yourself in private. Eat something scary, then tell no one. Repeat again.

Lastly, remember the importance of accountability. Don’t neglect eating with other people. You need it just as much as you need to practice eating alone.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

– Taylor

Exciting News!

Happy Friday, friends! It’s been a while. To be honest, I haven’t given my blog much thought or attention lately, for a couple reasons.

The first is that I’ve been busy. Between work, school, and maintaining a social life, it isn’t easy to squeeze blogging into my schedule. I’m hoping that will change soon. But I make no promises.

The second reason I’ve been MIA is that I’ve been working on another writing project. And I’m so excited to announce that it’s finished! Last month, I published a book, Taste and See: A Guide to Eating Disorder Recovery! It’s written directly to those who struggle with food, as I have. But its core message holds true for everyone, since mankind’s greatest need is Jesus Christ.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, and this book was no exception. It challenged me in many different ways, both big and small. I learned a lot about myself, the human body, and how God, in His sovereignty, uses less-than-ideal circumstances to accomplish His plan.

Taste and See is a resource I wish I had had while I was navigating recovery. It addresses important topics like neural rewiring, nutritional rehabilitation, and family-based treatment.

If you’re interested in having your own copy, Taste and See is available for purchase on Amazon! I’ll provide a link below for easy access.

https://www.amazon.com/Taste-See-Eating-Disorder-Recovery/dp/B08YMC838T/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=taste+and+see+a+guide+to+eating+disorder+recovery&qid=1618627266&sprefix=taste+and+see+a+&sr=8-1

– Taylor

Thanksgiving Day Guide

Thanksgiving is a week away. I’m already looking forward to having a slow, relaxing day at home with my family. But I know not everyone feels the same way. For those with eating disorders, the holiday season is a time of guilt, anxiety, and high stress levels. So I’ve created a guide to help you through this week of Thanksgiving festivities.

Talk to an adult or family member about how you’re feeling. Let someone know upfront that this is a difficult time for you. Ask them for accountability. Be specific about the kinds of thoughts you’re having. Getting it all out into the open allows other people to speak truth to your thoughts.

Don’t restrict leading up to Thanksgiving Day. In fact, eat more than usual. Practice eating big portions so that Thanksgiving dinner will be a breeze. Commit to a minimum of 3 meals and 3 snacks everyday before and after Thanksgiving.

Let someone else fix your plate at the Thanksgiving meal. Eating disorders love control. Therefore, put yourself in a position where food is out of your control. Then commit to eating everything on your plate, even if you “don’t like it.” Chances are, that’s just an excuse to eat less. Starving people aren’t picky about what they like and dislike.

Stop thinking about food. The more you think about food, the more your brain will fear it. So actively reroute your thoughts to focus on something else. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

I should also mention that thinking about food is a sign of hunger. Therefore, you must honor that hunger by stuffing your mouth with food. Mental hunger cues don’t go away on their own. You have to eat your way out of them. So continue eating, but don’t entertain disordered thoughts about food.

Keep nourishing yourself, even after Thanksgiving Day. I have no doubt that you’ll be tempted to restrict following Thanksgiving dinner. But you aren’t going to give in because that would mean that the eating disorder gets the upper hand. You’re going to keep eating what’s normal for a person in recovery. You’re going to fix a big breakfast the next morning, and then you’re going to have a nice snack. You’re going to continue on as normal, as though Thanksgiving Day were just a regular day. Because in terms of eating, that’s exactly what it is.

– Taylor

More on Perfectionism

I’ve talked about perfectionism before, but I wanted to talk about it a little more in depth because I think a lot of people who struggle with an eating disorder also struggle with perfectionism. Both boil down to a sin problem.

I struggle with perfectionism everyday. I pressure myself with unrealistic expectations, and when I don’t perform at or above the set bar, I punish myself. Then I’m left to wallow in a puddle of self-pity. It’s a vicious cycle, really.

Perfectionism is more than just working hard or trying your best. It’s the compulsive urge to do things perfectly. It’s the fear of failing followed by an overwhelming rush of guilt when expectations aren’t met. It’s an idol, and it needs to be addressed.

The problem with perfectionism is that it leaves no room for the grace of God to work. It’s an entirely self-centered focus. It’s believing that if I can just do better and be better, then I will be enough. I’ll be pleased with myself, and maybe – for once – I’ll be worthy. But where is God in that?

Perfectionism does not glorify God. Instead, it robs God of His glory.

Matthew 5:48 commands that we be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. And yet, within this very command is the assurance that we don’t have to be perfect. I know it sounds contradictory, but it isn’t.

If you backup with me, we’ll examine Matthew chapter 5 as a whole. You might recognize this as Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Here he speaks on issues of anger, lust, divorce, swearing oaths, retaliation, and loving your enemies. Crowds of people gather to listen, but Jesus speaks with a very particular audience in mind – the Pharisees. Very blunt and direct, He exposes their pride and self-righteousness.

But before He jumps into this spiel, Jesus explains His mission. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets,” He says. “I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17).” In other words, Jesus came to satisfy God’s demand for perfection on our behalf!

Jesus lived perfectly, and that is enough. His one act of righteousness produced justification and life for all men (Romans 5:18). 

When God looks at me, He doesn’t see my filthy, sin-stained frame. He sees the perfect stamp of His Son over my heart. I died with Christ, and now I am set free from sin (Romans 6:7)! I don’t have to live perfectly, because I am perfect in Him.

This is much different than the positive self-affirmations girls preach to themselves in the mirror to feel empowered. This is truth, and it’s sustaining.

After Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, many people struggled to accept the liberating gift of grace. It seemed to go against everything they had been taught. They were so bent on rule-following that unmerited grace was such an absurd concept. The apostle Paul had a lot to say on this subject. The Galatians couldn’t wrap their minds around the fact that Jesus had completely and perfectly fulfilled the Mosaic Law – it was finished! They were relying on human efforts to save them. And Paul was grieved to see fellow believers drifting away due to this lack of understanding. He wrote to the Galatians, “For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” He is telling them, “Stop! Don’t you see? We are free in Christ Jesus. So stop exhausting yourself with burdens you’re no longer intended to bear.”

As I study this passage, I can’t help but see a striking resemblance between the Galatians and perfectionists today. The stubborn Galatians remind me so much of myself, and it’s alarming. Over and over again, I turn down God’s gift of grace to chase after perfection (or my own interpretation of it). Not only does this prove pointless in the end, but it’s also insulting to the One who bought my freedom. There is absolutely nothing I can do to earn salvation. And to suggest otherwise is a type of blasphemy. It’s like shaking a curled fist at God and insisting “my way is best, Lord.”

When we bow the knee to perfectionism, we chain ourselves to rules and rituals. We wear the loud mark of someone who doesn’t trust God. We submit to the yoke of slavery Paul warns against. There is no freedom in being a prisoner. 

This impulse – the feeling of needing to do things perfectly – is not from God (Galatians 5:8). He doesn’t expect perfection. Rather, His desire is that we lean into the perfect person of Jesus. How relieving! This takes an incredible pressure off of us. And when we learn to depend on Him, we have more time to spend doing things that really matter.

Because of Jesus, I am not under the Law, but under grace. I am not a slave to my obsessive thoughts. I don’t have to start over when I do something imperfectly. I don’t have to be afraid of messing up. I don’t have to set unrealistic standards for myself, and I don’t have to bathe in self-pity.

I hope you take comfort in knowing that the Bible is full of broken, far-from-perfect sinners. Abraham was deceptive (Genesis 20:2). David was unfaithful (2 Samuel 11:2-4). Jonah was disobedient (Jonah 1:1-3). Peter was afraid (Matthew 14:30). Martha was anxious (Luke 10:41). And Paul was murderous (Acts 8:1). Yet God loved these people and chose to adopt them into His perfect family. We can be encouraged that God works in and through lousy people to accomplish His goal.

The fight against perfectionism is an ongoing battle. But let us not fall into the trap of believing that we must earn our salvation. Jesus paid it all and perfectly met God’s high standards. 

It’s likely that I will struggle in this area for the rest of my life. But I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). 

Throughout this lifetime, I will never be perfect. But I am learning what it means to die to self. I am being sanctified everyday. God is constantly at work killing the perfectionist in me. The process is long and painful, but He is always good. In Him I have victory over the destructive sin of perfectionism.

– Taylor

You Can’t Serve Both God and ED

    Growing up, I never really paid much attention to my body. I didn’t care because it was the least important thing about me. 

    Fast forward several years, and body image was everything to me. I became obsessed with appearance and how people saw me. 

And maybe that’s why I get emotional when I think about my eating disorder. Because I remember not caring – not caring about weight or food or my physical appearance. And I remember the dramatic shift from not caring to caring a lot. My whole thought process changed.

What started as an innocent desire to eat healthier quickly spiraled out of control. I found myself stuck in a never-ending loop of restriction. I was always looking for new ways to reduce my caloric intake. It turned into a sort of game I played with myself. But it wasn’t a fun game, and I couldn’t possibly win. 

Looking back, it’s obvious that I was actively running from God during the years I battled an eating disorder. I didn’t have the energy to cultivate a spiritual relationship because I was so absorbed with myself and food. In fact, I would say that anyone who holds onto their eating disorder is not seeking God. Maybe that’s a bold statement, but I’ve learned you can’t glorify God while focusing so heavily on self.

I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Anorexia is not a choice.” To a certain extent, I agree. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide, “Hmm…let’s develop an eating disorder today.” But on the other hand, I was the one who chose to tweak my eating habits. Sure, it wasn’t this one decision which set me down the path of an eating disorder. But this poor decision led to other poor decisions and so forth. Soon enough, I was allowing my own thoughts to dictate truth instead of looking to Truth Himself. Food became my idol, and God was only an afterthought. So in a way, I did choose anorexia. Not because I wanted to starve myself, but because I was already starving spiritually.

At a glance, eating disorders seem to be all about food. And yes, food plays a big part. But when you get down to the heart of the matter, you’ll see the problem runs much deeper than food. Maybe you wrestle with doubts and fears and questions too hard to answer. Maybe you hide from those fears. Maybe you chase them on the treadmill. Maybe you eat them in secret or purge them in the bathroom. Whatever the form of your struggle, there’s always an underlying issue waiting to be surfaced.

My battle with anorexia began when I lost sight of the fact that I had been made in the image of God. I wanted to fix myself. I thought controlling what I ate would make me happy. I thought my parents would be proud. I thought my friends would look up to me as some sort of inspirational health guru.

In the book of Genesis, we see a similar situation play out. Up until chapter 3, everything has been perfect. Adam and Eve are walking in close fellowship with God. He is their best friend, and they are wonderfully satisfied in Him. But unfortunately, this relationship is severed when Eve bites into the forbidden fruit. In her head, she is convinced she knows better than God. As a matter of fact, she wants to be like God (Genesis 3:5). Perhaps the most heartbreaking part of this story is that Eve fails to see she has already been made in the likeness of God.

And sadly, her story has become our story. Just like Eve, we want to make ourselves God. We choose separation where Christ offers unification. We grab onto the half-truths of this world and allow what we think is true to hold more weight than the truth of Scripture. We brush past the fact that we are image-bearers of God!

Maybe you struggle with disordered eating. Maybe you don’t. Regardless, my message to you is the same: run to Jesus. Cling to God’s Word and hold on for dear life! Don’t settle for twisted versions of the truth. Don’t allow Satan to distort your view of God’s character. When you honor your spiritual hunger, you will naturally start to honor your physical hunger – not because it’s all of a sudden easy, but because it is pleasing to God, and you want to glorify and obey Him.

You can’t play around with an eating disorder while trying to follow Christ. No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24). Therefore, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us (Hebrews 12:1).

– Taylor

Atypical Anorexia is Just Anorexia

Anorexia doesn’t have a look. It’s not a weight condition. It’s not a “thin person’s disorder.” It’s a mental illness.

A person can be anorexic at any size, regardless of what doctors or medical personnel say. I hate the term “atypical anorexia” because it implies that people in larger bodies aren’t “sick enough.” It reinforces the idea that you must get below a certain weight to have anorexia. Someone with atypical anorexia meets all the criteria for anorexia except drastic weight loss.

When a person is told they have atypical anorexia, they hear, “I’m not being taken seriously. I’m not really anorexic. I’m too heavy. I need to eat less, lose weight, and exercise more.”

But you don’t have to be thin to have anorexia. And you don’t have to be thin to be underweight. Anyone is underweight if they suppress their natural body weight.

 Some say anorexia is more dangerous at a low weight. I disagree. A person in a larger body who has anorexia is still harming themselves. They’re still starving to death. And the scariest part of it all is that they might be overlooked because they don’t fall below a “healthy” weight range. They might stay in an energy deficit for years without receiving any kind of treatment. Instead, they’re told to “keep it up” because they “look great.”

I know a lot of people measure their recovery progress by the number on a scale or where they fall on a BMI chart. But this never works! BMI doesn’t take mental health into account. And many people can reach a “normal” weight yet still experience symptoms of malnutrition. In that case, they’re underweight.

If you want to recover from an eating disorder, you can’t rely on a number to tell you when you’re “healthy.” Healthy is so much more than size. Stop manipulating your body to look a certain way. Stop restricting food because you’re scared of gaining weight. If unrestricted eating results in weight gain, you needed to gain weight in the first place!

Also, if you suspect a friend is struggling with disordered eating, please check on them. Anorexia affects all body shapes and sizes. It’s time to break the stigma and not assume that people in larger bodies aren’t struggling too. Don’t dismiss all the tell-tale signs of anorexia just because someone doesn’t meet the weight requirements.

Summary

  • Atypical anorexia is just anorexia.
  • A person is underweight if they are at a weight that can only be sustained through restriction.
  • Restriction is eating less than what you physically and mentally need (e.g., if I want two cookies but only eat one, I am restricting).

– Taylor

Comfort Amidst Confusion

Today is Saturday, April 4, 2020 – another day in quarantine. But the skies are clear and the sun is shining, so I can’t complain.

It’s been a while since I last wrote, and it’s crazy how much has changed the past couple months. So I just wanted to drop in and leave a bit of encouragement for those that read this.

Anyway, we’re living in such a weird time, and I wish I had answers. But I don’t.

Many people are worried, confused, and desperately searching for toilet paper. Yes, this is real life.

But on a more serious note, I understand the feelings of fear and angst. This isn’t easy, and I know it’s especially difficult for those struggling with bad thoughts. It’s times like these that can trigger a relapse.

But there’s great comfort in God’s Word. If you find yourself worried about food, exercise, or just the unknown, run to Jesus. Don’t allow your mind to wander without holding your thoughts up to the light of Scripture.

These are some verses I’ve really enjoyed here recently:

  • “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3
  • “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” ~ John 14:27
  • “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33

Also, I encourage everyone to listen to I Know Who Holds Tomorrow. The lyrics are beautiful and comforting, global pandemic or not.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4GKNbmYOAow

I hope you’ve had a great day! Keep your eyes on Jesus.

– Taylor

Dangers of the “Safe” Zone

I started recovery on Thanksgiving Day in 2017. There was a sense of urgency to the situation. I was thin, starving, and desperate for help.

But what about 10, 20, 30+ pounds later? When I wasn’t at death’s door? When I didn’t look like a walking corpse? Was the situation suddenly less urgent? Was I still deserving of the same aggressive treatment? Was I even sick?

In my opinion, the mid-recovery phase is the hardest. You don’t look hungry anymore, so everyone assumes you’re fine. Friends quit checking in on you, and parents loosen up around food. Mom isn’t very attentive at mealtimes, and dad doesn’t seem to notice that you’re hiding in the bedroom to exercise.

It’s easy to plateau at a “safe” spot in the mid-recovery phase. You feel comfortable here. It’s not too bad. You aren’t malnourished or underweight. Your hands aren’t so cold. And you’ve allowed yourself to eat certain fear foods.

But I see through your lies. I’m not fooled. You’re only eating the bare minimum to satisfy mom and dad. You’re challenging yourself, but not really. You don’t relax. You don’t laugh. You don’t connect with people. Food is always deliberately planned, and you wouldn’t dare to challenge yourself twice in row.

The scariest part of this “safe” zone is that it encourages complacency. You’re content with your progress and afraid to move ahead. Actually, you don’t want to move ahead at all. You’d rather stay here, where it’s “safe.” You don’t really plan on getting any better.

You aren’t dying. But you aren’t living. You’re just functioning. And if you aren’t careful, you’ll make a home of this “safe” zone. You’ll live in this perpetual state of “just functioning.”

Maybe the mid-recovery phase is hardest because you’re very sick. You’re as sick as ever, but it doesn’t show. You’re still restricting in one way or another. You’re controlled by rules and rituals. You won’t allow yourself to rest. You’re plagued with intrusive thoughts.

You need to push past the mid-recovery phase. Don’t settle for less than full recovery. But how can you do that? You need to get help. You need an authoritative figure in your life to hold you accountable. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.” Seek accountability! You won’t be able to do this on your own.

 

I’ve stressed the importance of full recovery, but what does that look like? Full recovery is:

  • Seriously enjoying food. It’s a second or third helping of your favorite dish.
  • Sleeping in for the sheer fun of sleep.
  • Resting without guilt. It’s sitting in a chair without feeling the urge to move.
  • Singing in the shower. This one may be different for everybody, but I used to love to sing. Anorexia took that away for a while. I quit singing. Full recovery gave me my voice back. Now I have entire concerts in the shower.
  • Laughing from the heart. The world is so much funnier without an eating disorder. I don’t have to force a laugh.
  • A new perspective on things. Truly, full recovery has opened my eyes to a beautiful world! Anorexia deadens the senses. Recovery is like a grand awakening! Everything is brighter and more colorful.

It’s easy to get stuck in a recovery rut. Relapse is normal. But don’t spend a lifetime in the “safe” zone. Don’t delay full recovery. Eating disorders are difficult because they make you feel like everything is under control. The reality is that your life is spinning out of control. You aren’t safe. Get past the mid-recovery phase and onto full recovery.

You’ve spent long enough faking it. It’s time to recover for real.

– Taylor

Eat Food, Not Numbers

As a happy-go-lucky toddler, I loved food. I was considered a “good eater.” I found pleasure and enjoyment in food.

Then, as an irritable teenager, I still loved food. But I hated it too. I was very selective with the foods I ate. Eating had become a chore. I found no pleasure or enjoyment in food.

As a four-year-old, I cried when I didn’t have my way. I cried when I wasn’t allowed to eat a particular snack. At fourteen, I cried when I was made to eat a particular snack. Why such the extreme turn of events?

Here’s the thing: there’s no joy in eating numbers. When food is diminished to calories, carbs, fats, and proteins, the fun is completely sucked out of eating.

Food is a social thing. It is something to be shared among people. It draws families together. It brings laughter, conversation, and an occasional tear to the dinner table.

But when food is diminished to mere numbers on a box, the social aspect of eating is fully removed. Food becomes a task.

When the social component is taken out, you are left feeling isolated and detached. You might sit around a group of people where food is the centerpiece, but you are unable to participate in meaningful discussions. You might sit there, but you aren’t present. Instead, you’re wondering why she has yet to start on her mashed potatoes. Why didn’t she clean her plate? What did she eat earlier today? Has she eaten more or less than I? At mealtimes, you sit awkwardly, not knowing how to fit in.

Food is also an emotional thing, although I dislike the term “emotional eating.” Typically, this phrase has a negative connotation to it. People look down upon eating to your emotions. However, we can’t deny that eating is simply a natural response to our feelings of happiness, excitement, bliss, sorrow, heartache, and all of the emotions in between.

But when food turns to numbers, the emotional parts of eating go away. For example, an anorexic doesn’t eat birthday cake for the sheer fun of it. It is a methodical procedure, involving lots of planning. Emotions play no role in choosing what to eat. It all boils down to numbers.

Whether or not you realize it, you are robbing yourself of joy! You are selling yourself short. You are keeping yourself from pleasure and enjoyment.

If there’s anything to be learnt from this post, eat food! Eat real, processed food. Stop eating numbers. Stop eating calories and macronutrients. Stop diminishing food to digits and percentages.

Eat food for the joy that it’s worth! Eat when you’re happy. Eat when you’re stressed. Eat when you’re tired. Eat when you’re bored. Eat when you plain ‘ole just want to eat! Engage in conversations, and eat food for food.

There is nothing better for a person than to eat, drink, and enjoy his work. I have seen that even this is from God’s hand. ~ Ecclesiastes 2:24

– Taylor

Recovery and Counting Calories

When I had anorexia, I made several attempts at recovery. Unsuccessful attempts, at that. I wanted to prove that I was capable of getting better on my own.

I noticed a recurring pattern throughout my unsuccessful attempts. For one, I was always hesitant at the idea of full recovery, or more specifically, the idea of complete abandonment of my eating disorder. Another thing was that I continued counting calories. This seemed like good a good idea at the time. After all, it was important that I ate sufficiently. Tracking my caloric intake appeared to be the best way by which to monitor that.

That mentality was very twisted and unhelpful. Counting calories was not beneficial. It was dangerous, and I knew it.

How, you may be wondering, can calorie counting be dangerous? I’m glad you asked.

For a person with anorexia, there is an incessant fixation on food – an unhealthy obsession, if you will. So inserting calorie counting into the mix only creates more chaos. They are forced to think about food in a detailed manner, more than they already are. It forces them to ask themselves questions like: What is a serving size? How many servings did I eat? How many calories are in xx servings?

Calorie counting can quickly turn into a compulsion. You might elevate calorie counting to the point that it controls your decision to eat or not eat a specific food.

Counting calories can also lead to counting micronutrients and macronutrients, which creates a greater obsession and further restriction of food.

If I have failed to make myself clear, please understand that calorie counting is an anorexic behavior. Therefore, an anorexic cannot expect to recover while participating in anorexic behaviors. All of this I say to confirm my point that it is impossible to recover while counting calories.

Aside from the few exceptions, normal people do not track their calories. And yet, they are able to eat sufficiently. My brother is nine years old and has no trouble fixing himself a decent meal. Mind you, he doesn’t count calories. Why then, do anorexics argue that they must record their intake in order to eat adequately?

Unfortunately, it is a means of control. It is a means of resisting recovery. It is a way to stay sick in your eating disorder.

When I had anorexia, I used My Fitness Pal to log everything I ate. This app, though seemingly helpful, was a hindrance to my recovery.

Maybe you understand where I’m coming from. You struggle with counting calories and checking the nutrition panels too. It feels like an obligation rather than a choice. But you do, in fact, have a choice.

First of all, I suggest that you delete any food or exercise-related apps from your phone. If recovery is the goal, do not engage in anorexic behaviors, no matter how tempting.

Eating sufficiently does not require that you count calories. Eating sufficiently simply requires that you eat without restriction. For someone in the early phases of recovery, that is a lot easier said than done. Nonetheless, you know when you are restricting. You know better than anybody else. You know what a proper portion looks like, and it isn’t always a size small.

My advice? Don’t count calories. It isn’t useful, and besides, who likes math anyway?

– Taylor