“But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
-I Cor. 10:13
The holidays can be a trying time for those in eating disorder recovery. As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, recovery websites offer helpful tips and positive thoughts on a near daily basis to help those in recovery withstand relapse. Falsely, I thought I was going to make it through my first Christmas season completely unscathed this year. I was close this year; closer than I have ever been, but the dominance of the eating disorder voice outweighed my own thoughts for a few hours Christmas morning. In order to strengthen my recovery and remain on the right path without a lapse, I turned to the true reason for the season in order to remind me that I am more than a number…or in this case a (wrong) size.
I know I have bragged about my husband in previous posts and I am about to do it again. Always thoughtful, positive, and full of joy, TJ looks forward to surprising me and putting a smile on my face. He enjoys sending me flowers at various times, such as the beautiful arrangement he ordered from Hawaii for my re-birthday a few weeks ago, and finding the perfect gifts for Christmas. He puts a lot of time and planning into his gifts and this year the eating disordered voice jumped in and made appear very ungrateful. I hate that eating disorder voice and when it jumps in and becomes my voice.
This Christmas was a little different than in years past. We, as a family, are preparing for a new adventure and our gifts were all centered around that new adventure. Just as I put a lot of thought and time into what I got for TJ, he put a lot of time and thought into what he got for me. The item that put the eating disorder volume on “extremely loud” was a beautiful, bright red Henri Lloyd sailing spray jacket.
Now, being completely honest and living out the radical acceptance of my body, I have wide hips. This is a fact and it cannot be disputed. It just is. I just do. Acceptance. However, that does not mean that I don’t still get sad about it from time-t0-time. When I tried on that beautiful red jacket I suddenly became very sad and upset about my wide hips. The jacket fit great…except for my hips. Cue the tears, the eating disorder volume, and the self-loathing. Then the waterfall of thoughts began…
“I’m too fat to sail. I won’t be able to fit in the galley to cook food. Any bigger than my current size and they wouldn’t even make spray jackets to fit me! I NEED to lose weight. I can’t eat today.”
Poor TJ felt terrible, as he tried to console me while continuously apologizing for getting the wrong size; even though the jacket he bought is the same size as a coat he bought me last Christmas. The difference being, the spray jacket is unisex and the coat is from the women’s department. Two totally different styles/cuts/materials of clothing. Of course I see the logic in this now, but in the moment all I could see were the cascading eating disorder thoughts; turning me into an ungrateful mess. Once I gave myself some space, began to do some light Bible study, and focused inwardly on radical body acceptance my attitude changed.
The size of the jacket does not matter. THIS is my body and yes, my body has wide hips, and that is okay. The jacket can be exchanged and the size in the tag doesn’t matter because my body will be protected and warm, regardless of size. My body is strong enough to sail and sailing doesn’t discriminate against body types. God is gracious and forgives me when I “hate” the body He gave me. TJ loves and supports me and knows the reaction wasn’t mine but one that comes from being overwhelmed by eating disorder thoughts and emotions. In the end I know I am working on staying in sustained recovery, following my meal plan, and truly practicing radical body acceptance. Speaking of…I even have BBA vinyl stickers for my car and other whatnots now. See…I told you I have an amazing and thoughtful husband.
**Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I did eat breakfast and I fully intend to continue eating throughout the day to celebrate the birth of the risen Savior.**
I hope you find body acceptance this Christmas Day and focus on self-care, self-love, and self-acceptance today and every day.
With Body Love,