Last night I was at the mall.
Feeling bloated – as usual. Trying to deal with the uncomfortable pain.
As I walked by a mirror I caught a glimpse of my reflection. My first reaction (and usually the most honest one), wasn’t “disgust”. I didn’t think “Ewww I look so bloated and gross.”
My thought was, I actually don’t look as bad as I feel.
Which led me to think about how my mind and my body are not connected.
Usually you feel a certain way and you assume you look that same way. But it’s actually not true.
How you feel is based mainly on your thoughts.
How you look is non-negotiable.
Your thoughts lead to action.
Let’s look at the scenario I just described.
I feel bloated and uncomfortable. I glance in the mirror.
- I shame myself for looking so full. So bloated. My stomach is distended. I shouldn’t be wearing that shirt. I should be wearing something baggier to take away from me feeling like this. OR
- I look at myself and realize that it’s just because I had dinner and my stomach is full. That’s why it’s bloated. But it’s not as bad as I am feeling. And I know, I really do know that it will eventually go away when the food digests. This is not forever.
So my actions could’ve gone one of two ways.
Again, let’s look at the above situations.
- Go to Walmart and buy laxatives to get rid of the feeling of being bloated. Go home and vomit up everything I ate to get rid of the feeling of being bloated. Be sick for the next 24-48 hours. Look like shit for the next 24 hours. Miss out on some valuable time with my kids. Start the cycle all over again. OR
- Go home and be with my kids. Let them tell me how camp was. Sit and have popcorn together. Help them get ready for bed. Sit on the sofa and watch my guilty pleasure tv shows (not those type of guilty pleasures!!! ). Have a cup of coffee and get a good night sleep.
So, you see your thoughts bring about actions.
I chose # 2. My thoughts lead me to act in a way that was much more productive and way more satisfying. Although you give yourself permission to “reward” yourself by behaving in a way that will make you feel better when you feel uncomfortable, as I’ve said in the past, it is a short lived reward with terrible, awful, life altering consequences that will never bring your long term happiness.
Sitting on the sofa with my kids will always bring me joy and long term happiness.
The trick to recovery is to actually think. Think logically. Think ahead. Try not to think about the right now. Think about what will happen if you act impulsively. Get ahead of your thoughts. Get ahead of ED and make the decision to act how YOU want to act and how YOU want to live. ED only wants one thing – for you to live in misery. Get ahead of that bullshit.