Spoiler alert: your eating disorder is not who you really are! Sure, ED thoughts and behaviors take up a lot of space in our brains – which can crowd out those that are authentic to our “true selves.” However, just because you cannot hear the true self does not mean it isn’t laying beneath the surface, waiting to be reawakened.
ED’s focus on your body and eating habits as your identity is a “false self” that supplants the role of the “true self” in your life. In reality, our identities, or “true selves,” are made up of four distinct parts that make us each into unique individuals.
As you learn to tune into your “inner wisdom” and “Intuitive Therapist” voice through the EDIT Method, a certified recovery coach can help you rediscover each of these parts – and how they contribute to the overall picture of your identity.
1. The Body: Grounding Through the Five Senses
While our body is not the only piece of our identity, it is a part of what makes us who we are. That’s why the EDIT™ method still recognizes the body as an important component of the “true self.” However, focusing on your body’s aesthetics alone may not be accurate – or conducive to your recovery journey.
Our bodies are so much more than what we see in the mirror: they are incredible vessels that allow us to move, climb, explore, and interact with the world around us in so many different ways. As you consider the ways your body contributes to your identity, the EDIT™ Method invites you to think of your five senses: we all experience our environment with our senses of touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing. How does your biology – a.k.a. the way your body works (not the way it looks!) – let you do the things you love?
2. The Mind: Changing Your Thoughts to Change Your Life
When we’re in the throes of an eating disorder, ED thoughts take up a copious amount of space in our minds. At ED’s worst, it can feel like every other thought is a disordered thought. For example, you might be used to thinking things like:
● Do I look fat in this outfit? I should find a mirror and check.
● I was so bad last night. I don’t deserve to eat that.
● Screw it; I already broke my diet, so I might as well eat all of this junk food.
One of the reasons why these thoughts are so detrimental is that they also drive our behaviors. As you can see, each of these thoughts is directly linked to an action. Whether it’s restricting, binge-eating, or body-checking, our thoughts are what keep us firmly stuck in the cycle of disordered eating behaviors. As a result, we spend tons of time thinking about what we eat and what we look like, instead of all the other incredible things in our lives.
Alternatively, when we are thriving within the context of our “true selves,” these thoughts don’t monopolize precious real estate in our brains! Once we learn to recognize and challenge these unhelpful thoughts, food is no longer the main character. Instead, we can focus on the thoughts that align with our values: the thoughts that allow us to study, work, love, spend time with friends, engage in our favorite hobbies… or, in other words, all the things that make you, YOU!
3. The Heart: Why We Feel the Way We Do
What we think influences what we do, and both of these influence the way we feel. Our hearts are the guiding force behind our emotions – and ED thoughts and behaviors often come with big emotional consequences. Whether you feel frustration, sadness, numbness, guilt, or shame, the “false self” created by ED is often intertwined with a whole swathe of emotions (usually the ones we categorize as “negative”).
What’s most important to understand about our ED emotions is that they only represent a limited selection of the emotional range available to us. When we think and act in alignment with our “true selves,” the resulting emotional experience might still include frustration, sadness, numbness, guilt, or shame – but it might also include joy, relief, freedom, excitement, and love. Our “false selves” keep us trapped in a box, where the only emotions allowed in are those that continue to feed the ED monster. Once we break free from this box, we’re able to embrace our heart’s full capacity… and truly feel.
4. The Soul: Learning to Follow Your Intuition
The soul is known by many names, depending upon your beliefs: for a religious practitioner, “soul” or “spirit” may feel right; to a nonbeliever, “essence” or “intuition“ might suit you better. Whatever the words you choose to use for it, our souls are the source of our “Intuitive Therapist” voice. We all must reconnect with this voice in order to break free from the chains of ED and reclaim our “true selves.”
Disordered eating hinders our spiritual development, preventing us from connecting with our core beliefs and intuition. One of the main jobs of an EDIT-certified recovery coach (like me!) is to guide you through the process of rediscovering your intuition. If you’re ready to take the leap toward reawakening your “true self” – and to get to know each of these four parts of who you are – contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if coaching is right for you!