5 Unhealthy Habits I Quit

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Unhealthy habits. We all have them.

Be it: leaving dirty clothes in a pile on the floor, cursing, emotional eating, or driving too fast.

And the thing about habits is that…they’re engrained. They’re a learned behavior, that…if we’re not careful…can become destructive.

Recovering from anorexia, I certainly had to unlearn a lot of deeply, deeply engrained bad habits that were slowly destroying my mind, body and soul.

And since adopting recovery, 13 years ago, I have had to go through my life with a fine-toothed comb, and fastidiously examine my behaviors, thought processes, and habits. I definitely discovered a few unhealthy habits that simply had. to. go. And since ridding them from my life, I have found so much freedom and peace and joy.

So please allow me to share the fruits of my “mental inventory.” I think that whether you’re in recovery or not, they will resonate in your heart. At least, I hope so 🙂

So…without further ado…

5 Unhealthy Habits I Quit

1) The “All or Nothing” Mindset
This mindset got me into so much trouble. The – “oh, well I’ve already messed up, might as well give up completely.” This way of thinking is especially prevalent in diet culture. Thinking…I had one cookie, might as well eat the whole box…and the tub of ice cream…and jar of peanut butter.

I was a very black and white thinker: good/bad, fail/success, right/wrong. It stems back to my crippling perfectionism: anything that wasn’t absolutely perfect, was seen in my eyes as a failure.

I’ve come to realize that life is not black and white, but rather – shades of gray. And it’s so much more enjoyable – and freeing – to allow myself to exist in those shades of gray, rather than killing myself to fit into a black/white reality.

2) The Comparison Game
Living in such a connected, online, social media-obsessed world is a double edged sword. Sure, we can stay in contact with loved ones across the globe, and have access to information and entertainment at the tips of our fingers, but it also invites comparison into our sacred mental space.

Models on instagram, perfect “mommy bloggers,” extravagant lifestyles of the rich and famous, fast lives of celebrities — bombarding our minds with such lust-worthy content, left me looking at my own body and own life like a sack of moldy potatoes.

I was willingly inviting envy, jealousy and thoughts of inadequacy into my heart that made me question my self-worth. I am now ruthless with what content I will let into my space. Guard that heart, baby.

3) Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – Expecting Perfection
If we’re being honest, I can be a little…shall we say…rigid. My schedule, being tidy, having things just so in my personal space. And again…this all can be brought back to perfectionism.

But the greatest — and truly most freeing — evolution in my life was simply relaxing in those areas. Life is not run on a by-the-minute clock. Schedules should be flexible. Otherwise, you live life constantly on edge — and others feel that too.

4) Mirror Checks/Harsh Self Judgement
This last one goes without saying. But I had to sever my dysfunctional relationship with the mirror. More specifically, I had to sever the harsh self-judgement the mirror produced.

I had to give myself the grace to be a work in progress. There will always be some aspect of my reflection that isn’t perfect or what I wish it could be. Freedom and peace comes from seeing myself through God’s eyes, and allowing myself the patience to bloom and grow and change and be beautifully imperfect. I am so much more than simply my reflection in a piece of glass.

5) Letting My Past Color My Present
This one took me a long time to let go of. I carried my past with me for a very long time. I let the guilt and shame from my anorexia overshadow my present. It dictated my self worth, it hindered me from inviting love into my life, it stunted my growth as a person and suffocated my freedom in Christ. Imagine trying to keep your head above water, with an anchor tied to your feet.

My life changed when I finally made peace with that dark history. When I realized that — God has forgiven me of all the crap I was letting weigh me down, and loves me anyway. If God can forgive me – it’s time I forgive myself.

The truth of the matter is that, I am who I am today, because of what I went through. The biggest areas of growth in my life came from lessons I had to learn the hard way. So in a way – I should be grateful for God allowing me to endure those trials, and blessing me with the perspective and gratitude that comes from healed pain.

Final Helpful Recovery-Specific Habits to Ditch:
– I stopped watching the Food Network — it was simply a torture tool, or it would trigger a binge. Either way…it was not serving me!
– I threw away the clothes that were too small. I don’t need any reminders of my sick body.
– I blocked the photos and images of myself during my anorexia. From Facebook, on my phone, in photo albums. I do not need a visual reminder of that suffering. No sir.
– I made nutrition and adequately nourishing my body a top priority in life. Period. No exceptions. No excuses. NO SKIPPING MEALS! Period!
– I stopped using exercise to beat up my body. It is now an enjoyable activity, done appropriately.

So there you have it. I feel like, as we’re emerging from such a surreal time of quarantine, we have the beautiful opportunity of a fresh start. A clean slate where we can bring into our new life only that which serves us.

But to do that, we have to take a hard look in the mirror ((ok, I see the irony of my #4 habit here…)) but we have to seriously examine those areas of rot in our lives, and pluck them out by the roots!

I certainly will be.

Have a great night, friends, and I’ll see ya on Monday!

xoxo Caralyn

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5


A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia.  Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.


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134 responses to “5 Unhealthy Habits I Quit”

    • Thank you so much!! Yes! That was my personal favorite too:) I appreciate your encouraging words! Have a great night! Hugs and love xox

  1. #3 called me out. I sweat the small stuff way too much!
    Thanks for keeping it REAL as a wounded healer. For me, that’s what makes your blog worth reading. Blessings!

    • Thanks David – I definitely feel ya there! And oh my gosh I love that – wounded healer. Yep! We’re all just journeying together on this crazy road called life!! Thanks for being awesome! Have a great night! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much! Glad it resonated with you!! 🙂 hope you have a great evening! Hugs and love xox

  2. I relate so much to this post, especially #1, #2 and #4. I enjoyed reading it. I struggled with multiple eating disorders for over a decade so I get the whole comparison game and recovery journey. I’m still trying to let go of the perfectionist mindset. I’m happy you were able to get rid of these unhealthy habits 💓

    • Hi Kenya! I’m so glad this resonated with you!! Thank you for sharing your story – amen – letting go of perfectionism was difficult but so so so worth it. you can do it! i believe in you! glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  3. I relate so much to this post, especially #1, #2 and #4. I enjoyed reading it. I struggled with multiple eating disorders for over a decade so I get the whole comparison game and recovery journey. I’m still trying to get rid of the perfectionist mindset. I’m happy you were able to get rid of these unhealthy habits 💓

  4. All or nothing. All to familiar. If one peanut M&M is good… And if I “fell off the wagon” what’s the use of trying to get back on?

    Perfection. A friend told me that C students tend to be happier than A+ students. I think there’s truth there. I remember taking care of someone at an automotive garage who was a few fries short of a Happy Meal. I had the brief thought that if ignorance is bliss, he must be ecstatic! Then I found myself envying him!!! But wait, isn’t that comparing…?

    Harsh self-judgement. I justified an attempted return to acting because, well, they need ugly people too. Probably a bit harsh.

    Letting my past… I’m gonna let that one go. Not enough room here. HA!

    Have a blessed weekend!

    • Hey Jeff! That m&m example is so true. And it’s just ONE mm! What an interesting fact about the students. I think you’re right – there’s joy to be found when we’re not spending every moment striving for perfect. oh gosh – Jeff, that’s not true! The acting world needs strong, kind, good-head-on-their-shoulders, men!! I’m excited to see where things go for you once the industry opens up again! so glad you stopped by. hope you’ve had a great week! big hugs to you and your girls! xox

    • Thank you so much Stormy! I’m glad it hit home with you 🙂 hope you have a great night! Hugs and love xox

  5. Caralyn, I could relate to all 5 unhealthy habits. Working on leaving the past in the past and enjoying my present. The past does not define today!
    Thank you for another thought provoking post! Hugs and love!

    • Thank you friend, I’m so glad it hit home with you! amen! the past certainly does NOT define today, and thank goodness for that!! glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much John! you’re so right – comparison is off. the. charts for sure! i appreciate you stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  6. Definitely relate to much of this, particularly that darned perfectionism! So glad for all the Lord can bring us through. Thank you for sharing the wisdom He’s blessed you with. ❤

    • Thanks so much!! Oh my gosh I feel you. Perfectionism pops up in all the wrong places all the time! Amen- surrendering it to Him is the way to freedom! Hugs and love xox

  7. The Comparison Game is perhaps the most widely identifiable pitfall for everyone at one time or another. The culture in which we live starts to teach us competitiveness when we are mere toddlers. Our competitive nature is driven by comparing ourselves to those around us and yes, if we are not mindful and cautious, we can, as you so well point out, fall victim to envy and jealousy with a sense of inadequacy and low self-esteem. Been there, done that, and got the tee-shirt. But I learned long ago that it’s not our past or what we have that defines us, it’s who we are in Christ Jesus. Thank you for sharing such an excellent thought provoking post. 🙂

    Darryl Orrell

    • Thanks Darryl, you’re right – we all fall into that trap. especially with all the media consumed. AMen! who we are in Christ! glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  8. Glad to come upon your blog again. I am even gladder to see you point out these dreaful habits. You are as beautiful as ever and will enjoy many successes, with this bright outlook.

    • Aw thank you so much, friend! I’m so glad you did too! and thanks for the encouraging words! sending hugs and love xo

  9. I so relate to all of the points on some level. I am definitely a work in progress.
    Thanks for sharing Caralyn. God Bless you my dear.

    • thanks so much! so glad you can relate too. And amen! life is so much better when we give ourselves that grace to be a wonderful work in progress! have a great weekend! Hugs and love xox

  10. Truly inspiring as always. My favourite lines: “I’ve come to realize that life is not black and white, but rather – shades of gray. And it’s so much more enjoyable – and freeing – to allow myself to exist in those shades of gray, rather than killing myself to fit into a black/white reality.” I’ve been suffering from this mentality lately. I thank you for your transparency and your empowering words. I feel blessed each time a read one of your posts.

    • Thank you so much Dainelle! Oh my gosh I am so touched by your kind words! Let’s embrace the gray!! 🙂 have an amazing weekend! Hugs and love xox

  11. Good to sit on the fence and take an unbiased look at ourselves frequently Caralyn. We all need to do that honestly and number 5 is a biggie for all of us humans to deal with if we misread the Bible and think its our works that will get us into heaven. It’s the Grace of God that will get us there and works will not be something we have to do but something that will flow out of us in thankfulness to God for His Grace.

    • thanks Ian – youre right about that! amen! it’s grace! so grateful for that incredible blessing! glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  12. Great post. As a person ages the habits seem to multiply at a greater rate and all just get out of hand. You have a strong will and you will be able to control the growth of the bad ones. It is nice to hold onto the good ones.

  13. My dear friend Caralyn,

    Thanks for sharing this important subject.

    Our journey in our life is indeed a learning process throughout the whole time. We come across things we want to touch with our mind, allow them to be part of our life, to become even habits, when repeating certain processes. Then later, we are able to see that some of those habits are not good for us, when they in turn have bad effects on us. When bad habits have become as hard as steal ropes, it is then very difficult to cut them and we have to go through painful times. Weeding out those habits by the root is not easy at all, but once we have succeeded it gives us a wonderful feeling of being free, released from those shackles. Then we are able to be more careful and cautious with ourselves also with the positive fear we could ever fall back to this condition. So we can see that we can change, that it is possible to change habits and replace them with good habits, in shades and grades, that do not have disastrous effects on us. What can we do to prevent in future that such slowly creeping up habits no longer attach us, no longer embrace us? We have to start to think twice before we release thoughts in words or deeds, we have to be aware of the consequences, the reactions, if they are dyed in harmful colours in any way towards ourselves and others. So we have to be on the alert, every moment, to prevent such poison to take a seat in us. From time to time we can take personal stock of what we have achieved, what still needs to be done, where we stand at the moment to make changes if necessary.

    Yes, it is this kind of mirror effect that allows us to observe and evaluate our own actions. The deeper we look inside ourselves, the more aware we become of what things might still have negative influences on us. It is like discovering holes in a meadow, in which we pour water and force insects (our weaknesses) to come out. The more we pour water into it, the more insects come out into the daylight. This is what makes us more conscious, it is the process of being aware of ourselves… We will be surprised what else rests in us without realizing it so easily… That is why new lessons enter into our lives.

    All that is good to you and your family 🙂
    Hugs and love

    • Hi Didi! Oh thank you so much for this thoughtful response. You’re so right – a learning process indeed! So much powerful food for thought here!! Sending so much love! Have a great weekend! Xox

    • Thank you so much Paula! Glad you found it helpful! I certainly needed the reminder too! Have a great weekend! Hugs and love xox

  14. These all are huge steps to true happiness, which as you know is aninside job. I’m happy that you shed these behaviors my dear and choose to allow your light to shine brightly from the inside out. I always say, be utterly yourself because everyone else has been taken. Hugs, much love and so many blessings my friend

    • Thank you so much! You’re right – an inside job indeed! I love that saying! Have an awesome weekend! Hugs and love xox

    • Oh good! I’m so glad it resonated with you! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

    • Thanks so much Ms. Wanda! I’m glad this resonated with you! Hugs and love xox

  15. Thank you for this message. Focus on the things you can control: thoughts, perceptions, and actions. Don’t allow yesterday to plague today; you can’t do anything about it. Don’t allow tomorrow to steal today; you can’t do anything about that either. Embrace today; it’s the most important time of your life.

    • Thanks so much JC! 🙂 you’re spot on! Control what we can control! Have a great weekend! Hugs and love xox

  16. and just as important as the habits you quit are the healthy ones that you embraced…

    and as for number 2, one of my favorite quotes is: Comparison is the thief of joy…

    • You’re right – out with the bad, in with the good!! And I loveeeee that quote. So true! Thanks Jim for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  17. It sounds like you have come so far – congratulations on all of your hard work at improving your mindset & health! I too have worked hard to get rid of an all or nothing mentality. We aren’t alone – I find that so many people do this to themselves, and it doesn’t serve anyone well. Knowing that not every day will be perfect is just a fact of life, and being able to go with the flow and continue with healthy habits as best as you can is the key to a healthy, happy life!

    • Aw thank you so much Nicole! I appreciate your encouraging words. You’re right! Going with the flow is the way to live!! Have an awesome weekend! Hugs and love xox

  18. Been there, still doing that Carolyn. 29 years recovery from alcohol and 3 years tobacco. I definitely relate to most of what you went through, and continue to deal with, in your recovery. May God bless you and keep on the straight and narrow.

    • Thanks so much Rocky. Wow 29 years! That’s incredible! And really something to celebrate!! Thank you so much for your wonderful encouragement! Cheering you on in your recovery! Hugs and love xox

  19. The “all or nothing mindset” really resonated with me! As someone who struggled in the past with orthorexia, I would work out with the mindset that I had to absolutely fatigue myself or else it wasn’t “worth it”. The same went with eating. If I wasn’t eating what I considered a “perfectly healthy” meal, then it wasn’t enough. Life is so much more balanced and enjoyable now. It truly allows me to live in the present. Loved this post!!

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story. Amen! I’m so glad you’ve found that freedom! Life is SO much more enjoyable when we give ourself that breathing room! Sending so much love! Hugs and love xox

  20. So, while reading through this post two thoughts came to mind: 1st, the idea of “perfection” I believe is construed incorrectly by most people. The Scriptures teach us to be like Christ. Well, he was perfect, and that is difficult to live up to. But I believe we’re doing it wrong. One definition of perfect is “the action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible.” It’s this act, or process, of improving ourselves to make us more like Him, I believe, is what we should be striving for. Just try to be a better you. Be you still, just a better you, a little each day. If we do that, we’ll get to “perfection”.
    The 2nd thought was one my oldest daughter brought home many years ago. We all laughed and thought it to be so great, it has become one of our family’s montras. It is this: Don’t sweat the petty things, and don’t pet the sweaty things.

    • Thanks so much William – those are such powerful thoughts! You’re so right – we need to just strive to be more like Him. Love that. And oh my gosh your daughter is hysterical! And right on!!! Hugs and love xox

    • Aw thank you Brad, I appreciate that. Glad it hit home with you. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!! Hugs and love xox

  21. Check out “Addicted to Perfect” by Vitale Buford (vitalebuford.com). My favorite mantra from her is “done is better than perfect.” c.a.

  22. Well said. I am guilty of all of those bad habits to the point of ruthlessness. We all have destructive bad habits. One I see where I live is the “I Monster.” “I need, I want….I, I, I. I. Me, me, me, me me.” Am dealing with that now, a guest that thinks only of herself. I wish you would write more about, refine, the transition you made in your focus outward toward the world from inward and how Christ has helped you make it, because I know that he has. “[A] very present help….” You have a gift for reaching people where they live in the present and relating that moment to scripture and one’s life in Christ. God bless you always.

    • Thanks Sandman for this thoughtful response. You’re right – we all have that one thing that plagues us. Amen – our life in Him! Thanks for your encouraging words! Hugs and love xox

  23. You have insightfully identified and nailed the past to the cross. This is growing in grace. We are all work in progress and He wants us to grow, regardless of the past. He opens our eyes to see the areas to yield to him and as we do, He gives us the power overcome. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks so much Fenny! You’re on a reading roll!! Yes! Growing in grace! I love this encouraging perspective! I am bless by your insight! Hugs and love xox

    • thank you so much Mark! I’m so glad it resonated with you! Hugs and love xox

  24. Really needed to read this: I get very ‘stuck’ in the all or nothing mindset and have been trying to just tell myself that life isn’t like that. Thank you for sharing.

    • thank you so much! I’m so glad it resonated with you! yes! I feel you there. it’s in the grays!! 🙂 have a beautiful week! Hugs and love xox

  25. Your centeredness, peace, and balance are really impressive. Thank you for these gentle reminders of thoughts and attitudes that keep us running in place when we can be making progress. God bless you!

    • oh gosh, thank you so much! i am so touched by your kind words. amen – here’s to progress, no matter how small! Hugs and love xox

  26. Hello. I enjoy reading your posts! In fact, I have nominated your blog for ‘The Sunshine Blogger Award’! I hope you don’t mind and I hope you choose to participate!

    • you’re so right about that!! aw thank you Chris! means a lot 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  27. I love all your posts, but this one has to be one of my very favorites, Caralyn! I resonated with all five habits to one degree or another, because I struggle with all five to one degree or another.

    I’m healing, with God’s help, from a childhood of extreme child abuse, and I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for God’s protection, but even with that, I have vestiges of the past hanging on.

    Perfectionism is a problem, but it’s getting better, I’ve stopped comparing myself to other people, because I have a hard enough time being myself, much less trying to be someone else. I still have a problem with black-and-white thinking, which is the essence of perfectionism, but I’m learning more and more to live in the grays of life. It’s so much easier to live like that!

    I try to look in the mirror as little as possible, not because I hate the way I look, but rather because I know that God thinks I’m beautiful, so what I see in the mirror is irrelevant if it doesn’t measure up to God’s opinion of me. (My father told me all the time when he abused me that I was as ugly as if someone had thrown acid in my face, so the fact that I’ve been able to overcome that to rely on God’s opinion is something of a miracle.)

    Letting my past color my present has always been a problem, but that’s getting better as well. The main thing that’s hard is that I’ve always formed my identity around being an abuse victim, and I need to instead form it around being a victorious Child of God. And I’ve found that it’s a process ~ sometimes a very LONG one ~ walking out of the victim identity and into the victorious Child of God identity, but having God leading and guiding me helps a LOT!! Also writing my blog helps a lot as well.

    • Sarah, my beautiful friend – thank you for sharing your story. I wish i could give you a big hug right now. I am so sorry to hear about your abuse. Gosh my heart breaks to hear that your father said those things to such a precious child of God. You did not deserve that, and I pray that you are wrapped in our Heavenly Father’s arms, and that you can hear Him whisper the words of TRUTH to you, that you are incredibly loved. Incredibly beautiful, inside and out. And that He cherishes and protects you. You are so right – you are not your past, but rather a new creation in Christ. I’m praying for you my dear friend. You are a blessing to me. love you xox

      • Thanks, Caralyn! You know, something God showed me was that everytime my father said those lies to me, what he was really doing was projecting onto me what he thought of himself. When I realized that, it became a whole lot easier for me to forgive him for the hate and the pain he’d heaped on me with those words. And yes, I’ve been able to forgive him for everything he did to me with God’s help.

        I couldn’t have done any of it without God’s help, and I’ve also come to realize that the only reason I’m alive to tell my story is because God and His angels were there the whole time protecting me and saving my life, so I give Him all the glory and praise!!

        Thanks for reading, and keep on writing your wonderful blog!! It really makes a difference, even for those of us who aren’t recovering anorexics! Like you say, we’re all recovering from something!!

        Love, Sarah

      • That’s such wise insight. You’re right. Gosh you are such a strong person. I am inspired by your strength and grace. Love you Sarah 💛💛💛

    • thank you so much Lisa! I appreciate that 🙂 hope you’re having an awesome week! big hugs to you xo

  28. Such great wisdom for everyone and what a blessing that you discovered all this at such a young age with your whole life ahead of you! Congratulations and may we all find such insight and peace!

    • Thank you so much! Oh gosh I’m so touched by your kind words, thank you. Hugs and love xox

  29. This blog post spoke to me today. Things that I need to quit doing:
    1. Being lazy-You lost your hard drive because you didn’t make copies. You may of not have enough space on your fashdrive to save everything, but you could of chosen the most important things. So start doing things. Music can wait.
    2. Not making doctor appointments- You need to find a GP you trust and make an appt.
    3. Stop worrying-life will work out.
    4. Letting your caseworker and your case file defined you. God gave you talents use them. Don’t let others say you can’t.

    • You’re on a reading roll! Thank you so much! Those are some great goal – I love it. Writing several of those down!! Hugs and love xox

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