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!
“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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