Updated: Aug 23, 2022
I've always wondered myself, back when I was anorexic, if the so called "experts" or therapists I visited who claimed they were recovered from an eating disorder themselves, well... if they sometimes still have some intrusive thoughts like "I shouldn't have eaten that" or "I need to workout, because I've gained too much weight" etc etc. Many women without ED's have these thoughts, so why wouldn't someone with an eating disorder have them?
I did ask them those questions sometimes and the answer were always "No, I never have those thoughts anymore."
Here's the thing; I don't 100% buy it. I consider myself fully recovered for almost 4/5 years and I can honestly say that I sometimes still have some intrusive thoughts. We live in a society of comparing, a prevalent diet culture, bikini models, influencers and so on.
You have to be a robot in order to not let if affect you in the slightest way. I think having intrusive thoughts once in while isn't something we should be ashamed of (Rini from Own it babe is my biggest inspiration when it comes to honesty about recovery and body image as an ED coach) and I rather be honest be you instead of being a fraud and tell you recovery is all rainbows and sunshine. It's about not acting upon those thoughts and OBVIOUSLY they're a rarity once you're recovered, but it does happen.
Life is hard in general and if you're an "ex eating disorder patient" you'll always have to be cautious of your actions when life throws you curveballs. I'm basically an ex-addict. Anorexia was my addiction and I thrived on restrictions and rules. It's in my DNA to fall back into old habits when things get tough, but the more aware you are, the less likely it will happen. It's a decision not to act upon those thoughts, because life is so much better without an eating disorder.
The neural rewiring will take place and takes up to approximately 5-7 years to fully set in. It's kind of like you're a professional athlete. If you're training your ass off, you will get better and after many years some movements will come naturally, even though you still have to work hard for it. I know I'll have even less body image issues in a few years if I keep continue this path of full recovery. I will mess up, because that's life. But I will never ever let it consume my life like I did. Not having any rituals or rules is such a breath of fresh hair.
Never going back there.