I passed a sign today that read, "Hope is hard work." I certainly agree.
I had some setbacks in my recovery lately. To be honest, it caught me by surprise. I didn't expect that in trying to recover, I would have such jarring relapses. Fortunately, I have people by my side to tell me that this is just a part of the process. Progress not perfection.
After some difficult days, I brought myself back to regular nourishment with gentleness and self-compassion. I attempted to keep it simple, as to not be overwhelmed by stepping back into recovered behavior. So my mantra was, "Honor your hunger." And that's what I did. I just really opened myself up to my body's cues of hunger, and tried to respond sensibly.
I have to remind myself on hard days, that my goal is to eat like a normal person. This includes foods that nourish my body - as well as foods that are pleasurable. In some aspects of our culture, the parts that I used to be really into, ("healthy"/clean/whatever/disordered eating) food is only supposed to be fuel. But food is intended to be more than that. It's enjoyable by design, and denying that leads us into a cycle of deprivation and detachment from our bodies. It's important that our mental health is considered in feeding ourselves and existing in our bodies. I know that when I was in the thick of disordered eating, I was so obsessed with only eating "permissible foods" that it overtook my thoughts, habits, and perspective. It effectively colored my entire life.
I guess you can say I'm still very much figuring out how to be a person. I'm trying to relearn those parts of myself that look outward to determine my worth and my ability to be okay. I'm trying to be gracious as I see the parts of myself that struggle, knowing that this too is a part of the process. It's okay to be in this body - and it's beneficial to trust my body's signals. Rigidity about my food and body has only led to pain and sorrow. What I want - and what I'll keep working towards - is freedom from a cycle that steals my joy.
I know that hope is hard work. And I know that I'm willing to do the hard work to keep on going. Recovery is possible. One day at a time.