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Why All-In Eating Disorder Recovery is Worth It, Athlete or Not

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

“All in” eating disorder recovery is a common phrase in the community of eating disorders because it reflects the mindset toward giving all your effort to recovery. The impulse to put one foot in and one foot out of recovery is common because, as we all know, the eating disorder plays a significant role in your life related to feelings of control, safety, or love. But it lies to you and keeps you stuck.


When I talk to clients about giving all of their focus to recovery, I often talk about all the wonderful things that recovery brings. I want to share those benefits with you today and give you hope that going all-in is more than worth the hard work that it requires!





Mental Clarity


Firstly, all-in eating disorder recovery gives you the opportunity for so much mental clarity. This first step brings wonderful peace and it opens up your world again. When the eating disorder takes over your thought processes and clouds your judgment, your world shrinks. All you can think about or focus on is you - your body, your food, your exercise. Ironically, it takes away YOU even as you focus on yourself.


I hear clients talk about the mental clarity of recovery like I imagine Saul felt in Acts 9:18 when the scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. God opened his eyes to the truth and he truly saw and understood. What a gift! And the Lord wants this for you too. He desires for your full recovery, for you to stop believing lies and step into your God-given identity. Oh, and hold tight to the promise we all behold in the whole of Scripture - our God is faithful and never forsakes us. He is with us wherever we go (Joshua 1:9).


More Space


Secondly, and similarly, with more mental clarity and a bigger world you have more space. More space for learning about God and for communing with Him. Isn’t that what the Christian life is all about?


In the depths of an eating disorder - particularly when restriction is part of your story - your brain shrinks in order to survive. It literally shrinks! You are not able to focus because your brain doesn’t have the capacity to. You can’t even consider being with friends, studying, or growing spiritually because your body and brain are just trying to survive.


But there is hope! In recovery, and going all-in on that concept, restores and brings healing to the body and brain. What a beautiful gift that the Lord has allowed! You are not broken beyond repair, yet with the Lord’s help and your hard work, you can have the space for spiritual growth again.


Less Focus on Self


Finally, when you give all-in effort to recovery it gives you back your focus. I hear a lot from clients that they feel burdened and guilty for thinking about themselves all the time when the eating disorder is really loud. But in recovery, you can see the world again through a biblical worldview. Recovery gives you a way to focus on others and put your effort toward things that I know so many of you would rather be focusing on - community, serving, truly living!


I hear it so often from clients and those in recovery that life on the other side of an eating disorder is worth any sort of heartache or discomfort that breaking from the eating disorder requires. Recovery gives you your life back!


Final Thoughts


Going “all-in” on eating disorder recovery is in your best interest. God wants you to flourish as you love him and others (and so do I). So many people are rooting for you! Recovery brings YOU back. It allows you to have perspective again and brings a whole new life to you. And because God is with you always and continues to work all things for your good and His glory (Romans 8:28), none of your story will be in vain! He will use your story to bring hope, peace, and grit to others walking a similar road. Plus, he promises to finish the good work started in you (Philippians 1:6)! Keep going, persevere, be strong.


 

Christa is a Registered Dietitian who recently received her Diploma in Sports Nutrition from the International Olympic Committee. She has spent many supervised hours learning about eating disorders and the impact they have. She has worked with many athletes and individuals recovering from eating disorders and primarily focuses on Christian athletes in her private practice, Christa Smith Nutrition. You can find her on Instagram @christasmithnutrition and her blog at gracelacedwellness.com


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