My Commitment to Myself & My Nutritionist
I've seen a lot of treatment professionals in my lifetime. One of the ones that made the biggest difference in my life was Debra Grossano, the last nutritionist that I ever needed. During my first meeting with her she assigned me the homework of writing a commitment to her and, more importantly, to myself, that I would work to nourish my body and beat my eating disorder. If I wasn't willing to do this, then what was the point of seeing her in the first place? I would be wasting both of our time and my money.
I love this kind of no-BS, no-nonsense, matter-of-fact, shit-or-get-off-the-pot, support and it is largely how I coach. Your life is your life. Your recovery is your recovery. Your happiness is your happiness. If you want all of that, you have to work for all of that. Other people will be there to support, hold, and help you along the way. But in the end, this one is on you. Everyone is fighting their own battles: this is yours and you are totally ready for it.
Here was my commitment:
A definition of potential: “Currently unfulfilled capacity to improve, develop, and achieve impressive feats.”
It seems that everyone that comes in contact with me sees in me great potential. Whether it’s my biology professor who sees a potential doctor in me and is urging me to go to medical school, or my yoga instructors who see a potentially great instructor in me, or my numerous treatment teams who see a drive and competence in me that is perfect for overcoming an eating disorder, nearly everyone sees potential in me. I like that I come across as intelligent, strong, and competent and at the same time I hate the pressure that comes with all of it.
A big part of me can take a step back and look at myself and see the same potential in me. And a similarly big part of me is scared to death of that. I’m afraid that I will not live up to the expectations of myself and others. I’m afraid that in the end I’ll fail and a lot of times I feel like it’s easier to let go and stop trying, than to try really hard only to fall far and fail in the end.
I’m intelligent. I’m interested in a lot of things. I’m good at most things that I try. Because of all of this I can never make up my mind on what it is that I actually want to make of myself. I feel like there is so much going on inside of me that I cannot channel. Clearly I have trouble living in the present. I’ve always been future-oriented because I’ve always been unhappy with myself and where I am in life. Focusing on a future that is free of everything that weighs me down right now is so much nicer.
There is a part of me that is holding onto the belief that I can accomplish everything that I want to living as I do now, with my eating disorder. That way, I’ll always be close enough to a way out of life if I need to. I can achieve and achieve at a dangerously low weight, or with a dangerously low immune system, so that if I ever feel like I’m done and don’t want to try anymore, I don’t have far to fall.
The first of the 12-steps is “We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable.” I have so much trouble admitting that I am powerless over anorexia and that my life is unmanageable because I feel like I’m still fighting. I’m still living. I’m still maintaining a 4.0 GPA and getting up in the morning.
But my life is so routine; it’s so mundane. I am powerless over anorexia and while my life may seem manageable right now, in any second it can turn chaotic. At any second my body can give out, I can wind up back inpatient, or in an actual hospital, and then my life will be unmanageable.
As scared as I am of my potential I never want to lose it. Not eating the way that I should and not nourishing my body will hurt my mind and eat away at my potential. I may have a hard time deciding on what it is I want to make of my life and what meaning my life has, I may be scared of all of the possibilities and of failure, but failure is inevitable if I do not have my physical health. The mind cannot exist with a body.
As of now, and like I said, ask me again in a few months and it might be different, I want to be a yoga instructor. I also want to be a psychologist and ultimately bridge the two. To do this my body will essentially be a teaching tool that needs to be in good condition and needs to work. You would never teach someone to ride a bike on a broken one. I want to overcome my eating disorder so that, no matter which way I choose to do it, I can help other girls overcome theirs. On top of all of that, I want to be a reliable daughter, and sister, and friend, and someday a good mother and wife.
I cannot be a good yoga instructor without taking care of my body. I cannot be a good psychologist without taking care of my mind. I cannot be reliable if I am lying to myself and others to keep this disorder and if my health can fail at any moment. I cannot be a good mother if I cannot have children in the first place and if I’m too preoccupied with myself to care for them. To try to do any of this with my eating disorder would be setting myself up for failure and it would also make me a hypocrite. I cannot tolerate not being good at what I do in life, I cannot tolerate letting people down, and I cannot live happily knowing that I’m preaching something I cannot follow myself.
Therefore, I am making a commitment to you, and myself, to nourish my body so that I can transcend the physical and work on what is at the root of my eating disorder in order to grasp my potential and use it to make myself into a healthy, fully functioning, complete woman.
Are you willing to make your commitment? If so, I want to hear it! Write your own and send it to me here. I will write you back.