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Ed is that unwelcome guest at holiday occasions. He inevitably shows up at each festivity, and he ruins everything. At least, that was my victim thinking many years ago. I blamed Ed, because it was easier and less scary than being accountable for myself.

Ed is not a crazy ex-boyfriend but my ex-eating disorder. In therapy, I learned to treat anorexia nervosa, which I named Ed (an acronym for “eating disorder”), like a relationship — rather than an illness or a condition. Personifying my eating disorder helped me to separate from it and to make room for the real me.

Eating Disorders are Real

No one chooses to have an eating disorder — a real, life-threatening illness — but we can make decisions along the way to get better. A key component to my healing was stepping into a place of accountability instead of blaming Ed. We can’t change Ed, but I have learned that we can change ourselves. This recovery concept is particularly helpful during the holiday season when food and weight — from Halloween candy to the Thanksgiving smorgasbord to New Year’s dieting resolutions—gain an even larger focus in our already image-obsessed culture.

Years ago, I learned that if I binged at a holiday party, I needed to stop complaining that “Ed made me do it.” Instead, I needed to gain the strength to say, “Ed told me to binge, and I agreed. I obeyed him.”

Sure, Ed tosses out deleterious suggestions, and if we agree, misery results — time and time again. But if we stop agreeing and start disobeying, we can begin to taste freedom. (No pun intended.)

Read the full post on The Meadows Ranch blog.

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