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You Need to Value Your Mental Health Over Your Ideal Body

When you struggle with food, body, and disordered eating, it’s often because your intention to change or overcome certain patterns is based in fear and the number on the scale, not genuine well-being and transformation. This is why it’s so important to value your mental health over your ideal body. As long as your priority is your looks and pants size, not your mental and emotional well-being, it’s likely that you’ll actually stay stuck in the fight with food and body, and you may even harm your recovery efforts.

In the journey to overcome disordered eating and maintain recovery, it’s not uncommon to sacrifice mental health for body image and the rules and restrictions that can lead to “success.” Unfortunately this is not sustainable and can block real, lasting recovery.

When I was at the peak of my own struggle with binge eating and hating my body, I was terrified at the concept of valuing anything over my desire to look perfect, even my own mental health. I thought that if I didn’t adhere to insane rules and regimens, and instead tried to focus on self-love and emotional well-being, I would gain three hundred pounds. Back then, I had such little trust in myself, and I didn’t understand how important mental health is to not only overcoming the struggle and progressing on the path of recovery, but for happiness in general.

Valuing Mental Health

There are numerous reasons why valuing your mental health over the perfect body are so important when it comes to recovery:

  • For one, in order to maintain consistent recovery and healing, your why needs to be powerful and personal. The number on the scale is not the type of why that will get you through the most difficult days, but your literal mental health is definitely the type of motivator that fuels determination.
  • You can’t control your body. Meaning, we all have different body types, sizes, weights, frames, and general DNA. Some of us will never be a size two. Others can eat take out every single day and be incredibly thin. Stop trying to control something that you will never be able to fully control.
  • Mind over misbehaving. Recovery is easier with a clear, strong mind. Disordered eating is usually accompanied by a “loss of control” or some sort of behavioral autopilot. When you’re on top of your mental well-being game, it’s easier to overcome the stray impulses or cravings that could potentially derail your recovery.

In order to shift your priority from the ideal body to your mental health, you need to ask yourself, “How much is this costing me?” How much is it costing you to wake up every day and care more about the number on the scale than your mental and emotional health? How much is it costing your recovery to do this?

Is your energy depleted by constantly living in a state of anxiety to be a certain way?

Are you always overwhelmed with fear and loathing because of how you look?

Have your relationships (romantic or platonic) taken a hit because you care more about hitting your body goals than spending time with your loved ones?

Are you so obsessed with your size that the thought of weight loss and dieting seems way more important than recovery?

How to Change to a Healthy Mindset

If you find that this is the case, it’s time to set a new intention for yourself. Envision how you want to live, feel, and be when it comes to your health and wellbeing. What does valuing your mental health look like to you? How does it make you feel? How does it change your current thoughts and behaviors?

Don’t get stuck in the mindset of allowing your ideal body to take priority over your mental well-being. Value your mental health – value it so much that it becomes one of your top priorities, not just in recovery, but in living your day-to-day life. Your life is worth so much more than the pain, fear, and anxiety caused by obsessing over the ideal body. Life is short, and spending it on fighting food, hating your body, and sacrificing your mental and emotional health–or your recovery altogether–is doing you a great disservice. Instead, shift your intention, recalibrate your priorities, and value what really matters at the end of the day.


Photos Courtesy of Shutterstock

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