If you are a current client at Untamed Nutrition Therapy, then you will not be surprised that this is not a blog about making New Year’s resolutions. Nor is it a motivational bit about “how to stick to your goals in 2024.” I am writing this particular piece in order to share what has been most meaningful for me when I reflect on my 12 years in recovery. We all like to reflect at the end of the year, right?
If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I have a personal journey with recovery. As one might expect, it has often felt meaningful for me to reflect on what I have gained and what I have been able to accomplish since being recovered. In contrast, I have found it equally impactful to remember what I have let go of. Below, I am sharing seven things I have let go of (and still working on) that have had the biggest impact on my continued recovery and journey in discovering myself.
The scale - do I need to go into it? Probably not, but I will share regardless. This one is obvious for anyone that is currently in eating disorder treatment and/or recovery. We all know the demons created by having easy access to a body weight scale, especially if your brain is highly driven, analytical, and desires a sense of success. Our brains often associate numbers with achievement, even if no one else sees these numbers. The scale holds a lot of unnecessary power. If you’re still hanging on to a scale… let it go. Yes, the unknown is scary. And you can do it.
The watch - big sigh. This was such a journey for me and one that I still have to check myself on from time to time. I am a runner. I love running for the way it makes my body feel, for the health of my cardiovascular system, and the way it connects me to nature. I do wear a watch while running. I take the watch off after running. This is accountability I have learned to hold myself to. I have vowed to not wear a watch all day. This keeps my brain from wanting to check steps and miles and all the multitude of things our gadgets track. On that same note, I have NEVER had the health app on my phone enabled. I refuse to let these gadgets determine my success and self value.
Social media - I was without social media for 7 years. It was such a blessing to attend a gathering and actually be able to hold a conversation with someone and have genuine surprise about their life because I wasn’t seeing it on social media. Over the last year, I have used social media a tiny bit for my practice and have rediscovered the toxicity of it. Historically, I used social media to compare my body and my food choices to others. Then I was comparing my house, my career, my vacations. After getting back on social media for a year I realized I was starting to compare my parenting style and what activities I was doing with my child. I also found myself doing more mindless scrolling. Social media is a toxic trap. The prevalence of anxiety, depression, and eating disorders has skyrocketed with the increased use of social media. Get rid of it… you don’t need it.
Comparison - as humans we are wired to compare. We are social and tribal beings. We love being a part of something bigger than us, which means we are always unconsciously scanning and analyzing if we fit into that bigger equation. Some comparison is necessary and normal. Others (i.e comparing your body, your goals, your “success”) is not all that helpful and not fair to yourself. You are a unique being. There will never be another person exactly like you. So why compare yourself to others who are not you? You are doing yourself a disservice and focusing on the wrong things. Comparison is a distraction and takes you away from life giving activities. If you are struggling with debilitating comparison, talk with your therapist about it. You have protective parts that are needing attention and a voice. We can all heal these protective parts.
Perfectionism - oh boy. I could go on and on about my own perfectionism. This is something I was taught from a young age from being a gymnast and being the people pleaser in my home. This will be a lifelong battle for me and something I check myself on daily. I often use the safe people around me to ask “am I being a perfectionist right now?” My perfectionism is tightly connected to my strong inner critic voice, which I am still learning more about. Awareness is the first tool, then learning how to challenge the voice and next, deciding what you’re willing to let go of. I have had to let go of being perfect; as a woman, a daughter, a spouse, a mom, and a provider. I make mistakes and that is actually what makes me unique.
People pleasing - another life long battle for me. My people pleasing started from a young age, as the emotional smoother in my family. I felt responsible for managing my family’s emotional state, which meant I was constantly trying to please them. I still struggle with this today and have to check myself on saying yes too often, struggling to tell others my needs, and feeling discomfort when I feel that I have let others down. This is not an easy one and I will continue to work on this in therapy. I encourage you to do the same if this is hitting home.
My taming - ahhhh, this is what Untamed is all about. Named after listening to and reading Glennon Doyle’s book Untamed, my practice’s value is to become untamed from society’s taming process. Disordered eating, eating disorders, diet culture, unrealistic beauty standards, fashion standards; these are all a part of the societal taming process. We are taught so many narratives about perfectionism, meeting certain standards, and looking a certain way. I love helping individuals unpack their own taming. How freeing is it to think about being “untamed”? You get to live this life authentically you. You get to untame yourself and start living your most authentic life.
I encourage you to think of your own letting go list going into 2024. There are things worthy to leave behind in order to move forward. I would love to hear what others are working on leaving behind, so leave a comment if you feel compelled. See you all in 2024!