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On The Food Freedom Lab Podcast today, I am chatting with Polina Galina, otherwise known as @recovery.of.p to pick her brain on all things eating disorder recovery. Guest Polina dives deep into her story of struggling with anorexia nervosa and how she has found recovery. Polina has created an INCREDIBLE platform on Instagram to share her story and help other women going through the same struggle she did to also find recovery. Polina not only shares about anorexia – but informs her followers of all things recovery and diet culture!
“recovery is about going all in. It is about doing things you know you need to do, even when they are uncomfortable because you know it will bring better days ahead” – Polina Galina
I am so excited to welcome Polina to The Food Freedom Lab today to talk about what recovering from an eating disorder is actually like. If you are struggling with an eating disorder and feel hopeless in getting through it, this episode is a must-listen to!
WHO IS POLINA GALINA?
WHEN DID THE EATING DISORDER START? AND WHEN DID IT BECOME A PROBLEM?
Polina shares that her body-obsessive thoughts started subconsciously at a young age. She talks about how she felt like she had subtle thoughts about her body and the food she was eating here and there, but the eating disorder did not fully manifest until her first year at university. Polina explains that it all started from wanting to be healthier (as most eating disorders start) however, the tables turned extremely fast. Soon it became more than just a health change and a toxic obsession.
When Polina's parents visited her for the first time since she was at university, the problem was recognized. Polina went to a doctor, and she was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. After hearing that diagnosis, Polina was in utter disbelief and denial.
Because of the denial, Polina made a deal with her parents that she would go to the hospital by her birthday (4 months from the doctor's appointment) if she did not put on weight. April rolled around, and Polina was still struggling; however, all available hospital programs were closed due to COIVD. So, Polina had to choose recovery even though she couldn't go to a hospital or therapy program.
Polina moved back with her parents; they have been extremely supportive in helping her, and she has been in recovery for over 6 months.
WHEN DID POLINA RECOGNIZE THIS WAS SOMETHING SHE COULDN'T TACKLE ON HER OWN?
Polina states she started having little breakdowns of realizing defeating this was too hard for her to do on her own. Then, Polina had her first binge, which spiraled things out of control in an entirely different direction. Polina constantly fought with the ED voice in her head and her own voice wanting recovery. One day Polina woke up and thought, “What am I going to do? I can't keep living like this.” And from that moment on, that's when the real recovery began.
WHAT WERE THE BEGINNING STAGES OF RECOVERY LIKE?
Polina saw a psychologist and a nutritionist. Because Polina's weight was so low, she was put on a meal plan and was not allowed to exercise. Along with this, she attended weekly meetings with the psychologist where she would check in on how she was doing and have a weekly weigh-in. Polina wanted to go to a group program; however, because of COVID, her recovery looked a little bit different than she would have liked. However, it was enough to work for her!
HOW POLINA COPED WITH WEIGHT GAIN
Because Polina was at such a low weight, she was required to gain weight for health reasons. Although this was tough, Polina states that she coped with it by…
- recognizing that not every day is going to feel great or be amazing
- reminding herself of the benefits of recovery and of her why
- separating the ED voice from her own voice when it came around
- constantly challenging any negative or toxic thoughts she had
- following positive social media accounts and unfollowing toxic social media accounts
- having a list of supportive people to reach out to when struggling
WHAT HELPS ON THE HARD DAYS OF RECOVERY – WHEN THE ED VOICE IS STRONGER THAN YOUR OWN?
Anyone who has or has had an eating disorder understands how loud the voice in your head telling you to go back to your old behaviors can be. Recovery is NOT a walk in the park, and sometimes it can feel like there are more hard days than easy ones. Here are four things that help Polina on the hard days:
- Reaching out ALWAYS! It's not always about getting advice, but rather just knowing that someone else is there, so you don't feel so alone
- Along with reaching out and expressing your feelings rather than keeping them inside. This can be expressing them with somebody else or journaling about them! Any way that helps to get them out of your head
- Ask yourself, “Is going back to that place worth it?”
- Reminding yourself of the bigger picture
TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED IN RECOVERY
- Know it is possible
- Remind yourself of your why
- Remind yourself of the horrible things your ED had done to you or taken away from you
- Know you deserve to enjoy all the things life has to offer
- Say to yourself, “Do I want to be in this place 20 years from now? 10 years from now? Even 6 months from now?
- Tell people around you what is going on
MORE FROM POLINA’S EPISODE:
How do you communicate your eating disorder to other people? How do you work through fear foods? What are some daily things you can do to support your recovery? And soooo much more! Press play on the player above to listen now!
Connect with Polina on Instagram at @recovery.of.p or on TikTok here.