the food freedom lab 096

096. How To Keep Pushing Forward When Things Are HARD (and clothes are getting tight)

August 31, 2022

Ryann Nicole

Hi, I’m Ryann.

Your Not-So-Average Food Freedom Therapist & Virtual Coach. As a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Certified Nutritionist with a BA in Psychology, and a MA in Professional Counseling, yes I do a little of the "so how does that make you feel".

But my ultimate goal is to provide you with the resources you need, in an easy-to-understand way, on healing your disordered relationship with food and your body. 

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Binge Eating

Healthy Habits

Body Image

Emotional Eating

Mental Health 

One of the HARDEST parts of recovery is not knowing how your body is going to change and trusting the process if your body DOES. This is why I will not stop talking about writing down your ‘why’ before you start because, inevitably, there will be moments when you are experiencing discomfort in your body. There will be moments when you are questioning why you decided to start recovery, and there will be moments when you want to go back to the diet so badly. In those moments, you need to go back to your why again and again and again. 

I had one of you reach out to me about this, and I wanted to talk about it together because I know this isn't the only one of you with this question. This person said:

‘Ryann, please help! I have been in recovery for 2 months and am struggling with body changes. It is tough because I am experiencing so many positive things in recovery, like going out to eat with friends, keeping cookies in the house, and no longer binging. Still, when I get dressed and feel my clothes are tight, my brain immediately forgets all the positives, and I instantly feel terrible and lose motivation to keep moving forward. Help!’ 


The Food Freedom Lab Podcast

Episode 096

There’s no doubt about it. This is HARD. Honestly, in my opinion, it’s one of the most complex parts of recovery. We constantly get messages that a smaller body will solve all our problems.  So, when you are trying to heal your relationship with food, and it's uncomfortable, and there are a lot of emotions, and your pants are getting tighter, the  ‘WHY AM I DOING THIS?’ thought is super understandable! 

I always tell my clients right out of the gate to expect that, somewhere during their recovery, they will question why they started in the first place. This is not an easy journey, and that's why not everybody does it and completes it. But I do want to offer you some hope to keep moving forward because even though it may be uncomfortable now, it DOES get easier, and it DOES get better. 

Not to mention, I have yet to meet somebody who has truly healed their relationship with food and said, ‘This is worse. I want to go back to how I was before.’ This is worth repeating: I have NEVER met someone who has recovered from disordered eating and said they regret it. 

What You Need To Know

Even though staying in recovery is HARD and uncomfortable, returning to the food obsession, the diet-binge cycle, the missing out on life is also hard… and uncomfortable… most importantly, it WILL stay that way until you choose recovery. 

It's not about getting rid of the hard. It's about choosing the hard fight worth fighting for. I always recommend starting your healing journey by writing down your why. Once you have, ask yourself why you want that and why you want that, and continue this until you get to a ‘why’ that is so emotionally important to you. (even on the HARDEST recovery days), that it motivates you to keep going. 

Here are a few other game-changing tips I used to keep me motivated during recovery:

Start a win jar or a win journal

Anything, I mean ANYTHING that feels like a win, an accomplishment, or a huge deal to you…write that stuff down on a slip of paper and add it to the jar

  • You went out for dinner and didn't spiral into a binge. Add it to the jar 
  • You catch yourself hating your body and reframe your thoughts. Add it to the jar 
  • Or you eat 3 balanced meals at the table. Add it to the jar 
  • You get rid of your scale. Add it to the jar 
  • Let's say you bought chips, and they're in your house for more than a day. Add it to the jar 
  • You go to a wedding and allow yourself to enjoy the cake. Add it to the jar 

Join A Group

I know sharing that you are struggling is very vulnerable, and you would like to work on this alone. But as someone who tried it solo, on TWO separate occasions,  before joining a group, I can tell you firsthand that something about being with others on the same journey makes all the difference. 

I cannot recommend joining a group program or a support group. Not only do you have others to reach out to in those super tough moments, but you also have others on your team! The thought of telling my group that I binged was enough to hold me accountable at the beginning of recovery. 

Document Everything

Through journaling or video diaries, document EVERYTHING. Every moment, every feeling, every win, every struggle. 

On my rock bottom days, I would open up a photo booth on my mac (do you remember that? I don't even think that is a thing anymore! (insert smh emoji)). I would press record and say everything I was feeling at that moment. And on days where I thought it wasn’t worth it or that I couldn’t keep doing this… that it was just too hard, I would rewatch that video, and *BAM* it hit me every time to keep going. 

I also journaled a lot at the beginning of my recovery. I journaled a lot about my binges and got SPECIFIC: What I ate, felt, and missed out on — the amount of money I spent. 

And revisiting those pages on the hard days was another huge reminder not to stop recovery.

To Summarize:

I understand that staying in recovery is hard. But going back to the diet-binge cycle is ALSO hard. Either way, it's hard. So it's not about avoiding the hard it's about choosing a hard one worth the struggle, the discomfort, and the effort. The difference is recovery gets easier. Staying in the diet-binge cycle does not. 

Recovery is not about fixing yourself. It is not about getting the food ‘right.’ It is about healing your relationship with yourself and becoming more than your body size. Recovery is about believing you are more than the number on the scale. It is about choosing you. 

Each time you choose, you're growing, moving forward, and one step closer to getting your life back. This journey is HARD, and that's why not everybody recovers. Not everybody is willing to go through this process, but because you are listening to this, I know you are. 

What might happen if…

What might happen if the next time you put on your pants, and they feel tight – you remind yourself

  • I am so much more than my body 
  • I am recovering; my body is learning how to trust me again 
  • I might not love this, AND I can still respect and care for my body 

What might happen if you have doubts about continuing recovery and you pull out your ‘why?' You reach out? Or you read an old journal entry? 

What might happen if you choose the hard of recovery over the hard of staying in the diet-binge cycle? 

We don't know until you try. 

Disclaimer: If you have or suspect that you have an eating disorder, be sure to get in touch with a qualified healthcare professional immediately. If you are in the United States and experiencing a medical or health emergency, please call 911 or call for appropriate emergency medical help. 

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Your Not-So-Average Food Freedom Therapist & Virtual Coach