Sick as your secrets: Honesty in recovery

It pays to be honest, but it’s slow pay” –Proverb

Honesty, something that is severely lacking in the face of an eating disorder. Eating disorders will use lies, half-truths, lies-by omissions and whatever it can in order to ensure its survival. The Truth is, we are as sick as our secrets; the more we choose not to tell, cover-up, or lie about things relating to our recovery, the more the eating gains ground and persists. I truly believe that nobody can begin to genuinely recover until they start being completely honest with everyone concerned with their recovery. Dishonesty is used to maintain an eating disorder, Honesty is used to maintain yourself and your longevity. So what does dishonesty look like?

  1. 1.      “Oh, I already ate” or “I ate my lunch early today” “I had a larger lunch than normal, that’s why my dinner portion is smaller” the list of these go on and on.
  2. 2.      Lying about adhering fully to whatever meal-plan or calorie allotment that has been given to you.
  3. 3.      Leaving out bits of food and dirty dishes to make it appear as if you have eaten
  4. 4.      Working out or purging in secret
  5. 5.      Lying about engaging in recent eating disordered behaviors. (i.e. I haven’t thrown up since X when you may have earlier that morning, etc.)
  6. 6.      “I’m doing exactly what my recovery team is telling me” -when you aren’t
  7. 7.      Hiding food for a binge of hiding food wrappers from a binge
  8. 8.      Hiding laxatives, water-pills, etc. and taking them in secret
  9. 9.      “Water-loading” at weigh-ins to make it appear as though you are progressing when you aren’t. Other forms of weigh-in manipulation also count like coins-in-pockets, heavy jewelry, etc.

Dishonesty takes many different forms. Many I know I probably did not mention on this list.

The scariest thing about dishonesty is that eventually, the truth will reveal itself. However, it is up to you as to how you let the truth be revealed. In my personal experience, it is best if you come out, be brave, and be truthful about how much you have been dishonest. Yeah, it won’t be fun. Trust will be shaken and—very likely—lost. People, initially, will not be happy with you. They, most likely—will be angry and maybe even scared. But seriously, after the initial shock of being deceived passes, most everyone will see you coming clean as a positive step toward your progress. Being truthful about how and where you are struggling opens up the opportunity to develop a stronger action plan in the fight against your eating disorder. It also enables you to see the individuals, of your support team, who really do want to fight by your side even when it hurts. In the long run, honesty does pay you back many times over, but at first, it really won’t seem like it. In fact, the second you become honest, you may wish you never had in the first place due to the initial negative repercussions. You will start to be held more accountable and people will become more persistent in getting down to the truth. You may even feel like a grounded 11 year old who can’t do anything by him or herself. But if it gets you to the next stages of recovery and that much closer to life without your eating disorder…it has got to be worth every bit of the initial discomfort. At least I think so.


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