When we pick up the broken pieces of ourselves and venture out on the road to recovery we often have a vision of what we hope for at the end. We want, of course, to be sober. We want to shed the shame and guilt and exchange it for confidence and hope. We want to turn in the financial distress and exchange it for financial security. And, quite often in recovery, we want our bodies to heal and look a certain way. We are given a vision of what “healthy” physically looks like and hope to design our bodies around that.
This blog post is to remind you that in order to get to the end of the health road, you need to walk the full path that will get you there. In a society that bombards us with the idea that we need to look a certain way to express health, what health actually looks like can get super confusing.
Here is the truth:
Rest of Body SECOND.
When you enter the fantastic journey of sobriety it is important to remember that your brain is going through a bunch of changes. You are taking the substance out. You are putting new, healthy, and CHALLENGING coping mechanisms in. Focus on developing those new coping mechanisms and rewiring your brain, do not get distracted by the image of what health is supposed to look like in regards to pant size.
While my story is only anecdotal, I have about 7 years experience in the addiction-recovery world and about 15 years of fitness and nutrition experience. I have been all over the board physically and mentally. From not functional from anxiety to excelling in school and my career. From 50 lbs overweight to 20 lbs underweight to elite athlete.
The foundation of all of your health is your brain.
Your sobriety is key. It is much easier to shed the extra pounds than to undo the wreckage of a relapse. Moreover, rewiring your brain and upgrading your coping mechanisms is the essential foundation for not only your mental health but ALSO your physical health. You are much less likely to yo-yo diet or struggle with finding nutrition and exercise consistency if you have solid self esteem and mental stability.
To the women especially (social media and society likes to target us a little extra) but really to any folks who are battling what’s in the mirror, please let go. Please listen to my words when you can’t listen to your own head. Your brain is your priority right now. THAT is the part of your body that you need to fixate on. I promise you, I promise you with all my years of experience that your body will follow after you heal your brain.
Those extra pounds that you might see showing up right now are a sign that your brain is healing. An extra curve built on your body is reflective of the extra boundary that you’re building between you and your unhealthy relationships. A size up in your pants is a badge of honor that you’re learning to regulate your emotions without any outside substance to aid you.
So worry less about the weight on the scale and focus more on the weight in your head. You are at the start of a powerful journey, give your brain the attention and respect it deserves.