Setting Goals in Recovery

stepping-stones

It’s so important to set the right goals when you begin recovery. I delayed my own recovery by setting the wrong goals and having the wrong expectations. My original goal was to lose weight – specifically, I wanted to lose 5 lbs. per month. My expectation was that if I reduced my binges every week and started exercising, I would lose weight. You can imagine my extreme disappointment when, week after week, the scale went in the opposite direction. I was still gaining weight. It was hard to keep fighting the urge to binge when I wasn’t seeing any positive results. But about a month in, it finally hit me. I should not be expecting weight loss; I should be expecting slower weight gain. 

Since I was gaining 5 to 7 lbs. every month while binging multiple times a day about 6 days a week, when I was finally able to reduce my weekly binges to half that, I was still gaining 2 to 3 lbs. every month. I considered that a failure, but now I know that slower weight gain is still a significant achievement. It makes sense – going from steady weight gain to steady weight loss at the beginning of recovery is a quantum leap.

The right goal for me had nothing to do with weight loss. The right goal for me was to reduce my number of binges per week. I didn’t focus on calories or follow a diet. My first goal was to reduce my binges to 4 days a week, followed by 3 days a week, then 2 days a week, and finally to have no more out-of-control-feeding-frenzy binges. Instead, I now allow myself 2 days a week to indulge more than I need or should, but my goal is to ensure that I don’t fall back into binging.

I am now 3½ months into recovery and guess what? I still haven’t lost a single pound. But that’s okay. I definitely get frustrated about this some days (especially after I’ve really pushed myself to have a good week), but the most important change is that I’m starting to get my life back. Would I like to eventually lose some of the weight I put on? Absolutely! But my primary goal right now is to maintain my progress – I’ve come a long way, and falling back into the deep, dark pit of binge eating disorder is far, far worse than carrying a bit of unwanted weight.

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