Karen's Blogs

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational, and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life. Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

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Hurry Up and Wait


My mother had a saying, “hurry up and wait,” which I’m reminded of working with my dysregulated eating clients. I confess I looked the phrase up recently and chuckled at how true it is. Humans spend an inordinate amount of time pushing ourselves to move quickly to get something done, only to find that when it is, we’re still stuck waiting. The best example is rushing to get to the doctor’s office, only to find yourself sitting in the aptly named waiting room for a good long time before being escorted into their office.

This phenomenon happens on the road to any kind of recovery: alcohol, drugs, food, etc. In the case of eating disorders, people place an undue amount of pressure on themselves to get where they want to go, which is, more often than not, to a number on the scale. Occasionally, it’s a clothing size, but generally clients are rushing toward seeing less of themselves—in the mirror, of course. 

What they don’t realize is that the weight might come off quickly (though that’s a rarity for anyone who’s dieted on and off for most of their life), but they still need to wait for the skills needed to manage life more effectively and take better care of themselves. Not just with food, but in general. Just as, according to Diana Ross and the Supremes sang, “You can’t hurry love,” you also can’t hurry recovery. 

In fact, whenever you try to hurry it along, what happens? Whenever you prematurely think, “I’m there, easy-peasy, I’ve got this,” something occurs to prove you wrong. You have a binge or start restricting food in fear of having one. You resume weighing yourself or begin regaining weight you lost. These are signs you’re not recovered completely. Don’t view them as failures, but as signposts that there’s more to learn.

And that’s where the waiting comes in. To grow healthier, you need lots of experience around challenging foods. Enough holiday fetes and family gatherings. Enough meals out with friends and at-work celebrations. Enough lonely nights when you’re sad or despairing. Enough blow-ups, betrayals, and rejections. Enough misery to test out your new skills with eating and life. Enough trips past the candy machine at work.

So, if you’ve been doing the “hurry up and wait” thing during your recovery from your eating problems, slow down. Pace yourself. Make it a point to practice patience, perhaps above all else. Recognize your frustration at dawdling through recovery. Self-soothe when you’re not where you want to be and remind yourself that recovery takes time and that’s natural and okay. Talk yourself down from warp speed and tune into slow and steady wins the day.




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