Recovery: Here’s to 2020!

“It’s not full recovery when impulses such as over-exercising still actively control you. Although appearing to be ‘healthy’, I was trapped in a cycle of unhealthy rituals instead of allowing life to just happen.”

What I learned in recovery during 2019, and my hopes for the future!”

I’m kicking 2020 off with a wonderful guest post by Ash. Much like myself, Ash has been through an eating disorder and is learning to navigate life without it. She understands the difficult ins and outs of recovery, the ridiculous impulses, and the downright mad behvaiours.

About the author.

Aisling (pronounced Ash-ling) is a 23-year old Irish blogger from This Dreams Alive and Prickly Pineapples. She’s passionate about mental health, eco-friendly living, books, and coffee.

“2019 was my best recovery year so far. Here’s to 2020!”

By Ash.

2019 was my biggest recovery year yet. It was the year I regained an almost normal relationship with food.

Since first “recovering” from the eating disorder, I’d let go of old behaviours such as restricting or intense physical activity. However, I still led quite a controlled life. I still carefully monitored what I ate and had very specific rules that I’d follow, such as exercising several times a week even when I didn’t feel like it. Although this could be considered a “healthy lifestyle”, in terms of eating disorder recovery it’s still considered unhelpful behaviour.

It’s not full recovery when impulses such as over-exercising still actively control you. Although appearing to be ‘healthy’, I was trapped in a cycle of unhealthy rituals instead of allowing life to just happen.”

In 2019 something changes. I started letting my hair down. If I met my friends after a late shift, I’d pick up food in the chipper because nowhere else was open. It’s quick, easy, and cheap, and I actually like a big bag of greasy chops sometimes. Although it’s not exactly good for my body, it’s good for my soul. I’d even get twisty fries in McDonald’s when I felt like it, or eat chips and dip. These are all foods I loved when I was a teenager but have spent my adult life forbidding myself from eating.

Here’s what I discovered about myself, my relationship with my body and with food.

I didn’t blow up.

My body hasn’t changed since letting my hair down. Even if it did, it’s not the end of the world. My body is a vessel to carry me through this life, it’s not who I am.

My mind was the only thing blown by how little my body actually changed!
I still lead a healthy lifestyle.

I might not exercise every day, but when I’m not active for a long time I start to miss how being active made me feel. Now I exercise for the endorphins and health benefits, and not to look a certain way or to punish myself. My diet is still pretty healthy most days, and the days where it’s not so good won’t kill me.

Doughnuts & broccoli are both healthy!
I’m not fighting against life just happening.

Sometimes you want to go to the gym but wake up with a cold, instead of forcing myself to go, I let myself rest and recover. Sometimes you don’t hit your 5-a-day or have a perfect macro-ratio because of unexpected plans and that’s fine too.

The category is: Live!
Life’s too short to never have chocolate!
“It’s not always easy, sometimes I eat something and feel all the anxiety and dread over again. However, it’s not as intense as when I was in the peak of my eating disorder or in the first stages of recovery.”

Sitting my with friends in a bar with a bag of chips and having a nice night is worth more than me going home to make a healthy meal and not see them at all. My ED robbed the first few years of my adult life, it’s not stealing the rest of my 20s!

It was a challenge. My ED is very much a coping mechanism and things that would have previously caused a relapse didn’t trigger me like I was worried they would this year. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t care about what happened; by all accounts, 2019 was terrible. My ED simply lost its power over me. As coping mechanisms like eating disorders and self-harm become another issue to deal with, on top of the issues that drove you to them in the first place, I’m now able to deal with what life throws at me head-on.

What I hope for in 2020.

I’d love to be able to eat more intuitively in 2020. Most people actually can’t eat intuitively after childhood because diet culture tarnishes our relationship with food and our connection to our body. Full intuitive eating might be too big of a stretch for 2020 but I definitely want to give it a try.

Studying nutrition has been very healing because it’s debunked so many diet culture myths. There’s no such thing as “good” and “bad” food, it’s all about the quantity. Most of our energy actually comes from carbs, so these “no carb”, “no fat”, “no sugar”, “no salt” diets aren’t founded in nutrition! Our bodies need all of these food groups.

Whether or not there will ever come a day that pre-eating disorder me will fully return, I’m confident I can get to a point where it’s barely there anymore. Right now most days my ED voice is silent.

Do you have any hopes for 2020?

Recovery related or otherwise? What would you like to see or make happen with your own life?

Be sure to check out Ash’s Blog!


  1. I think it’s all about the positive attitude and positive steps you are taking towards recovery.

  2. Thank you so much for stopping in and reading Ash’s post. She’s done so well in her recovery and I can’t wait to see where 2020 takes her!

  3. Thank you so much for reading. I really hope this post, along with others on the blog, help to inspire you and keep you motivated. I’m still very much in recovery, however Ash (the author of this post) is bossing her recovery in ways I can only dream of. Hang in there! x

  4. I hope so too. I hope they never have to go through hating their bodies in the first place. Thank you so much for reading Ash’s post and for commenting.

  5. That’s a great result, though. Going from such a poor relationship to thriving and even being certified as a holistic nutritionist! That’s amazing. I’m sorry that it took such a dramatic loss though.

    Thank you so much for stopping in and reading Ash’s article.

  6. Thank you very much for reading. Ash is a real inspiration of mine because she’s been riding the same wave I have, and has come out the other side. Of course, she’s still very much recovering as I am, but she’s bossed it so far!

  7. Enjoyed the post and here is to an amazing 202 for you! I too am setting my goals high and appreciate you sharing. Very interesting read 🙂

  8. Congratulations on your recovery! I totally resonate with how our childhood shapes our relationship with food. I was put on a diet at age 9 and it took the death of my mom to help me get over how I was raised to view food (bad vs good). Now I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist teaching others how to heal their body.

  9. I really needed to read this. I’ve been in and out of recovery since my son was born in 2015. I always feel like I’m struggling alone until I read posts like this. I’m glad that I found you 😀

  10. It sounds like you’ve come along way. Congrats on that! Righting a wrong relationship with food is so hard. As a person whose always been overweight and struggled consistently with losing weight and gaining weight, back and forth over and over again, I totally get how hard this is!

  11. It sounds like you have achieved so much personal growth. In my opinion, it is all about balance. Everything in moderation is okay. I love that your goals in your relationship with food are so achievable.

  12. Yay for Ash! What a huge step to take to know that you can be comfortable letting your hair down. Here’s to 2020 being even better for Ash and you!!! Hugs!

  13. Ash certainly has done an excellent job in 2019 in regard to her recovery. I’m so proud of her and was made even more proud when reading through this.
    Thank you so much for stopping in and reading.

  14. You have so, SO much to be proud of, and it sounds like you’ve done incredibly well in 2019 for ‘letting your hair down’ a bit. That part of loosening the reigns of control is what I’ve found very difficult. So I really do hope you can continue in the same way this year, with balance and confidence in yourself. You’ve got this.
    Wishing you all the very best for a brighter 2020  ♥
    Caz xx

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