Kara Richardson Whitely and husband

Processing a Year of Covid While in Recovery

By Kara Richardson Whitely

Last night, my husband and I went to a restaurant and clinked glasses to celebrate something a little different: We were both fully vaccinated.

While we in a jovial mood, and the food was amazing and we were following all the prescribed heath guidelines, we still had an unsettling feeling. This pandemic shook us deeply. I had to wonder if part of it was that my relationship with food has been so strained during this time, that this moment of celebration was also one of reflection and remembrance of a very challenging year.

It was the first time in more than a year that we had been to a restaurant indoors in New Jersey. So we chose Barbacoa, a restaurant that bravely opened mid-pandemic with takeout and delivery and just recently opened for in-person dining. That was the resilience we wanted to honor.

While we still don’t know what will come next, I’ve been taking a lot of time to honor and process where this past year has taken me – from the take-charge attitude in the beginning where I went back to the basics of my eating recovery (eating by the clock), to the times depression gripped me whole and made it hard to do the basics from showering to showing up for my online meetings, to managing meal prep and chaos eating every single meal with every member of my family (instead of having peaceful, quiet, mindful meals all by myself at lunch time or when I traveled).

This year has been hard for me, for you, for your community, for the whole world.

Here are a few tips I thought of that helped me process this past year:

  1. Know that you’re not alone in being challenged, going off track or restarting in this past year.
  2. Return to basics of recovery, as they are not a step back but a step forward.
  3. Ask for help. One of the gifts of this year is that help is more readily available online.
  4. Take time to acknowledge all you’ve been through this year.
  5. Allow moments of joy as they come along. There will be many more on the horizon.

Kara Richardson Whitely is Eating Recovery Center’s National Binge Eating Disorder Recovery Advocate. Her memoir "Gorge: My Journey Up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds" is being made into a movie produced by and starring "This Is Us" actress Chrissy Metz. Follow Kara on Instagram: @kararichardsonwhitely

binge eating disorder
kara richardson whitely
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Kara Richardson Whitely

Kara Richardson Whitely, an Eating Recovery Center Binge Eating Disorder Recovery Advocate, is the author of Fat Woman on the Mountain and Gorge: My 300-Pound Journey Up Kilimanjaro, an honest and…

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