Just as there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to losing weight or dealing with addiction, despite thousands of options being out there and available, there is also no “one-size-fits-all” approach to recovery from an eating disorder. Anyone who has dealt with an eating disorder understands how difficult recovery can be.
These suggested steps can hopefully help you to move toward a healthier lifestyle and maybe help you remain on the road to recovery as you create a more positive lifestyle for yourself.
Face the Disorder Head-On
When you take a self-defense course, you are taught to face your attacker head-on when defending yourself, to look them in the eye as it is taken as being intimidating and assertive. This is also true when dealing with an eating disorder. In order to move toward recovery, you must face the fact that you have the disorder head-on.
It is not a “habit” and it is not something you can simply ignore. Give it a name as just saying “it” can be too vague. By naming what’s going on as having a disorder, you give it an identity that you can actually fight against.
Be Willing to Make the Change
One of the biggest steps in successful eating disorder treatment is your willingness to make the changes necessary that will allow you to remain recovered. Meal plans, therapy, and weigh-ins do nothing if you simply go through the motions while you have to. Eventually, those resources are going to step away and allow you to do things on your own terms again, and if you’re not one hundred percent behind changing things for the better it won’t be long before old coping mechanisms start to look enticing again.
Recovery and getting better are about change even when that change is hard or feels impossible. It’s not, so it’s important that you stick with what you’ve learned. You must look at this as a new way of life, not just a to-do list you check off each day because you have to. Instead of looking at the changes in a negative or resentful way, focus on the positives and embrace the changes you are making head-on.
Get to Know You
An eating disorder has a way of taking over your identity. One of the best things you can do as you move toward recovery is to get to know yourself when the eating disorder is not the focus. Somewhere inside is a small voice that is trying to be heard. Keep a journal and begin listening to that small voice telling you what healthier you would be like, and listen when that voice tells you what to do.
By getting to know that inner voice, you will come to get an understanding of the real you. Let that inner voice dream and let it dream big. Put less focus on “getting better” and more focus on what the inner you want out of life.
Getting to know yourself can mean exploring old passions and hobbies you might not have picked up for a while. On the other hand, it could also be exploring things you’d always wanted to try but never thought you could. Returning to or picking up various talents or hobbies can also help you to focus on things other than your eating disorder, especially when things get hard and you feel you need the distraction.
Reaching out to the people around you is also a way to reconnect to yourself and your loved ones. You’re not alone, and oftentimes the people closest to you simply want to help and know that you’re okay.
Understand Your Beliefs are Skewed
While you are trying to connect with your inner self, your disorder will be screaming the incorrect beliefs it needs you to think are true. “Fat makes me fat,” “carbs will cause me to gain weight,” “just 30 more minutes of exercise even though I’ve already worked out for an hour,” are just some of the myths that your disorder tries to convince you are true.
Initially, it will be difficult for you to see that those thoughts are actually skewed beliefs, but as you listen more to your inner self, the more you will recognize those thoughts as untrue.
Pursuing professional help is an excellent way to deal with these thoughts and beliefs. A trained therapist can provide techniques, affirmations, and exercises for you to do whenever you feel low or think these thoughts may have a chance of winning. Learning new coping mechanisms to deal with the eating disorder and your mentality around it is essential to help keep yourself on the road to recovery.
Eating disorders can be very difficult to overcome and there is no “one-size-fits-all” cure. However, these tips can help you find your way towards moving in the direction of recovery and may help you remain on that path down the road.