- Separate your voice from your eating disorder’s voice. Think – what does my ED want me to do today? What do I need to do today to further my recovery?
- Recognize what you are already doing right. Make a list of healthy eating habits you are already practicing. Then make a list of unhealthy habits. Finally, make a list of how you can correct those unhealthy habits, or your vision of healthy habits that could replace those – challenge yourself to eat that way for one day.
- Communicate your struggles with your support system. Your support system will only know to help you if you ask. If you need someone to make sure you stick to your meal plan, find someone you trust to hold you accountable. Show them your food diary so they can make sure that you are getting the right amount of food – and if you’re not, they can support you while you do.
- Disagree and disobey…or, agree and disobey. When you identify a thought as disordered, practice disagreeing. If your ED says, “Skip this meal, it is going to make you fat,” say (aloud if you need to), “No, I will not skip this meal, and it will not make me fat.” Can’t do that yet? That’s fine. Say, “Fine, maybe it will make me fat, but I’m going to eat it anyways.” You don’t have to disagree to disobey.
- Consider choosing higher calorie foods. This was a big thing for me in recovery. I had a really hard time with meals because the longer it took to eat, the longer I had to think about why I didn’t want to eat it. I started choosing higher calorie foods just to speed the process up, and it really worked! There was less time to think about it, so I could just finish it quickly and move on with the rest of my day.
- Listen. Sometimes, we get so preoccupied trying not to listen to the ED, we forget that we still need to listen to recovery. Your recovery voice is there – it may be quiet, but it’s there.
- Find something that reminds you of recovery, or why you are recovering. For me, dragonflies are really symbolic of my recovery. Find something that you can bring with you at mealtimes to look at if you need a reminder of why you’re recovering.
- Practice grounding. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at a mealtime, take a timeout and bring yourself back to the present. Close your eyes and focus on what you can smell, touch, hear. Identify all of the noises/smells individually. Open your eyes and look all around you – think about everything you can see. It sound stupid, but it works – sit there and make a mental list of everything you can see, including shape, color, etc.
- Use affirmations. You may feel stupid saying something like, “I am worthy of this meal,” over and over again, but it will help to drowned out the sounds of your ED.
- Write down all of your thoughts – ALL of them. If your mind is racing, get it all out. Write down everything – disordered thoughts, rational thoughts, whatever is going through your mind. Then, go back and read it – underline the disordered thoughts and rationalize them.
friendly reminder that there is no such thing as a single “right” recovery, every eating disorder is different and so is every recovery. If you are trying, if you are aiming to be happy with everything that you are and are fighting for yourself, than that is your recovery. It is not to be judged. Or rushed. Or compared. You are unique and beautiful, and so is your journey to healing.
Let’s get something straight:
Nobody admires you for being anorexic,
That’s just the voice in your head.
They will not applaud you,
Or think of you as ‘controlled’, or
They will not envy you,
They do not see your slow suicide
Anorexia does not make you special,
Different or unique.
Your laughter, your passions,
Your smile, are why people love you.
They do not love anorexia,
They love you, and though the voice says
Without it you are nothing.
I promise, without anorexia
You are everything.
Recovery is a choice,
And it means you have to fight.
Eat, even when anorexia is screaming
At you to stop.
Recovery is learning,
That you are admirable without being thin,
That you are interesting without anorexia,
That you are worth more than a life
With a demon in your head, who
Wants to kill you.
You are perfect, and you do not
Need this disease, to make you
Feel worthy of life.
Please, do not
Put your trust in Anorexia Nervosa,
You are worth
So much more.