What does life look like after recovery from an eating disorder?
By: Christena N. Wilkerson, MSEd, LMHC, Supervising Therapist
Much like an addiction recovery, an eating disorder recovery requires the individual to continue to meet with a counselor, follow a meal plan, participate in a support group, and establish boundaries. Happiness and self-esteem come from loving yourself for who you truly are—and that’s only possible with recovery.
Eating disorder recovery will be an ongoing process because it is not something you can turn off and on. Recovery looks different for everyone but moving forward and not being under the control of food is key.
Tips for avoiding eating disorder relapse:
- The work of eating disorder recovery doesn’t end once you’ve adopted healthier habits. It’s important to take steps to maintain your progress and prevent relapse.
- Develop a solid support system. Surround yourself with people who support you and want to see you healthy and happy. Avoid people who drain your energy, encourage disordered eating behaviors, or make you feel bad about yourself.
- Fill your life with positive activities. Make time for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Try something you’ve always wanted to do, develop a new skill, pick up a fun hobby, or volunteer in your community. The more rewarding your life, the less desire you’ll have to focus on food and weight.
- Identify your “triggers.” Are you more likely to revert to your old, destructive behaviors during the holidays, exam week, or swimsuit season? Know what your triggers are, and have a plan for dealing with them, such as going to therapy more often or asking for extra support from family and friends.
- Keep a journal. Writing in a daily journal can help you keep tabs on your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. If you notice that you’re slipping back into negative patterns, take action immediately.
- Stick with your eating disorder recovery plan. Don’t neglect therapy or other components of your treatment, even if you’re doing better. Follow the recommendations of your treatment team.
For more information on Eating Disorders and Eating Disorder Recovery:
- Anorexia Nervosa: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
- Helping Someone with an Eating Disorder: Advice for Parents, Family Members, and Friends
- Bulimia Nervosa: Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, and Help
If you or a loved one has an eating disorder, we can help. In-home family counseling can help discover the roots of the eating disorder and teach behavioral management for stress and other triggers. Contact us today to learn how Crosswinds can help.
Categories: Family Counseling