3 Steps in Anorexia Recovery Professionals Don't Talk About

I want to share with you some very important steps in eating disorder (ED) recovery that health professionals typically don’t teach people when they’re in treatment. These are steps I’ve learned along the way in my own recovery and have helped me immensely in moving forward.

1. Throw away or donate the clothes that are too small for you now.

I get it — that voice in your head can remain adamant that you need to keep these clothes “just in case” you lose the weight again. Your eating disorder may even try to convince you that you might lose the weight one day and fit into them again in a more “healthy” or “normal” way. A word of warning: that’s not the rational “you” thinking, that’s the eating disorder trying to hold onto you — let it go, let the clothes go. Go out and find some new clothes that you love and feel good in.

2. Delete those triggering photos of you at your lowest.

These photos serve no positive purpose to your well-being and recovery; they are potential triggers. I know all too well how awful a triggering photo of myself can make me feel and how much it can set me back in recovery. They’re not pleasant to accidentally stumble across, and they’re not helpful to look at and lust over because your eating disorder might (falsely) try to convince you that you were happier when you were physically and mentally unwell. Delete those body checks, delete those photos of the number on the scale and delete those images that have the potential to negatively affect your healing.

3. Find healthy passions, hobbies and activities you enjoy to replace the eating disorder behaviors you’re recovering from.

When you’re at a stage in your recovery where you are reducing or removing disordered habits and behaviors that once took up so much of your life, it can feel like you now have a big gap of “nothingness” in their place. I cannot encourage you enough to try filling in the leftover void that was once the eating disorder with positive things. You now have real room to truly find yourself and rediscover your true identity, because as much as you think/thought your eating disorder is/was your whole identity, there is so much more beyond ED. If you leave this big new hole in your life unfilled, it can be easy for your eating disorder to sneakily slip back in. Do not allow it! Go be you, go be great!

What do these three steps have in common?

All three steps promote letting go, moving on, embracing recovery and being kind to yourself. You are so much more than your illness and you deserve so much more. Please continue to take active steps to continue moving forward in recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Unsplash photo via Stephanie Krist

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