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9 Things I Wish I Knew When I Began Eating Disorder Recovery

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1. The scale will never make you smile.

At least not long enough. Giving it up will be one of the hardest things for you to do, because it may have been the thing your eating disorder has clung to for the longest. However, getting rid of that harmful, useless piece of plastic is one of the most important things you’ll do. As hard as it may be, and as hard as it will be to fully believe it’ll get easier to live without, this will actually eventually provide you with relief.

2. Stop counting.

Stop it with adding up the calories, checking the clothing sizes, etc. The only thing you should maybe even count would be the days you’re behavior free, the amount of days you’ve stayed healthy and out of treatment, the days you’ve filled with more smiles. 

3. Get a journal.

But don’t let yourself stop when you’re all upset or frustrated. Write through all your pain. Get to a place where your writing becomes either neutral, or more uplifting than when you first started. Don’t leave yourself hanging in a spot where you’re more vulnerable to do harmful things, or feel even worse.

4. Read.

Whether they’re quotes that make you feel better, or books that take your mind to a whole other place. Let yourself
escape your mind for a while.

5. Weight restoration, if that’s part of your treatment plan, isn’t the end all be all.

You’re not done with your journey just because you’ve hit that point. That’s not where the story ends. Definitely celebrate the new milestone, but don’t forget recovery isn’t all about the number on a scale. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

6. Love your treatment friends, but try and find some people you can relate to on another level.

Find support in new ways, in ways that don’t solely focus on reaching recovery. Do new things, things that help you create a new world around your eating disorder. It’s a good thing to take a break sometimes, it can be good to forget the treatment world for a bit.

7.  You’re going to have to forgive yourself a lot.

You’re going to mess up. You might mess up in ways you think are irreparable, but they can be fixed. Give recovery your all and move beyond. One bad day doesn’t negate all of your progress, I promise.

8. You may relapse. You may fall down. You might feel like giving up for a while.

Let yourself feel it, but always get back up again. You’re not out of the game for losing a turn. Don’t be afraid to reach out for more help when you need it, or when you want it. There are more people out there than you know who will want to support you.

9. Your treatment team can only get you so far.

Meal plans and doctors’ appointments can help you tremendously, but in the end, you do the work. You’re the one who helps yourself the most. Don’t forget to give yourself the credit you deserve.

I’ve explained various things I wish I knew at the beginning of my recovery, and while it may have helped me to know these things back then, I’m glad I know them now. As all recovery stories are different, some of these lessons may not apply to everyone. But hopefully by sharing this, it can help someone else out and give them some more hope in places they may need it. Keep truckin’ on, everyone!

This post originally appeared on 

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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Thinkstock photo via Cofeee

Originally published: September 22, 2017
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