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6 Things I Do When I'm Struggling in Eating Disorder Recovery

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More frequently lately I have been struggling with poor body image thoughts invading my mind. I won’t bore you with the details, but they affect my ability to feed my body and allow the food to nourish me. In no particular order, these are some tips and tricks I use when I feel the need to use eating disorder behaviors:

1. I surround myself with people I love.

Eating is much easier for me when I am around people who love me. They won’t comment on the food I am consuming, but rather talk to me about irrelevant topics that keep my mind off of the food. They keep me focused on the task at hand: getting the food into my body and making sure it stays there, but without thinking too much about it.

2. I choose foods that are easiest to eat, even if they aren’t considered the most “nutritious.”

Whatever food I can get into my body must be a sign of strength, and I am a firm believer that being “good enough” is sometimes the best I can be.

3. I choose quality over quantity. 

When my stomach is especially painful due to my past bulimia, I feed myself nutrient-dense foods rather than foods that will make me feel full. This allows me to get the food into my body and keep it there. Sometimes a Snickers bar is the best thing for me, and I will stand by that statement.

4. I turn to professionals. 

My team of professionals guides me through recovery. Seeing them regularly is essential to continuing on my path forward. Sometimes I wonder if I really need the huge amount of support I have, but I know I cannot solve my own problems without guidance. They also provide accountability and help me stay honest with myself.

5. I journal.

Journaling allows me to reflect on where I am currently at in my eating disorder recovery. It also gives me the ability to look back on where I’ve been and realize I’m further along than I realize. I often underestimate the level of my recovery, but with journaling, I cannot trick myself.

6. I watch Netflix. 

Distraction techniques aren’t always ideal, but they do help me put time between eating and a behavior. Sometimes I take a nap, go for a leisurely walk or watch “The Office.” This distance between me and a behavior gives me time to reflect on what my anxiety is truly about, realize I must feed myself to survive and remember that nourishing my body helps keep my brain functioning well.

Eating disorder recovery is difficult. It is draining. Sometimes it feels like I don’t have the energy left to continue on in the process. These skills help keep my eating disorder thoughts and behaviors in check so I can properly nourish my body.

Originally published: March 19, 2018
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