Throughout the months, or years, of your struggle with an eating disorder, the thought of food played a large role in daily habits. It influenced certain behaviors, put up walls to keep emotions out, and may have controlled whether to attend social gatherings.
That is now in past as you are entering a milestone achievement in taking the first step to a healthier lifestyle. The path to recovery may have been difficult to face, but it is worth the hardship. During recovery, you may find that you are facing similar, if not the same, fears of food you faced during active disordered eating.
Face Your Fears
Certain foods, talk of calorie intake, or introducing food groups to your diet may all be some of the fears you never wanted to face. You may have thought, “When I’m no longer afraid I’ll face those fears.” If we all waited for that perfect moment when fear doesn’t affect us, we would be waiting around forever. Just as Steve Maraboli said, “Stop waiting for the perfect day or the perfect moment…take this day, this moment and lead it to perfection.” It’s only when we face what scares us most is when we are able to retrain our brains that food is not scary, and should be something to embrace to nourish our bodies.
Eating For Nourishment
Prior to entering recovery, there may have been a specific diet fad you stuck to, whether that was a specific caloric intake, cutting out food groups, or only eating during specific times of the day. In recovery, the basis of eating is to give your body the nutrients it needs to work efficiently.
During recovery, it’s important to eat organic, whole foods as much as possible. Whole foods provide the body with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients it’s been lacking. When you give your body these whole foods, vital organs are able to work efficiently and effectively again. It’s important to avoid processed foods since the body has to work harder to pull what little nutrients these foods have from them.
Every meal plan in recovery will look different based on what your nutritionist recommends. It’s important to listen to their recommendations on how to effectively take in the most nutrients possible.
If you’re recovering from a binge-eating disorder, it’s important to stay away from triggers that affect you. For example, if you crave potato chips, or ice cream, keeping those triggers out of the house is important for relapse prevention. Instead try going to an ice cream shop for a single serving, or getting chips on the side of a well-balanced meal. No foods should be off limits, but eating in moderation is key.
When recovering from bulimia and/or anorexia, it can be difficult to control your inner thoughts. Body shaming yourself and incessant thoughts of “feeling fat” can take you back down the path to an eating disorder. When thoughts like this enter your mind and start to become overwhelming, focus on the benefits of treating your body right through food and exercise. These are the things that will bring you long-term health and happiness. Engaging in a positive activity, such as making a list of things that you like about yourself, can distract you from negative thoughts.
No matter what eating disorder you are recovering from make sure you do something every day that brings you joy. Read, go outside, watch a movie, dance to your favorite song; no matter the activity, take a fun break from your daily routine.
Recovery is difficult to face, and the possibility of relapse can be apparent. Nobody is perfect, and relapse hits people probably more than they’d like to admit. Relapse does not mean failure. It gives you another chance to achieve your desired outcome.
A few signs that indicate relapse are:
- Constant thoughts of food, dieting, and/or weight
- Believing you’ll never be happy unless you are thin
- Seeing yourself as overweight or obese
- Skipping meals
- Avoiding food related events
If you are experiencing any of these symptom(s) seek professional help immediately. If you are already seeing a professional, let them know how you are feeling. Bringing these symptoms to light will help your therapist and/or nutritionist adjust treatment to what better suits your lifestyle. It can help prevent relapse, or catch it from the start.
Additionally, if you’re looking to start your road to recovery, contact us today at 610-644-6464. Talk with a professional, and create a recovery plan based on your needs.