Finding a healthy life balance can be one of the most challenging aspects of healing from an eating disorder. It is important to avoid potential triggers for a relapse, such as dieting and fads to focus on overall health. Instead, the key to maintaining recovery is to find balance in your eating and exercise habits, restoring a healthy relationship with food and your body and encouraging full and total recovery.
Incorporate healthy foods into your diet
While in treatment, you probably had nutrition sessions with a registered dietitian or nutritionist. The purpose of these sessions was to teach you how to choose a balanced and healthy diet. You can put this into practice by including a variety of healthy foods in your meals. Be careful not to fixate on certain types of foods. Rather, aim for variety and focus on foods that make you feel good and healthy. Remind yourself that food is an essential part of caring for your body to achieve lasting health.
Practice intuitive eating
Rather than placing your attention on a particular type or amount of food to consume, focus instead on what your body is telling you. This process called intuitive eating is highly effective for maintaining recovery and encouraging deeper healing. Intuitive eating consists of a number of principles that help to reeducate your mind at listening to your natural body cues.
Some of these principles include:
- Honor your hunger;
- Challenge the food police;
- Respect your body;
- Honor your feelings without using food.
Tune into your natural hunger and fullness signals; your body knows what it needs.
Establish a healthy exercise routine
Movement is a powerful tool to unlocking mental, emotional and physical health on the road to recovery. A healthy exercise routine may look different for each person, but whether it’s a long walk on the beach, a yoga class or an intense game of tennis, regular exercise will help to release endorphins and improve overall organ function. Talk with with your doctor and therapist to develop an exercise routine that is right for you.
Whatever type of exercise you do, ask yourself why you are doing it. Is it for enjoyment or out of a sense of obligation? Are you focusing on fitness and health, or on maintaining a certain performance level? Refrain from using measurements like distance, speed, or length of time. Instead, focus on what your body is telling you about your energy levels and reward yourself for your hard work!
Focus on positive body image
Our society places great emphasis on meeting a certain physical ideal, which can cause people in recovery to feel triggered. It is important to limit your exposure to toxic media messages that perpetuate this ideal and acknowledge the fact that perfection does not exist. Every person looks different, and that is a beautiful thing. Focus on embracing your body as something good and deserving of love.
Recovery is a lifelong journey. You have worked hard to get to this point, and you are still working to maintain your progress every day. It can become overwhelming at times, so it’s important to continue practicing self-care and stress relief techniques as you did in treatment. Find activities that bring you joy and promote mindfulness, such as art therapy, writing or music. Take time for yourself every day.
Inform your doctor of your eating disorder
Be sure to tell your primary care provider that you’re in recovery from an eating disorder. There are potential triggers in a primary care setting, such as the common practice of weighing patients and questions regarding diet. Talk to your doctor about things that might trigger you. If your doctor has recommended weight loss in the past, ask to set a different goal such as healthier blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Your doctor should be one of your strongest support systems and advocates in recovery, as they are focused on helping you achieve overall health and fitness.
Consider outpatient therapy
If you find yourself struggling in recovery, it may be beneficial to start outpatient therapy. Group and individual sessions connect you to peer and professional support. This is very powerful for preventing a relapse.
Schedule an appointment today or contact us at 610-644-6464 to embark upon your path to deeper healing.