I want to start this out with a very clear statement: Eating disorder recovery does not have a one-track option.
And this honestly is a beautiful thing. The fact that you’ve opened yourself up to recovering in itself is the first step.
We all know that we don’t live cookie-cutter lives. Our goals, our appearances, our families, jobs, friends, wins and losses – they all look different. So we can’t expect our recovery journeys to look the same as someone else’s.
- Some will battle and overcome an eating disorder in months and some will take years.
- Some will require counseling/therapy and some will not.
- Some will be able to continue exercising in a healthy manner while recovering and some will need to make a complete separation from it in order to recover successfully.
- Some will experience relapses, and some will not.
As someone who has recovered from anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder, I want to offer you some general advice for YOUR journey. Make them your own.
*Please note I am not a licensed professional. These will strictly be lifestyle and mindset tips that anyone can apply. ALWAY ALWAYS ALWAYS consult your physician, dietician, and therapist for professional treatment protocols.
Stay away from social media for a while.
I’m honestly thankful that social media had not yet infiltrated our lives at the level it does now. I think that would have made recovering from my ED a lot harder. But I know many are dealing with this in our current day, and find that constantly comparing our lives to others’ exacerbates our relationship struggles with food and our bodies.
It’s encouraging to hear stories of recovery from others on the internet, or even in person, but your recovery will never look like hers. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible for you – it absolutely is.
Know that the platform will always be there – your living, breathing body matters most.
If you are a strength athlete struggling with an ED, please know that your physical health HAS to come first – especially when a serious eating disorder is in play. We cannot reach our potential when we are at battle with our bodies and our minds anyway.
This is by no means to discourage you – I’m encouraging you to put your long term health first so that you can experience lifting and life to the fullest extent. Trust me, it’s so worth it to take time off if that’s what needed to fully focus on recovery.
Do the internal deep dive and listen to your treatment team.
Many of us walk through life thinking we know best for ourselves. But when we have an eating disorder, there is a clear disconnect between our bodies and our minds. We’ve reached a point where we don’t know how to read hunger cues, we don’t know what our bodies need, we just don’t know how to fuel ourselves because we have a poor relationship with food.
This means we need to listen to what our treatment team is telling us to do. To our distorted minds, it won’t make sense and/or we will likely feel resistant to their recommendations. It will by no means be comfortable to go against what the eating disorder tells us to do.
You have to trust them. Please give your team the chance to help you. I promise, they only have your best in mind, and the biggest part of recovery is fully submitting to the process. We can’t have one foot in and one foot out if we want to experience true freedom from the gripping, life-sucking monster that is our eating disorder.
This is YOUR Eating Disorder Recovery Story
Again, there is no “RIGHT” way to recover. These tips I’ve given you are universal, and can easily fit into a successful recovery process. It means nothing if your recovery is “easier” than most. It means nothing if your recovery is rockier and harder than you’d hoped it would be. Recovery is what you’re after, whatever it takes.
Patience, faith in yourself, and showing yourself love through every step of the process is the most important.
Just like we should never compare our bodies, our careers, our families, or our possessions to that of others, we do not need to compare recovery journeys, either.
Your story is uniquely yours.
Listen to our podcast episode on Disordered Eating & Eating Disorders.