For this message and your kind words :)
I’m so glad that I AM is able to inspire and motivate you.
First of all, I want to make it clear that I’m not recovered and definitely not even past the point of struggling on a daily basis.
I have good days and bad days, some where I’m motivated, others where I feel hopeless. Days where I’m actively engaging in recovery, and days when I choose the eating disorder. Days when I’m confident and believe in myself, and days when I’m consumed by my depression and low self-worth.
Fighting my eating disorder has been a five year long journey, and I still have a long way to go. I have however, learned a lot, and grown in ways I never would have without this struggle. Recovery is the hardest thing I have done and will ever do. But no matter how many times I slip, relapse, or make a mistake, I never give up, and always keep trekking forward.
I have the support of a therapist and dietitian who I see once a week, and I see a psychiatrist every few months as needed. I also attend a free weekly support group every saturday for people with eating disorders. Aside from that, I have the support of my parents and brother, and a few friends from treatment—all of whom I am incredibly grateful for.
Here are some helpful suggestions I have for fellow recovery warriors:
1. Slips and relapses are a natural part of recovery.
Having them doesn’t make you failure. It makes you human. You’re imperfect and you’re going to make mistakes. Instead of beating yourself up for having a slip, try being compassionate with yourself and curious. We don’t engage in behaviors just because we feel like it—there is always a reason behind it. Whether we felt lonely, angry, didn’t speak up about something that was bothering us, or didn’t know of any other way to quell our anxiety, there is a reason and our slips can shed light on that AND on how to prevent the slip from happening in the future.
2. In order to heal, we have to be honest with ourselves and our treatment team. Sometimes when I’m struggling I get scared that they will judge me or be disappointed. But the truth is that it’s their job to help us through the hard times. And ultimately, they can’t help us if we aren’t honest.
Eating disorder are very much about keeping secrets. When we find the courage to break the silence and speak up about our struggles, our eating disorder loses power.
3. I highly recommend doing Eating disorder vs. healthy self dialogues.
When your eating disorder voice gets loud and abusive, the best thing to do is fight back and argue with it. It’s okay if you don’t believe what your healthy-self has to say. And using a healthy voice for yourself is too difficult, you can think about what you would say to a friend or what your therapist would say for you. What’s important is that you don’t let the eating disorder thoughts have the last word. Just by dialoguing, you are fighting back and entertaining the idea that your eating disorder is wrong.
They are really helpful for me in the moment when I have urges and can help me to work through a lot of my fears and anxieties. You can write them by hand on paper or on your computer. Whatever is easiest and most comfortable for you.
4. Get rid of your scale and stop weighing yourself.
The number will never be low enough. We will always be dissatisfied and feel inadequate. Knowing the number may make us feel safe, but it doesn’t really make us feel any better about ourselves. It consumed us, occupies our every thought, and keeps us stuck.
I’ve found incredible freedom in not knowing what the number is. My dietitian weighs me once a week, and will let me know if my weight changes. So instead of dealing with anxiety attached with weight fluctuation on my own where my eating disorder voice can interject, I get to talk about it in a safe, recovery-conducive environment where a professional can help me fight the distortions and offer me support.
5. Start doing a daily gratitude list.
Every night before I go to bed, I make a list of at least three things I am grateful for, but you can always write more :) They can be anything. When we are feeling hopeless, defeated, and miserable, we often forget the good things that exist in our lives. Making a gratitude list can help to remind us.
6. Write out a list of reasons to recover and things your eating disorder has robbed you of, and look at it when you’re struggling or having urges.
7. Make a 911 phone list of people you can text or call in the moment when you’re having an urge.
8. Make a list of coping skills that you can use in the moment when you’re struggling to use in place of eating disorder behaviors. It’s important to remember that engaging in your behaviors may make you feel better in the moment, but in the long run it will make you feel so much worse. Binging and purging or restricting may numb us from the pain we feel, but it won’t solve the problems causing us pain.
Also, remind yourself in the moment that urges are like waves, they come in strong, peak, and then fade. It may feel like they are going to last forever—but they don’t. They DO PASS. Experiment with different coping mechanisms until you find one that helps you ride the wave of the urge.
9. Do something you’re passionate about—and do it everyday.
Instead of finding fulfillment in your weight or appearance, start finding it in things that you enjoy doing. Whether it’s sketching, blogging, making collages, photography, writing, performing, music…try to find something that makes you happy and empowered.
If you don’t know what you’re passionate about—start exploring and trying out new things. Finding your passion isn’t about doing something you’re good at or doing something perfectly, it’s about doing something you enjoy, something that soothes your soul. It’s about discovering that there is so much more to life than your eating disorder.
10. FOLLOW A MEAL PLAN.
We do not have an accurate perception of hunger and fullness. Our eating disorder severs the connection and communication between our mind and our body.
Following a meal plan helps retrain your body how to eat, and heals your metabolism. Eating disorder run on a vicious cycle: for me, restricting leads to binging, which leads to purging which leads to feelings of shame and guilt which leads to restricting and the cycle starts all over again. The only way to break the cycle is to nourish our body adequately by following a meal plan.
Everyone’s meal plan looks different because everyone’s body is different, which is why it’s important to meet with a dietitian so that you can create a meal plan that is right for you.
I hope these suggestions help.
If you have any more questions or ever need support/someone to talk to, just message me. I’m here to help in whatever way I can.
Sending you so much love and strength,
Thank you so much for this message.
I’m so glad that this blog has been able to inspire you.
Keep on keeping on.
Sending you love,
You are lovely and your message filled me with a lot of much needed love.
I’m so grateful.
Sending you love,
Thank you so much for this.
So, so much.
I’m absolutely grateful for your kindness and support.
Love, love, love
Thank you so much for your message. I’ve been battling a low sense of self-worth for the past few days, and reading what you wrote reminded me that the only person who is judging me is myself. So thank you for that :)
I’m so glad that you enjoy I AM and am really grateful for your support :)
Hope you’re having a lovely Saturday!
Sending you lots of love,