By Dana Magee, RD and Caroline Best, student intern.
Recovery is a difficult, on-going, process. However, with a treatment team and a treatment plan in place, it is absolutely possible.
Our goal at Empowered Eating is to help those suffering from an eating disorder recover and develop an enjoyable,sustainable, and empowered relationship with food. Our team of dietitians: Bobbi, Alex, Klara, Dana,and Rebecca have a combined several decades of eating disorder treatment experience. Here are the pieces of recovery advice they have found to resonate the most with clients and offer the most support during the complicated process of recovery.
Eating Disorder Dietitian Advice for Recovery
- Food is your medicine for healing from an eating disorder. You may not feel like eating, and you still need to take your medicine.
- Throw away the scale – recovery is not about weight, it’s about regaining health and your life.
- You can’t compare your plate to others around you.
- Your body image distortion will likely be the last thing to get better, and you still need to eat.
- Stop reading nutrition fact labels and online articles about nutrition. If you have questions about nutrition, talk to your dietitian.
- Download the app, Recovery Record, which will let you keep a food diary on your phone. No numbers, no calories, no grams of fat or carbs. Get rid of any calorie counting apps, fitbits, etc. Use this app if you find it to be helpful.
- ED will lie. And give you a bunch of food rules about eating. And you need to fight those lies and food rules to beat ED. Focus on your positive traits,favorite things about yourself, and what you’re passionate about (i.e. “I’m a good friend”, “I like my smile”, “I’m compassionate”).
- Acknowledge how serious this illness is and get treatment. Your secrets keep you sick. Tell your treatment team or a trusted family member or friend when you are struggling. Attend support groups, being around others in recovery can help support your own recovery.
Key: Use your Meal Plan
Following a meal plan is not the same as “out-of-control eating.” Follow your meal plan fully. A meal plan is the minimum amount of food that your body needs, eating more than your meal plan is okay! Keep non-perishable snacks in your purse. Being prepared will help you follow your meal plan. Find support in friends and family. Ask them to eat meals with you and check in on you. Ask them to help keep you accountable for following your meal plan. Although it may feel wrong to eat when you don’t have hunger cues, you still need to follow your meal plan. Your hunger cues will return if you eat consistently and stop focusing on weight. At the beginning of recovery, bloating and constipation are normal.Slowed thyroid and gastroparesis from restriction will resolve itself with proper food intake. Discomfort is not your body telling you to stop eating. Human beings need to eat.
Lastly, when you eat you’re not losing control, you’re gaining freedom.
Recovery is possible. We believe in you and support you.
If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, reach out and speak to one of our fantastic dietitians. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 240-670-4675