- Find yourself a really good treatment team. And get ready for us to challenge you. That’s what we have to do. If you are always hearing what you want to hear and your toes are never getting stepped on, then your eating disorder is running the show. A good treatment team will consist of medical professionals, a dietitian, an individual therapist, and a family therapist that will push you and support you on your road to recovery. These professionals must be well trained in eating disorders. Ask lots of questions about their training, supervision, education, and knowledge. Be weary of generalists, who work with everything, Eating disorders are a very specialized field and require a lot of training. Look for these people now! Treatment can be hard to find, some of my clients commute an hour or more. Treatment can also be costly, but it is so worth it. Although we may challenge you at times, we will also support you, encourage you, and be a safe place to share your struggles along the way.
- Talk about the eating disorder. Not everyone you meet is trustworthy enough to know everything about you but there should be someone you know that is trustworthy enough to know what you are going through. I was at a local conference a few weeks ago and Mike Veny talked about how stigma produces shame and shame produces silence and silence produces suffering (I hope I didn’t just woefully mess up that quote). I have also heard many people say “silence keeps you sick.” This is so the truth. I have noticed that not speaking out keeps you in the shame cycle. Sometimes you might only have one person but I hope you at least have that. If you haven’t found that support, trust in your treatment team. There is nothing that you can’t tell us. We have heard a lot, and can really empathize with what you are going through. Journaling can also be a really great outlet to help you find your voice during the recovery process. Group Therapy is another way to feel less alone in your struggle. These are all great outlets for being able to speak about what you are going through and voicing this is an important step in recovery.
- Eliminate the voices that are reinforcing your eating disorder voice. The diet culture world we live in makes eating disorder recovery hard. It’s impossible to stay insulated from it. But try to at least remove the noise of diet voices as much as possible. Sara Upson, M.Ed., RD, LD, CEDRD has a great diet culture detox plan you can follow here. We can’t always avoid people that talk about dieting, exercise, and weight loss. This is sadly normal in our culture. You can learn to speak up when these conversations are triggering, but until you feel ready for that it might be best to avoid them all together. Surround yourself with recovery influencing voices. There are so many blogs, books, podcasts, and social media outlets that can be a voice that counters the eating disorder voice and diet culture. Surround yourself with these and the ED voice has less of a chance of coming through.
There are many ways to support your recovery, it was pretty tough to pick just three but these will be a great place to start. I hope these tips have helped you feel a little more ready to begin your own road to recovery. Remember, it is possible. Write that down so, when things seem impossible you will know. Full recovery is possible. You can do this. So many others have. Reach out, talk about what you are experiencing, and silence the diet culture voices!