7 Tips for Eating Disorder Recovery

People with eating disorders might eat excess or little food or become obsessed with their weight or body shape. When ignored, this condition can become severe and possibly life-threatening. While recovering from an eating disorder is possible but different for everyone, it isn’t easy. This could be due to the fear of losing or gaining weight, experiencing failure, or being judged, which can make your healing journey more scary and overwhelming. However, with the right tactics and guidance, you can recover. Discussed below are seven tips for eating disorder recovery.

Image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

1.   Leverage eating disorder therapy

The struggle to conquer an eating disorder can be long and difficult. However, different therapies provide various ways of reflecting on your actions and thoughts about food. They include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: It focuses on your eating disorder-related thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Upon helping you build healthy eating behaviors, the treatment teaches you how to identify and change the twisted thoughts that result in eating behaviors
  • Group cognitive behavioral therapy: It involves meeting with a therapist together with others who’ve been diagnosed with eating disorders. It teaches you skills to manage your eating disorder symptoms while helping you rebuild healthy eating patterns
  • Dialectical therapy: It’s a form of cognitive behavioral therapy but more intense. It’s perfect for those who don’t respond to CBT

Consulting skilled professionals such as Cigna insurance therapists can help you find a therapy treatment suitable for your form of eating disorder

2.   Consider nutrition counseling

Nutrition counseling or therapy is an ongoing process where registered dieticians work with you to evaluate your regular dietary intake and determine where change is required. During counseling, your specific needs are considered, including:

  • Any food attitudes or unique fears you might have
  • Your medical history
  • Any co-occurring mental health issues you may have

Your nutritionist will provide emotional support and precise nutrition education while addressing any eating disorder beliefs and nutritional misinformation you might have. Nutrition counseling is most effective when combined with other treatments, including dialectical behavioral therapy, rounding out your recovery experience.

3.   Join an eating disorder support group

While your eating disorder recovery journey is different, finding a supportive network of people who can relate to your condition gives you peer guidance, motivation, and empowerment throughout your healing process. In these groups, members facing similar experiences meet, listen to one another, and talk about their issues. Eating disorders can alienate and leave you lonely. However, eating disorder groups have support systems that can significantly impact your recovery. The best eating disorder support groups should:

  • Be moderated by trained facilitators to ensure they remain constructive and supportive
  • Align with your schedule
  • Promote participation
  • Fulfill your needs
  • Leave you with positive emotions and thoughts after meet-ups

4.   Leverage eating disorder recovery meal plans

One of the primary objectives of eating disorder recovery is re-establishing regular, healthy eating patterns while helping you re-nourish safely. This is usually actualized by a personalized meal plan made by yourself or a professional dietician. Several meal plans can help with your eating disorder recovery, including:

  • The exchange-based meal plan: It’s planned around exchange lists containing food categorized together due to their nutritional similarities
  • Rule of 3’s meal plan: It’s suitable for people with high or moderate refeeding syndrome risk or people with severe or moderate malnutrition
  • Intuitive eating meal plan: It’s based on adhering to your fullness and hunger cues

5.   Identify your triggers and find ways to cope

Triggers are stimuli that cause intense, often negative emotions. They can be:

  • Environmental
  • Social
  • Situational
  • Psychological

A trigger could mean different things for people recovering from an eating disorder- it can make them feel the desire to return to their old habits or result in strong emotional responses. Identifying your eating disorder triggers is the first step to staying away from them. For instance, if you know some discussions are a trigger, don’t bring them up, and if someone else does, excuse yourself from the conversation. Once you identify your triggers, finding ways to cope is vital for effective eating disorder recovery. You can cope with by:

  • Eliminating triggering foods from your home: Since food is a common trigger for those recovering from eating disorders, getting rid of the triggering foods from your home can help create a supportive recovery environment
  • Finding alternative response options: While an eating disorder urge can be alluring, look for alternative ways to counter those negative emotions with self-compassion. Consider trying aromatherapy, practicing yoga, and more
  • Creating a plan for dealing with triggers: Since triggers are unavoidable, coming up with a plan when they occur can be helpful. You can work with a therapist to identify your triggers and find ways to confront them when they happen. A plan keeps you ready and in control

6.   Practice eating disorder affirmations

Practicing positive eating disorder affirmations can be quite supportive throughout your recovery journey. It distracts the mind and helps you maintain a strong commitment to recovery. These affirmations come in handy when you’re:

  • Struggling to nourish yourself properly daily
  • Trying to get rid of any self-sabotaging eating patterns like calorie counting and dieting 
  • Finding it hard to handle body image concerns and staying positive during recovery

With the right eating disorder affirmations, you can keep up with your health goals, build an adequately nourished life, and get rid of senseless beliefs. Eating disorder affirmations enable you to see yourself in a more compassionate and positive light while motivating you to keep pushing even when the recovery journey seems impossible.

7.   Keep a recovery journal

Eating disorder recovery journals are a powerful tool that keeps you on track while helping monitor your progress. Since journaling is therapeutic, writing down your thoughts can help release negative emotions. It also enables you to discover things about yourself and your habits that wouldn’t have been easy to identify if you didn’t note them down, including patterns, fears, and triggers. Through journaling, you can better understand your relationship with food and body and determine what helps or makes you happy in your recovery journey and even what sets you back. If you aren’t sure what to journal about, prompts can help.


While eating disorders have severe health effects, recovery isn’t easy. However,  seeking eating disorder therapy, going for nutrition counseling, joining a support group, and sticking to a meal plan can help with your eating disorder recovery.

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