Prioritizing Your Eating Disorder Recovery: 5 Tips from a Dietitian
Prioritizing Your Eating Disorder Recovery can feel strange- especially if you're not used to putting yourself first.
Prioritizing your eating disorder recovery and having routines and systems in place is key for successful relapse prevention. But as anyone who is working to maintain their recovery knows, this is much easier said than done. Here are some tips to help you succeed!
Schedule a self check-up
Prioritizing eating disorder recovery requires relentless honesty and self-reflection. Before you can determine where you are in your recovery process, it is important to check in about current behaviors and evaluate if they are supporting your recovery. Questions you might ask: Am I eating regularly and when I know my body needs it? Am I skipping meals or snacks? Am I going to the grocery store consistently? Am I meeting with my dietitian regularly to evaluate my progress? Am I incorporating a variety of foods from all fuel groups? Am I listening to hunger and fullness cues (if it is appropriate to do so)?
Once you have the answers to these questions, prioritize areas where you are slipping to re-set goals for yourself. Remember—it is important to set short-term and long-term goals. Your team can help if you get stuck.
Plan to prioritize!
This applies to both thinking ahead as well as planning for deviations from your schedule. Taking 15-30 minutes once or twice a week to plan out all meals and snacks can help you stay on track and help you make a grocery list. When thinking through your plan for the week, make sure you keep your overall schedule in mind. For example, if you want to try a new recipe, do it on a night when you have an open evening with plenty of time to cook something new!
In addition, we all know that life sometimes throws us a curveball. I encourage clients to have a few backup meal options to utilize when they get home late or are feeling tired after a long day. Taking some of the decision-making off the table ahead of time means you have a better chance of staying on track. Remember, Tuesday’s dinner can be pushed to Wednesday if you need to, but at least you will have ingredients and a plan in place.
I encourage clients to always keep a few non-perishable snacks with them. This will hold you over when meal or snack times get pushed back. Some easy examples are trail mix, granola bars, or dried fruit.
Make time for yourself
We all know that it is important to set aside time for appointments with your treatment team, but it can be just as important to physically schedule time in your week to prioritize your meal plan. By having a set “date” with yourself to go to the store on, say, a Monday evening, it will eventually become second nature. This applies to all nutritional goals within recovery like cooking, packing your lunch, and meal planning.
Changes in season often bring a change in schedule. These can be short-term, like dealing with fatigue around the time change. Or it can be a big change, like coming home from school for the summer. When you are sitting down to plan for the week, remember to think about what big and small events are coming and how this might impact urges or your ability to make recovery-focused decisions. Once you know what’s coming, you will be better able to identify helpful interventions.
Boost your support system
Finally, use your full support system—your team and your support people. This can mean increasing sessions with your treatment team or asking a roommate to have dinner with you during the week. Recovery takes a village, so don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help. Once you finish your “checkup” (see #1), share your areas of concern and the goals you are working towards with your loved ones, family, or support person. Communicate how they can best support you and share successes with you.
If you feel like you need extra support springing into recovery this season, Alsana’s admissions team is here to help. Contact us today at alsana.com/livechat.
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