Written by Nancy Chen
Recovery isn’t easy. And while everyone recovers in different ways, there are a variety of resources that you can choose from to help guide you. It might be a mix of these, or none of these; you might try a couple before you find what works for you.
But even by actively trying, actively seeking to recover, you’re already on the right path. I believe in you. We all believe in you. Stay strong. Smile. One step at a time.
1. Your Journal
Self-reflection is a powerful tool. By looking inward and looking at your experiences, your expectations, and your goals, you can pinpoint your triggers and avoid them. You’ll also gain a better sense of self.
Journaling is therapeutic. Be honest. You can tell the paper (or the computer) whatever you want to - it won’t judge or tell anyone else. And you can come back to these words whenever you need to. Maybe it’ll be a month from now and you’ll see how much you’ve improved, or maybe it’ll be the next day and you want to reread the words of inspiration you’ve written.
Your friends might not necessarily be able to relate to you if they haven’t had an eating disorder, but that doesn’t mean they can’t love and support you. By opening yourself up to your friends and not shutting yourself away, you’re building a support network for yourself.
Be transparent with them. Tell them you’re trying to get better. Let them hold you accountable for things you want to be held accountable for. Ask them for help. Spend meals with them. Spend time with them. Even if you might want to close yourself off, do the opposite - this is when you need openness the most.
There’s been some debate on whether social media is helpful or harmful to those in recovery. For me, it was instrumental in my recovery. I found such a positive, loving community who supported me, and I found that by posting pictures of my food, I turned something that I once looked at with guilt and shame into something that was beautiful, that I wanted to share. It also got me to cook more, which also helped transform my relationship with food.
You’ll find that many others may be struggling like you, or have struggled and won. Draw inspiration from them, but take it with a grain of salt and remember that Instagram, like all social media, isn’t necessarily what meets the eye - it’s a filtered version of life.
Happier is a gratitude journal app. The benefits of practicing gratitude are endless, but my favorite thing about this is that it shows you no day is truly all bad. It teaches you to find the positive, the little things that make life good, and to count your victories, no matter how small.
Rise Up seeks to normalize your relationship with food by providing a place for you to track your meals and emotions and stay accountable. It also helps you find professionals in your area.
Not only is yoga good for de-stressing, but it can also help you find inner peace with yourself. Yoga teaches you that it’s okay to take time for yourself, to look within, to be grateful for your body for all it has done for you.
7. 7 Cups
If you want to talk to someone but don’t feel ready to yet to tell your friends, 7 Cups has trained listeners who will chat with you and provide short-term therapy. It’s completely anonymous and confidential.
Sometimes understanding why binges or other eating disorder-related incidents happen can help immensely. This podcast uses psychology to examine various people’s cases and help them build a healthy relationship with food. This helps strengthen your mind and arm you with the information to beat your eating disorder.
9. Kelly U
Kelly is a body positive eating disorder warrior. On her YouTube channel, she shares her experience and also gives tips on beating binge eating, how to eat intuitively, and how to end your fear of weight gain.
Her Instagram is full of self love as well, and is ultimately very real. She shows that everyone has “squish” and that’s perfectly okay.
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help. There are nutritionists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists who specialize in eating disorders.
Finding the right professional for you is a bit like dating. Try out a couple to see who you’re most comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to move on to another if the first one doesn’t work.
It is these professionals’ job to help you recover, and they deliver personalized attention along with their expertise - it’s your own personal recovery plan. If you’re struggling to recover on your own, this is a good option to try.
11. Wear Your Label
We have a community blog that focuses on mental health, written by people like me - ambassadors who were chosen for their experiences with mental health and who are passionate about making a change.
It can be helpful to hear how other people have recovered, and if you have other mental health disorders that you are struggling with, the blog is a good way to read about others who are experiencing the same things as well.
Personally, I found that the eating disorder awareness and mental health advocate bracelets I bought symbolized my recovery. They symbolized strength. They symbolized that others out there were struggling too, that I was alone, that I had taken the first step to being better. That recovery was real. And slowly, it became real.
For more information about eating disorders, see the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA)’s website.