Advice by Kaela: What To Do When Recovery Seems Far Away
By Kaela Scott
Q: Recovery seems a far ways off in my mind. Do you have any tips on things I should do to make it seem possible?
Before I begin this blog I want you to know that recovery is, and always will be, worth it. You don’t have to be haunted by food and calorie counting but rather can experience true joy, love and happiness in life. If you, or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, there is hope. Reach out for help and begin your journey to wellness today.
A: If you wait around for recovery from an eating disorder to be easy, you will be waiting a long time. I often see people come in when they are struggling with an eating disorder hoping that the decision to get help was the hardest one and that going forward things will be easier. The truth is, while the decision to get help is a very significant step to take, the work has only just begun. There are a few things that are critical for people to know about recovery once they have decided to overcome their eating disorder
- Override the Eating Disorder Voice: Most people with Eating Disorders report that their eating disorder “talks” to them. What this means is that as they reach for food they hear their eating disorder telling them why they can’t have that food and how fat they will become if they eat that food or keep it in their stomach. Alternatively as a binge eater, the voice tells them they have to have a certain food just one more time and they can’t stop until they’ve finished it. Set a goal with yourself that you will challenge your eating disorder and not listen to what it is telling you. My rule of thumb is that whatever your eating disorder is asking you to do, whether that is to restrict, throw up, lie or keep secrets, do the opposite. This won’t be easy but you are stronger than your eating disorder and you can beat it.
- Be Patient and Compassionate With Yourself: As you continue along your journey to wellness and start allowing your body to have the nutrition it needs, your body will change. This will likely create a lot of anxiety and will make you question everything you are working towards. In a moment when you are feeling safe and okay, make a list of things you can do to take care of yourself when you are feeling anxious or upset. This can be absolutely anything except for resorting back to your eating disorder. For example, some people take baths, read, go for coffee, or call a friend. This won’t make everything better necessarily but it will teach you to practice taking care of yourself in your time of need instead of neglecting yourself. Developing positive body image takes time and requires you to work at it. As you work through the initial anxiety you will adapt and your relationship with your body will change for the better.
- Believe In Your Own Recovery: Sometimes in your darker moments it will be hard to believe in yourself and your own ability to get through the challenging times. Know that you can. Create a mantra that you will tell yourself in your desperate moments to help get you through. It may not always be easy but you absolutely have the strength and the ability to overcome your eating disorder and believing in yourself will take you further than you can imagine.
Kaela Scott is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who specializes in Eating Disorders. She runs her own private practice and works with the Looking Glass Foundation in both their summer camp and their Hand In Hand Program. She has been passionate about working with eating disorders since freeing herself from her own struggle and realizing what it is like to be happy and well. When she isn’t working, you can find Kaela either cozying up with a cup of tea and her friends or up in the mountains going for a hike.