After recovering from an eating disorder, how do you manage dieting and getting in shape, in order to avoid getting carried away and/or relapsing?
Last Updated: 07/30/2019 at 12:02am
Brittany Kelley, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Social Work/Therapist
I am a psychodynamically trained clinical social worker. I find assisting women and families through difficult times an extremely rewarding and collaborative process.
Top Rated Answers
It is extremely hard to get in shape after an eating disorder. You have to have a gym schedule and be strict with your diet but also give yourself a few cheat meals a week so that way you aren't depriving yourself of your favorite foods.
Sometimes to avoid relapsing I have to think about what is more important to me, my mental health or the way I look. Sometimes I have to just take a step back and think that hey I am a person, I will not have the perfect body I don't need to be hard so hard on myself. I try to set healthy and realistic goals, but I try to distance them from the way I feel about myself. I try to keep my fitness goals and the way I feel about myself separate now. It is hard sometimes, but with help from my friends and family and an understanding of why I feel the way that I feel it makes the weight less heavy.
I have struggled with my weight throughout my life. I am finally at a place where I have been steadily and healthily losing weight and getting into shape. It is my personal experience that it we have to be ever vigilant in maintaining the right mindset and challenge the faulty, negative thinking that has us risk returning to negative thoughts and behaviors. The Depression Self Help Guide on this site has an amazing resource regarding cognitive restructuring, specifically a section about recognizing and addressing faulty thinking. After reading it, I was immediately able to recall all of the faulty thinking that led me to be overly hard on myself while attempting to lose weight. When comparing my current thoughts to the ones I had before while I was still struggling with weight loss and freeing myself from destructive eating tendencies, I can now see how my faulty thoughts made me so susceptible to relapsing into those behaviors. Consider providing yourself with the resources you need to maintain a healthy mindset and eliminate faulty thinking.
I would suggest getting a calendar and keeping track of what you eat and the exercise you do. You are suppose to get a certain amount of calories everyday in order to live and be healthy.
The support of your therapist, friends and family is key here. Trying to do everything in moderation and remembering that you don't want to go back to where you used to be, you're just trying to be healthier and happier! I find that doing fun workouts as walking my dogs or going to a zumba class with friends feel more like fun activities rather than "exercise" and that way I don't worry about how many calories I'm burning, I see this as something fun that makes me feel good! If you ever feel you are close of relapsing ask for help, right away!
Talk to a dietitian or nutritionist about how to eat properly and balance exercise. Maybe writing down a daily log about what you ate and did every day to see how you progress. Remember that everything is healthy in moderation; you don;t have to go overboard to get results because everything takes time.
This is a tough one. Sometimes you have to recognize and accept that you may need to seek others' input on your diet/in shape journey. If it's financially feasible, a personal trainer is a good idea - they can make sure you're dieting and working out within healthy parameters. Barring that, friends or family who know about your situation can help gently nudge you away from relapse.
as someone who has struggled with an eating disorder, what helps me personally is reminding myself what i'm doing and why i'm doing it. i am taking care of my health and eating right and exercising because i LOVE myself and want the best for myself in life. you will have some bad days, undoubtedly, but keep reminding yourself that you are doing this out of a place of self-love and self-compassion. you are beautiful and deserve to do what makes your body happy and healthy and strong. good luck!!
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