I am obsessed with schedules. And with two kids under the age of ten, schedules and routines are of paramount importance. Every morning, we have the same routine:
Wake up at 6am.
Change clothes for school.
Brush teeth and hair.
Grab school bags and lunches.
Get in the car and go.
Nothing complicated. Nothing fancy. Routines are wonderful, lovely ways to keep things consistent (a must when one has little kids!) and to maintain discipline (another must when one has little kids!).
And much like the last two points that I wrote about on this previous post, good recovery habits are formed through consistent discipline. How to stay eating disorder recovered, however, can be tricky, and so I wanted to share two more actions I did to maintain a healthy weight and attitude towards food.
1. Set timers. It’s easy to “forget” to eat lunch when you are already feeling bloated and fluffy from following a meal plan. It’s also easy to skip a snack when you are knee-deep in work, school, or other activities going on. Setting a timer to eat is an audible reminder to BE CONSISTENT AND DISCIPLINED.
Even beyond setting one’s phone to ring when it is mealtime, having a beeping signal go off as a sign to stop and say something positive and wonderful about oneself is another great way to use a timer. Most individuals recovering from an eating disorder are inundated with a plethora of negative talk: You’re too fat. You’re failing at this. Look at your arms. Look at your stomach. So big. Too much too much too much. The talk can be incessant and mentally demoralizing–the perfect catalyst for one to lose discipline and consistency. So why not say something positive every hour, every two hours? Set a timer to go off at different intervals, and rather than wallow in self-loathing, try thinking of one positive affirmation to make.
2. Give yourself short-term goals and rewards. Imagining being consistent and disciplined FOR THE REST OF ONE’S LIFE is crazily overwhelming. For those in recovery, the process towards wholeness and healing is a daily endeavor. For many, they cannot look beyond the meal in front of them, let alone years down the line. So set short-term aims to be consistent on. Try one “scary” food per day. Drink a caloric beverage at each meal. Randomly buy a candy bar and eat it. Don’t look at a food label when going grocery shopping. What is manageable and attainable as a short-term goal will vary according to the individual, but the important factor to consider is that said goal is within the grasp of the patient. And then, when that aim is met, celebrate! Ironically, many individuals suffering with an eating disorder may find it challenging to let themselves have any KIND of reward, but a reward does not always have to be something big like a new bag or car (although if that works, then go for it!). Rewards can take many forms: fifteen minutes of quiet solitude to read or meditate, time to watch a favorite TV show, a hug or kiss from a family member or friend. The purpose of a reward is to show the patient that life is not only about meeting goals and aims–it’s about celebration as well and finding ways to enjoy the journey we call life.
Discipline and consistency. Those actions lead to the creation of positive habits. Or, those actions could lead to negative habits as well. Eating disorder habits are steeped in one doing the same obsessive food and exercise rituals without evening realizing she has the potential, the strength, and the ability to CHANGE those habits.
What has your experience with eating disorder recovery been like? Do you know someone in recovery right now? What have they (or you) done to achieve recovery and stay recovered?
Comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts.