Recovering from an eating disorder is not easy. Many think it is just about getting back to eating again. If only it were that simple. While there are things others around you can do to help, the key person is you. Change takes time and energy, both emotional and physical. This can feel lonely, overwhelming, and frustrating at times. Take some time to think about the following:
1. Your role in your recovery. One of the hardest things to do in recovering from an eating disorder is to decide that you do indeed want to ‘give up’ the eating disorder and take better, more healthful care of yourself. Ultimately, this is the decision that everyone must make at some point before change is possible. We understand that making this decision is complicated. Most people remain ambivalent or uncertain for a long time.
The following are a few reasons why people choose to recover:
- They miss having certain people or activities in their life
- They want to feel better, less ashamed, more optimistic, less moody, more fun-loving
- They want more intimacy in their lives
- They don’t want to feel depressed and completely emotionally drained anymore
- They want to feel good about being in their own skin
- They resent all the time the eating disorder takes
- They want their life back
2. Your role in your physical health. You are the keeper of your body. You are in the best position to either ignore or honor the cues that your body sends you. If you ignore important signs and signals for long enough you will develop medical complications. If you are beginning to notice symptoms and /or are worried about your health, check with your doctor. Your doctor can monitor your health regularly and make specialist referrals such as to Counsellors, Psychologists, Dietitians, Psychiatrists, etc.
3. Your role in deciding what kind of care you need. Are you looking for support or treatment right now? Hopewell offers support services such as support groups, mentoring programs and information on treatment services. As a support centre, Hopewell does not offer medical support or counselling services. No referral is necessary to access Hopewell’s programs and services. Treatment is different in that you are usually assessed and given a treatment plan. The first step to treatment is usually to restore your medical health. Treatment is available in either the community or hospital setting. In either setting, there is usually a treatment team made up of different professionals who have designed a program for you. Both treatment and support services can be used simultaneously to improve the overall quality of your life.
4. Your role with your weight and getting weighed. Weight is a very sensitive topic for people with eating disorders. It is however, a key indicator of your overall health. If your weight is too low you are at risk for complications just as it is when it is too high. This is why it is important to have your weight monitored. How you get weighed and the optimal weight you are aiming for in recovery can be worked out with your doctor as part of your care plan.
5. Your role with your eating. If you are a student and still living at home, your parents bring food into the house. However, it is up to you to decide what and how much to eat. This is true as long as you are making good health decisions. When you stop making healthy choices, the people around you become concerned and want to get involved. As an adult, you have to both provide the food and decide what and how much to eat. Without a doubt though, food is the medicine of choice for eating disorders. Treatment and support services are aimed at helping you to restore normal eating patterns and re-establish a healthier relationship with food and eating.
6. Your role in creating a personal support team. Recovery is hard to do alone. It is important, both when you’re thinking about getting better and when you have made up your mind to do so, to have a few people who are on your team. You can help them help you by being honest, and letting them know how they can be helpful, even if it means just listening. Your support team. Your support team might include your parents, partner/spouse, siblings, colleagues, friends, doctor, teacher, or coach.
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"This self-help group has been a really important step in my recovery.”
“This binge eating group helps me save a small piece of me every week and it’s offering me the opportunity to feel safe and loved.”
“I had wanted support in a group setting for many years, and finally got it. I hope this support community continues to grow and touch others lives like it did mine.”