A Fresh Start: Taking the First Steps Towards Recovery
Making resolutions for the new year can be difficult when struggling with an eating disorder.
However, if your only goal for the new year is to recover from your eating disorder, here are the most important steps you should take.
Forgiveness and Rediscovery
Admitting that you have a problem can be difficult, particularly if you've become attached to the destructive coping mechanism of an eating disorder. It is important to realize that you are not your eating disorder and that the key to happiness, confidence and success does not lie within your size or food. Although it may seem like a daunting task to let go of old habits, remember that you can unlearn these as long as you are motivated to change and are willing to ask for help.
Recovery is about rediscovering who you truly are beyond your eating habits, size and body image. Lastly, before starting on your journey towards recovery. realize that you will have to learn to listen to your body and feelings in order to trust, accept and love yourself.
Ask for Help
It can be hard to ask for help, and you may be going through a mixture of shame and embarrassment, but know that gaining support from those whom you trust most is essential to recovery. If you don't feel quite ready to confide in those closest to you, know that you can turn to a specialist, like an eating disorder counselor or nutritionist.
If you are going to confide in a family member or close friend, you need to be mentally prepared for the wave of emotions that could follow. Know that your friend or family member may be shocked when you reveal your struggles, and that he or she may even be angry or confused. If your loved one is unsure of how to respond or help, stay calm and patient. Ask for his or her help to learn about your eating disorder, and work together on getting you the help you need.
Look for Professional Help
You can make your recovery much easier by getting help from a experienced and caring health professional. It is essential to find a professional counselor or nutritionist who specializes in eating disorders. Remember that you need to find someone who makes you feel comfortable, accepted and safe.
To find a specialist, you can ask your primary care doctor for a referral or your school counselor or nurse for information. You can also check with local hospitals and medical centers to see if they offer any programs specific to eating disorders. Lastly, you can also look for help and information from organizations like the National Eating Disorders Association.
Be Ready to Make a Long-Term Commitment
One of the most important steps when trying to recover is to come up with long-term plan. This plan will be a joint effort between you and your support network. This team might include a family doctor, a psychologist, a nutritionist, a social worker and a psychiatrist. This plan will outline future strategies and will help you develop a more individualized treatment that meets your specific needs.
Be ready to embrace all options like going into an inpatient treatment program, medical monitoring or group therapy. Remember that an effective treatment program needs to address more than your eating habits and needs to attack the root of the problem like your stress, anxiety, fear or other emotions you struggle with.