Wednesday, 25 May 2016

My top 5 recovery tips

An important thing to remember about recovery is that it really is different for everyone. What works really well for some people in recovery, doesn't work at all for others and there is no right or wrong way to recover.

Despite this, I thought it may be helpful if I share the 5 main things I did in my recovery, which allowed ME to recover.

You may or may not find these things helpful yourself but if you havent already tried these things, maybe you should give them a go. I hope they help you as much as they helped me! 

1. Follow a Meal Plan
I simply couldnt have recovered without a meal plan. In my opinion you cant just eat intuitively in recovery and if you try, chances are your anorexia will make many of your food choices for you. A meal plan is an easy way to keep track of the energy your putting into your body and can therefore be incredibely helpful to help you to restore your weight. 

While it wasnt always easy, I followed my meal plan perfectly all the time. I found this very helpful as it meant that my anorexia wouldnt even try and convince me to eat any less (no matter how anxious the food made me). It was almost like my anorexia knew I had no choice but to follow my meal plan and so it stopped even trying to tempt me not to do so. 

Whilst designing my meal plan, I considered how mang calories I needed and therefore chose various foods that would allow me to reach my 'calorie goals' for each day. It is importang to note that following meal plans doesn't necessarily mean eating the same things everyday. My meal plans always had a lot of variety and I would change what I ate from day to day while making sure I was eating the right amount of calories. 

2. Restrict exercise
Even though you may really enjoy exercise and want to be fit, exercising while you are in recovery may not be the best thing for your health. Not only does it make gaining weight even more difficult, but your ED may just use it as an opportunity to compensate for any extra amounts of food you are eating.  

Cutting out exercise was incredibely difficult for me whilst I was trying to restore my weight but I can see now that it was the best thing for me to do. Not only did it enable me to gain weight more quickly but it also helped me to learn to control my anorexic thoughts in relation to exercise. 

Just remember that you wont need to restrict your exercise forever and doing so will most likely speed up your recovery for you. So by cutting out exercise, you will most likely be able to exercise again sooner, once you are recovered!

3. Monitor your weight
Some people dont like to see what they weigh and I can completely relate to that. I believe in order to recover however you really do need to keep track of your weight somehow. This may involve a blind weigh in or weighing yourself, whichever you are more comfortable with. 

From memory, I weighed myself 2-3 times a week so that I could make sure I was gaining the weight I needed to. I found this incredibely helpful as it stopped my mind from playing tricks on me. For example it stopped me worrying that I had gained enormous amounts of weight when I hadnt at all. 

Also, without weighing myself I would not have known when I needed to increase my intake. Whenever my weight stayed the same for a few consecutive weigh ins, I knew straight away that I needed to add something else to my meal plan. This ensured that I kept gaining the weight I needed to.

4. Talk to others in recovery
It doesnt matter if you are suffering or recovering from an eating disorder, either way it is can be  an incredibely lonely experience. I found that no matter how much the people in my life tried to understand what I was going through, they simply couldn't. 

I highly reccommend you reach out and talk to other people who are going through the same thing as you. Talking to other people who I could relate to and who understood what I was going through was extremely helpful and comforting for me. I felt as though I could tell these other sufferers things I wouldnt have told anyone else, which meant I could get things off my chest without the fear of being judged.

While it wasnt the case for me, some people may find that talking to other anorexics can trigger their eating disorder. If this is the case for you, then I definetely DONT reccommen talking to other sufferers. In this case I would suggest talking to a professional or someone else who you trust, so that you can get everything you need to off of your chest.

5. Believe you can do it
If you dont believe in your self, your anorexic voice will over power your own thoughts and you will give into your anorexias demands. I honestly think that in order to recover, you need to believe you can do it and you also need to believe it is possible.

For example when you feel overwhelmed about eating a certain food and your anorexia is trying its hardest to convince you not to eat it, if you dont believe in your self chances are you will give into your anorexias demands. But if you believe you are strong enough you will see that you can do it and therefore you will be able to eat the food that is scaring you so much.

Recovery isnt something that happens overnight, it is something that requires you to fight incredibely hard for a very long time. If you dont believe in yourself, I dont think you will be able to fight your anorexic thoughts whenever they may arise. So please, try your best to believe in yourself. Everyone is capable of recovering, no matter how sick you are. You may feel like its impossible but its not. I promise you can do it!


  1. If I could add a #6, it'd be "Ask for Help"! Even with things like creating & sticking to a meal plan, or having a GP/dietician/psych/anyone monitor your weight for you.

    I also like the idea of using 'exchanges' instead of calories. Basically, a serve of protein for example might be 80g cooked chicken, or two eggs, or however many nuts, and they all come to similar calories. You can find out how many 'serves' of the five food groups you need, and calculate an intake to meet your needs without having to focus on calories, and instead focusing on balance.


    1. Yeah those are good points too! It just goes to show how complex anorexia recovery is. There are just so many points of recovery that need to be focused on, no wonder its so exhausting to actually go through the recovery process.

      Yeah that is a good idea Bella. I guess each individual just has to do what suits them best. I found it easiest to use calories as a guide when choosing which snacks etc to eat as my meal plan wasnt super specific. For example some nut/muesli bars have as few at 100 calories while others have 300. So I would get a pretty big variance if I didnt consider the calories at all. :) xx