Recovery from binge eating disorder is a journey. It’s likely to have its ups and downs, and even some setbacks may happen. No matter where you are in recovery — whether you’ve just started treatment or are now out of therapy and maintaining recovery on your own — there are things you can do to help you stay on the right track.
Read on for five self-help and coping skills to help aid your recovery, and other ways to find support.
1. Avoid searching for other diets or eating plans that feel more comfortable
Part of your treatment plan while in recovery may include following an eating plan created by your therapist or care team. It can be tempting to search for a different eating plan that feels easier or more comfortable to follow, but it’s important to avoid doing this. Following a different eating plan or diet can cause you to continue disordered eating behaviors and keep you from making progress. Remember, the eating plan created by your therapist/care team has your unique needs in mind and is tailored specifically to help you recover.
2. Set times to eat and stick to that timeline
Recovering from BED means relearning how to rely on hunger cues to know when to eat and when to stop eating. Setting specific times and locations to eat each day that work for you can help you follow your eating plan and build the skills you need to overcome disordered eating. It’s also important to avoid places or locations that trigger any eating disorder behaviors.
3. Breathe through the discomfort
Breaking disordered eating habits is challenging. It may feel intimidating, scary, and have you feeling powerless over food and eating, especially in the beginning of your recovery journey. Taking a moment to practice breathing exercises can help you get through these stressful and uncomfortable feelings. To practice deep breathing, try this:
- Breathe in for five seconds
- Hold your breath for three seconds
- Breathe out for seven seconds
4. Try journaling to express your thoughts
Using writing as an outlet for your thoughts and feelings can help you cope with and work through discomfort. It can also help you identify any negative thoughts or behaviors to work on. There’s no “right way” to journal — you can do what works for you. You can write a poem, or if you like to draw, you can write a few words and draw or paint to express your feelings. You can do it in a notebook or digitally, whatever works for you.
5. Get enough sleep
Quality sleep is tied to positive moods and better overall health. This can go a long way in helping you stay in recovery from BED. If you’re having trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep, talk to your therapist. They can provide helpful tips to improve your sleep.
Get support outside of therapy
Along with family and friends, BED support groups may be a helpful addition to your support system, especially if you’re no longer in therapy. Talking to groups of peers who have recovered or are recovering from BED about their experiences can help you feel supported on your own recovery journey. You can attend BED support groups in person or online through web conferences and internet forums. If you’re still in therapy, your therapist can help you find a support group in your area or online.
It’s important to note that if you’re feeling down or worse about your recovery journey after attending a support group, it might be a sign that this particular group isn’t the right fit for your goals. It’s okay to try out a different support group that helps you feel more supported.
In addition to support groups, these tools and resources can help you maintain recovery and follow your treatment plan.
It’s always okay to seek help again
No matter where you are in your recovery journey, remember to lean on your therapist and care team when you need to. This is true even if you’ve ended treatment and are no longer seeing a mental health professional. You can always go back to therapy if you find yourself practicing old behaviors or feel past symptoms creeping up. Your care team and or therapist are part of your recovery process, and can help you cope with difficult feelings and challenges throughout your journey.
Most importantly, remember that you’re not alone, and that staying in recovery is possible with the right care and support. If you’re interested in going back to therapy, SonderMind can help.