Dealing With Thoughts During Eating Disorder Recovery

Updated: Mar 31

While in recovery, I remember having days where I felt like I had this thing beat and then in an instant, I’d think, “what if this is too much?” “Will this make me fat” or “ Do I even have an eating disorder?” I remember running these questions around in my head over and over again.

Now, is the time to reach out for help, call a friend, text your coach... These thoughts are the first warning signs saying, “something isn’t right and needs to be addressed.” Right now is an excellent time to pause and think of any stressors you may have going on. Did someone say something hurtful? Did plains change, or are you under a little bit more pressure today?

Brain chatter may seem constant and never-ending. At times you may feel like you've got twenty conversations going on at once, none that even make sense.

During this time, your journal will come in pretty handy. Writing this stuff out helps a lot. Writing allows you to dig deep within, learn what is actually going on, and freely jot it down without worry of judgment or unwanted advice. Sometimes you may just want to sort through your thoughts. Journaling also serves as its own little progress tracker. You can look back on previous months or even years and find gratitude for where you were versus where you are today. Journaling can remind you of the baby steps that took place to reach some of your larger goals. Even a little humor can be found in reading some of your previous passages. Journaling helps you to notice patterns. If you notice yourself experiencing the same problem over and over again, even if it's coming up in different forms, you know it's time to address it. Once you start exploring these feelings, you able to come up with ways to challenge them and work through them.

Combating the noise in your head won't happen overnight. Challenging your thoughts and working through your anxieties will take time, lots of conscious time. Eventually, the noise will get quieter, and your thoughts will become more comfortable to work through. It does get easier. Don't allow yourself to identify with your thoughts or feelings. Not everything your mind tells you is accurate. Unfortunately, you’re just the one who has to hear it. By challenging your thoughts, you’re allowing your healthy self to come out and contradict the eating disorder voice. Challenging those nasty thoughts may go a little something like this: Thought: Oh no, I just ate lunch and look fat now. Challenge-Response: You cannot gain weight over one meal or one snack. What you are feeling is probably the feeling of fullness in your stomach. This is normal.

You can start challenging your thoughts by writing them out in your journal or giving yourself a quick timeout to sit and go over this dialogue in your head. Always remember to allow the Challenge-Response to have the last word, even if this means having an entire conversation with yourself. Over time this will become easier and easier, almost second nature. But first, we have to train ourselves to look past the initial thought and find the truth.

Become an observer of your thoughts, notice them as they pass through and allow them to go. Meditation is a simple practice that is a little difficult at first, but just like any other skill you're trying to learn, it becomes easier over time. Sit quietly, either on the floor or in a chair with your spine erect, as you begin to settle in notice where your body is touching the floor, notice your pressure points, begin to explore if you're holding tension anywhere and allow your body to relax. Start to pay attention to your breath, close your eyes and begin to listen to the sound of your breath coming and going. When your mind starts to wander, which it will... Simply guide your attention back to your breath. Try this for just 5 minutes at first, and then add more time as it becomes easier.

When you are feeling anxious, breathing exercises serve as a powerful tool. These can be done anywhere, and anytime. Pause, and breathe in for a count of five, then release for a count of seven. Do this for a few minutes and see how you feel after. Breathing exercises help to lower stress in the body, create better blood circulation and help lower anxiety.

Sometimes you just need some good old fashioned Self-Care. Taking care of yourself is a priority that's often overlooked. Reaching out and calling a friend, going for a walk in nature, or taking a long hot bath are all forms of self-care, it doesn't have to be fancy. And lastly, remind yourself that you are human, it's okay to struggle, just don't give up.