Establishing Consistent Meal Planning Patterns for Success in ED Recovery

Meal planning and a picnic

Eating disorders are characterized by chaotic and erratic eating behaviors, with some of the more recognizable behaviors including restricting, binging, purging, hoarding food, chewing/spitting, and the like. When recovering from an eating disorder, it is often unthinkable about eating food in a normalized way, and many individuals often lose sight of what “normal” eating even means.

When in recovery from an eating disorder, normalizing eating behaviors is a priority of treatment and something that occurs through multiple forms.

Working With Professionals

One of the most common misunderstandings about eating disorders is that these behaviors can somehow be “stopped” at will. It is important to remember that eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder, are severe mental illnesses and are not things that can be turned off and on.

In order to successfully intervene with eating disorder behaviors, it is essential to seek out professional help and treatment. Working through the multiple factors that have contributed to erratic eating and eating disorder behaviors most often requires the support of specialists in multi-disciplines.

One key member of an eating disorder treatment team involves a registered dietitian, who can be helpful in working through food-related issues and spearheading a plan to help normalize eating behaviors. Having a meal plan is a critical tool that many individuals in recovery will follow for a period of time to help ensure that they are getting adequate nutrition while learning how to eat normally again.

The Purpose of Meal Planning

On the surface, meal planning might seem diet-related, but when it comes to eating disorder recovery, this is an effective tool for balance, normalization and flexibility. For an individual who has not been eating consistently, has fear of eating, or is unsure when or how much to eat, a meal plan can provide needed structure, support, and accountability.

Meal planning outsideA meal plan should be customized to meet the unique needs that a person might have when in recovery from an eating disorder and is something that may need to be adjusted over time.

If you are in recovery from an eating disorder and working to normalize your eating habits, consider the possibility of working with an eating disorder specialist, such as a dietitian, who can contribute their expertise in this area to help you find success in your recovery. While there are many important tools to utilize in the recovery process, a meal plan can set the foundation for normalized eating.

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on December 22, 2016
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