My Game Plan for Staying in Recovery from an Eating Disorder, During the Holidays, and Every Day

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC for Eating Disorder Hope

The beautiful thing about my recovery process from an eating disorder is that it has been imperfect. As simplistic as this might seem, the truth is that the very journey of recovery has slowly undone the controlling grip of my eating disorder, making possible the hope for healing and restoration.

Some days have certainly been easier than others, and some seasons of this journey begin to slowly make sense in the grand scheme of life. Initially, recovery was about making it through one moment, one day at a time. With continued perseverance and strengthening, recovery has become a life-long commitment, one on which my life essentially depends on.

Remembering the Struggle of the Holiday Season

Many holiday seasons have come and gone throughout my recovery journey. In the early phases of my metamorphosis from my eating disorder, I clearly remember the struggle of the holiday season.

With the voice of my eating disorder distinctively loud, making it through the various challenges required an unrelenting dedication to recovery “plan”. Years later, that commitment to my recovery is stronger than ever; however, it has become an innate part of me and has overpowered my eating disorder with every decision to choose recovery.

Following my meal plan, staying connected to support, committing to therapy and treatment – choosing to do these things, especially when my eating disorder does not want me to – have reinforced my recovery.

Breaking the Mindset of Catastrophic Thinking

eye-113175_640Perhaps one of the most helpful aspects of recovery for me has been to break the mindset of catastrophic thinking, to see things beyond black and white. This is much easier said than done, especially for someone who inherently has perfectionistic thinking.

Many personality traits are influenced by genetic components, and instead of beating myself up, I have learned to accept the unique aspects that make me who I am. Learning coping skills can effectively retrain the brain to view things in a different light – to realize that a relapse or set-back does not mean the end of the world.

Trying Again and Again

There is opportunity to pick up the pieces and try again. In recovery, there is room for failure and chances to learn from hardships and obstacles. I have learned that extending grace to myself throughout this process is not only acceptable but also necessary.

Think of the amount of time that you have spent with your eating disorder and subject yourself to its will. The process of un-doing this is truly a beautiful mess as you come into your own and recover the bits of your life that were controlled by an eating disorder.

Whether through the holiday season or in any challenging time, I have learned that hope is real. What seems impossible is only achieved through the unwavering decision to continue choosing recovery, day after day.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What tools have you learned during your eating disorder recovery to embrace forgiving yourself and extending yourself the grace you need daily?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 7th, 2014
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