by Michelle Dougherty RD - Eating Disorders Nutritionist
Eating disorders have deep roots within your thought process and will require significant effort to loosen and release. Repeating affirmations, especially specific to your need and situation, can replace old, sick thoughts, with new, positive ideas. Here is just a sampling of affirmations, I think they help.
- FOOD IS MEDICINE. Hippocrates understood this long before my time, still it could not be more appropriate. The vitamins and minerals, and most of all, the energy stored in our food, heals and maintains our bodies, pure and simple. Over and over I hear “I just want to be healthy” my answer…”let’s start with eating food.”
- ONE MEAL AT A TIME. The future holds the unknown, triggering fear and anxiety. Challenge yourself to stay in the moment and only ask yourself to have THIS meal or snack, that is all. We can never predict 100% what will come next.
- I AM MORE THAN A NUMBER or SCALES ARE FOR FISH. Tempted to start your day on the scale, how does this make you feel…MAKE you feel. You felt one way before and the scale has the power to change how you feel. If you haven’t been able to throw the scale out, place a few notes on or beside it listing what is really true about you. “I am talented, I am smart, I am a good friend/brother” don’t let the scale measure you.
- A SET BACK IS NOT FAILURE. Nothing is practiced without making mistakes. When you are learning something new this is to be expected. If you don’t pass a test, a teacher may have you turn in corrected answers for practice and credit, you don’t simply move on without understanding what you missed. It is the same in recovery. By sharing what is not changing or going the way you planned, you can try something new, keep trying.
- EATING IS NOT OPTIONAL. You can’t drive a car without gas, when you run out you fill up the tank. Food is your body’s fuel. Running out of fuel interferes with concentration, emotion regulation and heat or energy in the body. There are no exceptions to this need.
- ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING. This you can control, this you can change. Eating disorders are not a choice. Exercise control where it really counts. Choose to be positive, choose to be kind, nonjudgmental, you can even choose to be angry, just not at yourself.
- PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION. Seeking perfection is often an underlying theme of this illness, it simple cannot be used as tool in recovery. Recovery is not a race, in fact it takes time to understand why and how the ED came to be, it is through understanding that one truly moves away from ED.
- ALL FOODS FIT or THERE ARE NO BAD FOODS. Eating disorders build a strong foundation in negatively labeling foods. The diet industry also thrives on this. Every few months or years we read “don’t eat this” as a cure to all our problems. Moderation is the solution, don’t be sold any other story.
- YOU ARE ONLY AS SICK AS YOUR SECRETS. When we isolate with meals and lie to our families we are protecting the illness. Talking can be difficult because it shines the truth on our actions and allows others to help or at least be supportive when we are ready to get well.
- NOTHING CHANGES UNLESS SOMETHING CHANGES. This isn’t a riddle. Though often uncomfortable, think of change as growth and potential for new happiness. If you make a change and truly feel it was for the worst, most likely you can go back, or try something else.