Achieving eating disorder recovery is a noble task – and completely do-able. It takes courage; it takes knowledge; it takes a serious dose of awareness. I’m talking eating disorder recovery from any eating disorder – binging, restricting, over-exercising, overeating, under-eating, you name it.
If you have any of these behaviors, even a little bit, and you want recovery, this message is for you. In order to get eating disorder recovery, you need to get super skilled at recognizing when things fall off track.
First, you need to recognize that things get off track – remember, I said that awareness is a super important part of the process of eating disorder recovery. And, knowing that slips are inevitable is going to be your first step to managing them. It’s your first step into not allowing slips to become slides.
Once you can recognize when things are getting a little slippery, you’re on your way to eating disorder recovery. Now, the question remains: how do you determine if your lapse is a simple rain puddle or a looming mudslide?
The answer? Frequency, Intensity, and Duration.
While lapses are inevitable, when we can keep a watchful eye on these three factors, we can help to keep slips to a minimum and our vulnerability to a full-blown relapse very low.
How often are your slips happening? Once a month? Once a week? Once a day? Once an hour? Are you finding yourself out to dinner almost every night having to make choices that don’t serve your eating disorder recovery? Are you taking little nibbles of food more regularly than your meal plan suggests? If your answer is yes, more times than not, you want to take a look at how you can negotiate the frequency of your lapses.
How bad is it? We don’t like to use such judgmental language when talking about eating behaviors; in this case, it simply suits the question. Did you have too much oil on the brussels sprouts? Did you eat too much of the lamb shank at your office lunch? Or did you choose to have three pieces of cake at your friend’s baby shower or order in 2 pints of ice cream? It’s important to look at the intensity of lapses. (And note: a lot of little intensity does add up to a big intensity.)
How long does the lapse last? Did you take a bite of your friend’s cookie and get right back on track? Did you eat a slice of pizza at the birthday party and leave it at that? Or, did you have dessert at dinner and chase that with some ice cream and chips afterward, followed by two donuts for breakfast? Recognizing how long the lapse lasts is a very important part of preventing slips from becoming slides.
Eating disorder recovery is yours for the taking. Once you get adept at recognizing the frequency, intensity, and duration of your slips, you have the power to make a change toward recovery in every moment. And that’s the name of the game.