I’ve been recovered from anorexia for a number of years and now work with people with eating disorders. I’ve had a book and blogs published about my experience, but I’m aware that what might help one person may not be right for another. So I’m writing a series of blogs based on others’ experiences, to give a broader perspective.

I asked people who are either in recovery or recovered to share with me what they’ve learned in the hope that it can help someone else.

Mary’s Advice:

1. Find a support system and 12 step program for your particular ED.

2. Work the 12 steps and get a sponsor. I’m from the UK and have only heard of the ‘12 Steps’ through AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). If you’re not familiar with this approach, click here. 12-Step Program Groups for Eating Disorders Treatment: Uses in Recovery (eatingdisorderhope.com))

3. Meditate for 30 minutes a day. See this link for different types of meditation What are the Different Types of Meditation? Benefits (With Examples) (mindworks.org)

4. Daily reflections and prayer to whatever higher power you choose.

5. Work with a therapist and dietician.

6. Process your feelings after mealtimes.

7. Practice self care. To help with my body positivity, I play with my makeup and nails and do things that are self care related. If I’m feeling particularly insecure about my looks I try to do something different with my hair or clothes for the day. I take a few selfies and instead of listening to the ED voice I try to do the opposite of what it wants. I compliment myself in those selfies and tell myself the things that I DO like about how I look and just leave it there.

8. Make a list of things I’m grateful for every day. (This one is honestly the most helpful when I’m struggling). See this list for ideas to get you started What’s On Your Gratitude List Today? (simplemindfulness.com)

9. Pick up hobbies that are fun and hands on.

10. Spending time in nature and outdoors is so grounding when I am particularly anxious about eating or body image. Nature and sunlight can be so grounding for me reminding me that life is so much bigger than me!

11. Helping others gets me out of my own head. When I use my time for others’ needs I forget about my own anxieties and feel better because I spent my time trying to help someone else.

Kristy’s Story:

1. I’m a born animal lover. I had a friend that got me involved in our local animal shelter in the thick of my lowest time of life (and ED). Being involved with these animals that had no one else to come love them and exercise them helped me take the focus off of my body issues. It brought me joy and happiness and meaning to my life again. It was the beginning of my recovery.

2. I still struggled for many years after to really have a healthy outlook on food and exercise. But watching my body go through pregnancy twice and having two amazing girls, gave me the final push to help me see how amazing our bodies are and how fuelling it helps it do amazing things. I then wanted to be strong and fit and healthy to run around with my kids and be a good role model for them.

3. I consider myself 98% recovered. I still occasionally feel sick to my stomach and have a moment’s thought that old behaviours will make me feel better. But I know that it’s a moment to fix that feeling and finding something like meditation, walking, or cycling on a country road helps ground me and bring peace.

Thank you so much for sharing Mary and Kristy!

I hope you found their learnings useful. Let me know what you’ll try as a result of reading this. Or if you’d like to share what has helped or is helping you, please get in touch at [email protected].

Love and hugs, Kim x