Eating disorder recovery is hard work. It is normal to feel ambivalent at times or even to want to give up on recovery. Recovery is not a linear process and there are likely to be setbacks and struggles along the way.
A Brief Exercise
One exercise that I’ll often have clients do who are struggling with motivation for recovery is to write down what their lives could look like 5 years from now if they recover vs. 5 years from now if they stay trapped in their eating disorder. This can really help to put things into perspective.
Finding Inspiration for Recovery
When you look back on your life at age 80, do you think that you will be fondly reminiscing about being a slave to the treadmill or obsessively fixating on food? Living trapped in an eating disorder is not an enjoyable way to be.
If you are struggling with finding inspiration to keep working on your recovery, I would advise that you reach out for help and support from a therapist and other treatment professionals.
Additionally, I often will talk with clients about the benefits of surrounding themselves with body-positive and pro-recovery media. I ask them to go into their social media feeds and unfollow anyone who makes them feel badly about themselves and then to add in body-positive and pro-recovery people.
We are inundated with unhelpful messages and part of counter-acting this is to choose to surround yourself with more positive and pro-recovery messaging.
Another exercise that can be helpful in terms of building motivation for recovery is to write a goodbye letter to your eating disorder. You could even discuss how it may have been helpful for you in regards to coping at the time, however how it is no longer serving you.
The Bottom Line
No one chooses to have an eating disorder; however, you can make the choice to keep working on your recovery. There are so many beautiful reasons to recover, from being a role model to others, to traveling and exploring the world, strengthening your relationships, and finding happiness and joy again.
I’d love to hear your reasons to recover in the comments below!
JENNIFER ROLLIN, MSW, LCSW-C is an eating disorder therapist in private practice in Rockville, Maryland. Jennifer specializes in helping adolescents and adults struggling with eating disorders, body image issues, anxiety, and depression. Jennifer offers eating disorder therapy to individuals in Maryland and D.C. and eating disorder recovery coaching via phone/Skype. Visit her website.