Most individuals start the new year with great hopes of losing weight, starting a new exercise regimine, or vowing to fit into pants they once squeezed into years ago. 40-45% of American males make some kind of resolution, yet only 75% of them manage to withhold those goals past the first week of January (http://proactivechange.com/resolutions/statistics.htm). For those suffering from an eating disorder, however, resolutions such as wanting to get “toned” or lose 5 pounds can have dire effects on recovery. How then do disordered eating patients manage to endure the commercialized propaganda of diets and exercise during this time of the year?
1. Make a resolution–but one that will help recovery rather than detract from it. Resolve to follow the meal plan, or try a scary food. Promise to be honest with treatment team, and to talk with doctors about worries and fears.
2. Don’t watch tv, read the Internet, etc. Obviously you will end up flipping through channels, but the key is to turn the station when something triggering appears. Stay away from programs that are triggering, and limit time on the computer.
3. Don’t make a resolution, but make a promise. When you promise, you are stating that you are going to adhere to guidelines no matter what they are. Write down your promise, and then revisit it on a daily basis. See if you are keeping that promise, or steering back to old habits.
As a loved one of someone struggling with disordered eating, help him or her in 2013 live a healthy life by giving guidance, support, and showing compassion. Recovery is never an easy road, but having a “promise” (individually driven and one from the recovery team) of hope and happiness is key to lifelong remission.