The Meadows Ranch provides cutting-edge treatment for women and young girls struggling with eating disorders and offers these tools and tips on managing your eating disorder symptoms during the summer months. Here are just a few of the ways you can manage situations or behaviors that you may find triggering:
- Acknowledge Your Stress – Stressful situations can trigger emotional eating which can lead to binge eating and purging. The more aware you are of the emotions that come with your stress or anxiety, the more prepared you will be when they arise. When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, pressured, frustrated or stressed, don’t give in to negative thoughts. Instead, accept the feeling and remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can. Recovery is an on-going process, and it’s important to address negative thoughts/feelings and focus on the positive strides you have made.
- Put Away the Camera – Body image is the way you see yourself and imagine how you look. It is also how you imagine that other people see you. If you have a negative body image, you may feel self-conscious or awkward, and you may feel shame about your body. We may all feel this way about our bodies and ourselves from time to time — that’s normal. If you have a negative body image, seeing yourself in photographs may increase your anxiety levels. Our advice is to leave the camera at home or your smartphone in your purse, and instead, focus on the things that make you exceptional.
- Stay Hydrated – Some people with eating disorders enjoy feeling dehydrated – washed out, drained, empty; and interpret being normally hydrated with gaining weight. The fact is, water makes up 50-60% of body weight and is necessary for proper function. Poor diet along with hot weather and sweating can increase the risk of dehydration, and severed dehydration can cause a myriad of health issues and even death. Dehydration symptoms generally become noticeable after 2% of one’s normal water volume has been lost. We recommend 8-10 glasses of fluid per day for regular activity in a normal climate; more if the temperature is hot and if you exercise.
- Stay Committed To Your Recovery Routine – Summer time is generally less structured and more relaxed, so it’s important to plan ahead and stay as close to your recovery routine as possible. Everyone has their own individual recovery routine and this includes keeping up with your medical appointments, therapy sessions, nutrition counseling, and recovery groups. Whether you are staying at home or taking a vacation this summer, make sure to write out your meal plan ahead of time, so you have everything you need for busy days. If your meal plan is designed for three meals and three snacks per day, eating every three hours, you need to stick to your schedule on vacation as well.
- Stay Active – Healthy non-compulsive exercise is a very positive thing for most people. Keeping active is a way to help an individual stay fit mentally, and stave off a negative mindset. For people with disordered eating the effects of exercise on self-esteem, depression, mood and body image can reduce the risk of eating pathologies. Go outside and take a leisurely walk, go camping, do some gardening, or perhaps go for a relaxed bike ride and feel your body’s movements and its strength – it will do your mind good.
- Dress with a Smile – You know how the old saying goes “It’s the inside that counts. Not the outside.” Get comfortable with yourself, inside and out. The majority of the time people will notice your smile instead of your clothing. How you feel and how you dress are closely associated. Feeling more positive about yourself may lead to more flattering and noticeable outfits. Remember, if you don’t want to wear a bikini, you don’t have to! If you want to wear a sundress, you should wear it! The important thing is to dress in a way that makes you feel good.
- Surround Yourself with Support – Being with friends is not only fun, but it’s good for your health too. It is important to surround yourself with people who will support you, and stay away from those who are toxic and could create triggers. This may mean removing those people in your social network who are critical of themselves, engage in negative behaviors, or have their own body issues. Support can come from a trusted friend, a loving family member, a support group, or your own therapy sessions; the key is that you have a non-judgmental outlet to talk about your feelings. Spending time with people who care about your well-being can go a long way toward coping with stress.
Staying on a recovery plan for an eating disorder can be a challenge, especially during the summer; however, with these self-care tools, you can enjoy every minute of it!
We Can Help
Summer is a time to relax and recharge, but it is important to stay committed to your recovery.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an untreated eating disorder, The Meadows Ranch can help. For additional information about the treatment of eating disorders, please call to speak to a Counselor at 866-390-5100 and we will contact you with the information you need.