My Eating Disorder Recovery Tools

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I have started on my journey to recovery from bulimia, and I’m determined to conquer this dreadful disorder. I talk about it in more depth in the post I have an Eating Disorder. It has taken over my life and that is the hard part; what do I do to fill my time when I would otherwise have been thinking about food or bingeing/purging?

The first thing I did was to write out some distraction techniques and stick them on my fridge. I wrote them out on cute, donut post it notes, because I need to laugh at myself and the situation I’m in or I’d just cry! Dreaming up ideas to distract from the constant urges was easy enough. They are simple everyday activities I can do that won’t cost me anything, and I can do from home:

  1. Have a bath – My go to reaction. I feel safe in the warm water and surrounded by bubbles.
  2. Sketch/Colour  – I can lose myself in a drawing of my own design, or in an adult colouring book.
  3. Listen to music -Singing along to an album that suits my current mood lifts me and can fill me with confidence and willpower.
  4. Play with the cat – A self explanatory endorphin releasing activity!
  5. Phone a friend – Not necessarily to talk about why I called in the first place, but to hear their voice and have a catch up.
  6.  Write a blog post – This blog is my therapy right now. Writing down how I’m feeling in the moment can feel like a great release.
  7. Clean the house – I always feel more positive when the house is clean and tidy. Cleaning all the things that have been niggling at me will distract me.
  8. Read a book – Snuggling up on the sofa under a blanket with a good book is comforting and pleasurable for me.
  9. Go for a walk – Fresh air and natural light always lifts my mood and gets me away from temptation in the house.
  10. Go on a support forum – I find the beat message boards very helpful. I can anonymously lay out my emotions without judgement.

I see these distraction techniques as Step 1. They are for when I’m first beginning to think about bingeing, but have no concrete plans to do so. If I can catch these thoughts early on, maybe I can stop them manifesting into action.

I’ve realised that when these fail, I need a backup plan. At the moment I don’t trust myself when I’m alone. I’m much more likely to binge and purge during the day when no-one is around. I currently work from home, so I find myself alone often. The is not ideal, but I have found a solution. On days when I don’t need to go out anywhere, I will give my debit and credit card to my husband, so I physically can’t go to the shops and buy food to binge on. On days when I want to work elsewhere, or spend the day in town, I can have my cards. This may sound extreme, but it’s necessary in my current mind set. This won’t be forever, and I’m looking forward to the day when I can trust myself again.

I have decided to plan my meals in my daily planner. Having my meals written down will make me accountable. If I binge on food I have to add that, and if I purge, I will add that to. Along side this, I’m writing down my schedule for the day and the moods I’m experiencing. I’m hoping this will keep me on track and make me more aware of when and why I am bingeing and purging. If I can highlight these times, I can make changes to my routine to combat it.

As a final tool to recovery, I’m taking the plunge and asking my psychiatrist to refer me for therapy. I know that my eating disorder is more than just about food, and that I have some deep rooted beliefs about my body image and my self worth. The beginnings of my eating disorder If I can work on these, hopefully I will have the strength to begin to love my body and believe in myself.

 

9 Comments

  1. Scaattie March 2, 2017 / 1:32 pm

    So proud of you for starting your recovery, recovering from any eating disorder is so hard – food is such a big part of your life that you just can’t avoid it.. Therapy is a really good idea though even if you only have a few sessions, they can help you with your day planning as well and just give general tips. I too suffered from bulimia as a teen, and the thing that helped me the most was just eating lots of small meals, it used up lots of time to prepare them, and I couldn’t purge properly anymore. It’s all about finding what works for you though, and try and build up that support network. Never give up fighting, it’s a long road, but you’ll get there ✨xx

  2. Ela Kaimo March 2, 2017 / 11:50 pm

    When I was in a depressive state, I was not allowed to handle sharp objects or to know where my meds were. Eventually, you will be able to trust yourself again, and I’m here cheering you on. 🙂

  3. Saffron Watson March 4, 2017 / 3:33 pm

    Reading this post, I found that a lot of your techniques to stop bingeing/purging are similar to the techniques I used when I was in a constant state of anxiety and was trying to distract my brain.

    I don’t classify myself as having an eating disorder, but I do have moments where I binge junk food when I feel really low.

    It’s great to see that you have you recovery tools, it’s always hard to take the first few steps💖 xx

    • Katie Conibear March 6, 2017 / 12:53 pm

      That’s interesting to hear. I think many techniques to distract overlap with different disorders. So many people struggle with food, and I’m determined to recover x

  4. The Sunday Mode March 19, 2017 / 6:50 am

    You definitely seem to be going in the right direction and I think it’s really amazing that you’re sharing your experience online as well, I’ve struggled pretty severely with anxiety in the past and reading other people’s blog post on how they coped etc really helped me to not feel so alone. Distraction-wise for me watching a TV series or movies that are really gripping/compelling is a great way to take my mind off things.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

  5. Rachel R July 27, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    This is so great! You absolutely have the right idea here. I just wrote a post on LadlebyLadle about recovering from a binge. I was never bulimic but in recovering from anorexia I got myself trapped in a long binge purge cycle that I had to get out of to continue mending the healthy relationship with food. You are on a great track and I wish you well xx

    • Katie Conibear July 27, 2017 / 3:25 pm

      Thanks for reading! I’ll take a look at your post. I think it will help reading another perspective x

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