National Eating Disorders Association
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Recovery

Every August, my family takes a vacation to Cape Cod. It was something I looked forward to every year, but in the years my eating disorder was in control, I started to dread it. 

Vacations are supposed to be about fun and relaxation, but for me they became a huge source of stress. Not knowing what we would be doing or eating next was a huge challenge to face without anxiety, and it took time and practice in my recovery to learn to let go and truly enjoy myself. 

Here are some strategies you can try to help combat stress and negative thinking on vacation:

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I’ve always known that I was a writer. I was the kid with an overactive imagination and a knack for weaving my thoughts into convincing stories, and I was so hopelessly in love with writing that I could see no other way to live. I am writer, utterly unfit to do anything else. 

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Dr. Lesley Williams is a certified eating disorder specialist, family medicine physician, and positive body image advocate. She co-owns Liberation Center, an eating disorder treatment facility, in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Williams is dedicated to ensuring that all women and men who struggle with eating and body image issues receive the help that they need to overcome and live happy, healthy lives.

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Growing up, I always wanted to say that something would “unthaw” when my mom would pull it from our freezer for dinner. It was one of these words that I always used in the wrong context; I was always saying “unthaw.” Thinking about my life now, it was some sort of foreshadowing.  

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Ah, summer. No school, no deadlines, and no obligations. In their place: cookouts, pool parties, beach trips, vacations, etc. Life is easy-breezy, a two-month-long, Instagram-worthy holiday. 

But—what if your summer isn’t this? What if your summer is actually a story of unstated (but ubiquitous) pressures? The pressure to be easy-going, fun-loving, and spontaneous. To socialize all the time. And of course, to show off that mythical “bikini-body.”

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I know how anorexia makes you feel. You think she is your best friend; you think she can solve everything. She holds you in the night when you feel alone. She walks down the road with you reassuring you that you are valued. She teaches you how to miss meals and you become a team. A team with a unique bond that no one can break. A team that you believe will lead to an amazing life. A team that completes you. But no – the team will fail! 

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Day 28: Tuesday “I forgot how miserable I really used to be...I want my life. I want a personality. I want hobbies. I want love. I want feeling, I want confidence. I can’t have those things along with ED. So goodbye ED. Goodbye forever. I want recovery more than ever.”

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“Be sure to eat your vegetables.” For me, this saying was an everyday staple of my childhood, and although it has been nearly half a decade since I last lived with my parents, I still try my best to follow a healthy diet and lead a healthy lifestyle. During my freshman and sophomore years in college, though, I entrapped myself in this philosophy to the point that I was becoming withdrawn from my friends and creating a relationship with food that was devoid of enjoyment at both the social and sensory levels.

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With the anticipation of celebrating Independence Day growing every day, people all across America seem to be getting ready, picking up paper plates and plastic cutlery, standing in long lines at the supermarket, or stocking up on red, white, and blue clothing to be extra patriotic this year. Among all the excitement of rejoicing in the independence of our country, we may be less attentive to our own needs and sometimes reject our personal cues to re-energize and uplift ourselves.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, there are a variety of NEDA resources available. From directories of treatment professionals to personal recovery stories, our resources speak to a variety of audiences. Here are a few ways to access support today:

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