National Eating Disorders Association

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Struggling to hit my stride

Struggling a bit, could really use some encouragement.

Since I was a college athlete, I was faced with an exercise restriction unless I made a change. Since it was my senior year of my decades-long swimming career, I made a really conscious effort and made great progress and celebrated a fantastic end to a long swimming career!

Fast forward a year, I actually was able to let go of my ED and get really into my job and friends. Had a lot of fun and didn’t have nearly the amount of the mood swings I’m used to. I even got a promotion!

Now I'm back at my pre-ED weight. For the most part, I’ve actually surprised myself by my gradual acceptance of my curves and much healthier looking body. But I’m still over what I consider a comfortable weight. Lately I’ve been struggling with old frustrations and body image obsessions. My job has also taken a really stressful turn, which likely contributes to some of my feelings right now, and I’ve been engaging in old habits like meal skipping, over-exercising, ultra-healthy eating (and my absolute most embarrassing-chewing & spitting junk food that I buy for that reason).

My weight has remained steady (probably because my habits are rather counter-intuitive), so my old habits are “not working” anymore. And deep down, I’m actually thrilled my body has gotten to a point where it’s strong and healthy enough to push back on my bs behavior, but the frustration and feelings of loss of control are still there. I have no desire to go back down the ED rabbit hole, but I would like to feel like I have the control to lose a little weight to get to a more comfortable level without feeling like I need to engage in such embarrassing behaviors. (My new coworkers are beginning to notice I skip meals - I don't want to be that person!)

Wondering if anyone has any encouragement they can lend me. I’ve thought about seeing somebody to talk with again, but I’m struggling to find anyone under my insurance and I’ve been so busy with my job that I don’t even know if I even have time to fit it into my schedule (I would rather get more sleep! Lol)

Sorry for the novel. Would love to know if anyone has experienced anything similar or can share their experience.

I think what I would find

I think what I would find most helpful is to talk through with someone (either here or a nutritional counselor) to help set my expectations for the changes my body is going through in recovery and how it will all regulate and normalize at some point.

Right now, I think I recognize I'm at a point where I see the change (internally I know it's ultimately a positive one) but I still want to feel like I can control it in some way. Does anyone have any personal experience with weight restoration and what I can expect?

I’m sorry to hear that some

I’m sorry to hear that some of the thoughts and anxieties are coming back. That can feel so discouraging. Don’t beat yourself up about it though; it happens to all of us. Recovery is not a straight line.
I think it’d definitely be a good idea to talk to someone again. We all need a boost every now and then, and seeking out a therapist will help you get through this down time. Even if you wouldn’t be able to see them as often as you’d like, it’s better to have that support.
You are definitely right in expecting the new job-related stress being a large contributor. I find that my thoughts and urges increase drastically when I’m really anxious about something. Have you been able to use any coping skills that helped you in the past when things got stressful?
Overall, just be gentle with yourself. You are doing the best you can, and it sounds like you’re taking steps to get the help you need. You’ve made it through this before, and you’ll make it again.
Here for you,


Thank you so much for your reply! Really appreciate the kind words! I do think it’s worth finding someone to talk to about this because I generally don’t confide in any of my friends or my mom about this (though she knows, just not to what degree it still bothers me) and I think the whole ED “identity” aspect is stil there and I want to embrace my new, healthy image. Not trying to live in the past of what I used to feel / look like.

Has anyone had any experience with counseling apps that they can speak to? That’s an option I’m considering. (Though don’t prefer)


Specifically, I’m really struggling with not chewing and spitting junk food at night. That’s my most embarrassing and unhealthy habit that I’ve fallen into. Does anyone have any advice or experience with having kicked this habit? Would love to hear!

Kicked it

First question, do you live on your own? That was the one that really helped me be able to kick it because I hate wasting things especially now that I have to pay for absolutely everything on my own. When I lived with my parents my conscience bothered me even though I still bought the majority of stuff some of it was funded through them. But now that I live on my own my budget is extremely limited and chewing and spitting makes me feel like I am just wasting money that could be spent on things that I really truly need. If you don't live on your own just try to think about how wasteful it really is. I'm not saying this to make you feel guilty oh, that's not my intention because I know you probably feel guilty already. I'm just trying to give you some encouragement and some ideas as to how to be able to convince yourself that you can get over this. Maybe every time you have the urge to chew and spit think of how wasteful it is and how that can be used in a more productive way. I understand, too, that you probably having urges to eat quote-unquote junk food and you want to be able to eat it without feeling guilty about it. Maybe allot yourself a time in the day when you are able to eat one of those Foods without being guilty about it. Maybe in the morning, choose one food out of those that you really want to eat and if you get through the day without any eating disorder behaviors, reward yourself with having that one food. Give yourself a reward for your little successes. If you have a meal plan, try to make it fit into that so you're not rewarding yourself with food which I know we're not supposed to do. Just an idea and I hope it helps. I support you and I know how difficult it is because I did chew and spit for an incredibly long time. I know how guilty it makes someone feel because it feels disgusting and yet it feels liberating at the same time. Just keep trying and do your best.

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