The New Year can be a fresh start for many individuals, and a great opportunity to refocus on goals in the future. However, it can also be a triggering time for individuals who are working to recover or maintain their recovery from an eating disorder. Many individuals wonder what the best way is to approach the new year while being immersed in a society obsessed with weight loss.
Having healthy support is one of the best things that can help one who is recovering from an eating disorder. Having a strong community of treatment providers, friends, family, and other loved ones is always helpful. It is important to stay close to people that can help be your voice in recovery when you feel weak, reminding you that you are more than just your appearance or weight.
Increasing your therapy, dietitian, and psychiatry appointments may be helpful to keep yourself accountable and to drown out the noise of New Year’s resolutions. A support team can consistently remind you of not only your worth, despite your weight or appearance, but they can help to hold you accountable to continue to see your treatment providers and go to your support groups.
Support is available online and there are great resources to use to help surround yourself with more support. Developing an online social network of other individuals in recovery is helpful as well. Review your social media pages and delete any posts that do not serve you. You can also choose to follow more recovery-focused and eating disorder support pages to help you stay grounded.
Make plans to go to coffee, start new hobbies, or exchange phone numbers to have a supportive person to talk to when you are triggered. It is also a great time to get involved in your support groups and volunteer with supportive friends. Increasing your use of coping skills, such as journaling, meditation, yoga, knitting etc. can help keep you grounded, calm your mind, and keep yourself distracted from the body focused messages.
If there are people in your life that may trigger you, consider working with your support team in developing healthy boundaries to set to protect yourself. Limiting contact with anyone who triggers you is imperative.
Eating disorders thrive on shame and secrecy, therefore, it is important to be open and honest with the people in your life that you trust. Surrounding yourself with people who have similar lived experiences to your own is invaluable.
Remind yourself that your worth is not found in your weight or your body. Additionally, people of all shapes and sizes are worthy of love and belonging. It is important that you stay connected to the people in your life that understand and can help support you.
Kirsten Book, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC, is a dual board-certified family nurse practitioner and psychiatric nurse practitioner who specializes in treating adolescents and adults struggling with eating disorders, substance use, and co-occurring disorders. Not only does Kirsten have the education and clinical experience, but she also is in recovery from an eating disorder. She uses her own personal experience to draw empathy, compassion, and humility when working with her patients. Kirsten has the unique opportunity to help improve an individual’s mental health, by not only utilizing medications and psychotherapy, but also by instilling hope, which she believes is just as powerful and effective as what any medication can do. Kirsten has an outpatient private practice in Chicago, Illinois. She also is licensed to practice in Arizona and Washington. Kirsten is also the Medical Liaison for IADEP (International Association for Eating Disorder Professionals), and she speaks at local schools to help educate the adolescents and staff about eating disorder prevention and treatment.