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How to Recover from an Eating Disorder

Learn how to recover from an eating disorder from Allegra Broft, M.D. in this Howcast video.


I think my number one, two, three and four eating disorder recovery tip is to get yourself into treatment. Work with a professional that you can trust, or maybe it needs to be at a treatment center, but find yourself in a setting where there are people that you get a sense understand the nature of your problem and can support you in your road to recovery. It can be part of the process that when you're trying to engage in eating disorder treatment, you can go to one center and talk to one therapist. Maybe it doesn't feel like there's a match, or maybe it doesn't feel like the approach is quite right. Don't let yourself get stuck at that first encounter. If it doesn't feel right, try the next setting, the next provider. Don't give up. There are good eating disorder treatments out there, and yet our field is really struggling to continue to find the best scientific treatments and the best treatments that we know work for a large number of people, and some of it can be trial and error. Saying recovery is my number one priority and doing what it takes to get there, even if that means lots of trial and error, is part of the attitude that will carry you far.

Another eating disorder tip is the recognition that good, solid nutrition, the idea that food is medicine, is such an important part of recovery. Wrapping one's head around that when the drive can be to want to continue to try and lose weight, when food is something that is quite terrorizing, frankly, provoking a lot of anxiety, it can really be a hard thing to wrap one's head around. Trying to get into that mindset would be another eating disorder recovery tip, I suppose.

Diving into your support and trying to broaden the circle where it feels okay is another tip. Often people come to see me in practice and they say, "I've been struggling with this for years and no one knows about it." There can be a lot of shame and secrecy around telling people. Sometimes that's for a good reason. Sometimes a person's grown up in a family setting or been surrounded by friends where it doesn't feel very good to confide things. That can be a real barrier to a person's recovery, because we all need help at times, not only from professionals that know this area, but from good, nurturing people in our everyday lives. Trying to really think, "Is there someone I can reach out to, that I can put some trust in in supporting me through this process of recovery?" would be another crucial eating disorder tip.

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