Stop counting calories, start eating more and you’ll recover, right? If only recovery from a restrictive eating disorder was this easy. Unfortunately, it isn’t. Recovery takes time, persistence and lots of courage.
Continuing to count calories can really hold you back from recovery. It keeps the focus on numbers, while taking it away from nourishment and well-being.
Letting go of this behavior can be extremely challenging, as it often serves a purpose. While people count calories for various reasons, many are looking to feel control, structure or reassurance. So how do you let go?
Work on shifting how you see calories
If you struggle with ED, you may see calories as an enemy that needs to be manipulated and controlled. They can be seen as the source of many problems. However, it can be helpful to start thinking about calories in a different light. Calories are, in fact, a measurement of energy. They serve the important purpose of fueling your organs, allowing your lungs to breathe and your intestines to digest food. It may be beneficial to remind yourself of this very crucial role calories play.
Use a food tracker app that does not include calorie information
Right now, you may not be ready to stop tracking your food. In fact, food tracking can be a positive tool in recovery for some people. However, I suggest you turn your attention to a food tracker that does not display calorie counts, such as the Rise Up app by Recovery Warriors. Not only does this app allow you to log meals, it also gives you the opportunity to check-in with your mood and behaviors, as well as linking you to multiple resources to support you in your recovery.
Focus on the benefits of recovery
Sometimes, when you are overwhelmed with the recovery process, it can be worthwhile to concentrate on why you are striving to recover in the first place. What are the potential benefits of recovery? How will your life improve? Will recovery help heal your relationships? Will it enable you to work towards a goal, a dream, or a career? This can be a wonderful opportunity to journal and jot down your thoughts.
Reach out for support
Eating disorder recovery is challenging and you don’t need to do this alone. If you can, reach out to a mental health professional. They can help you uncover the underlying reasons why you feel the need to count calories or restrict your intake. This can be one the most powerful steps towards recovery.