How to Avoid a Relapse: 3 Things to Remember When The Eating Disorder Tempts You

eating disorder relapse - image of a figure when a floral material covering their face, hands holding the side of the head

Obsession over cookies and food consumed me as I spread blackberry jam over a bare piece of bread. A generous helping of peanut butter covered another piece already on my plate. I couldn’t stop calculating and planning what I’d eat for the rest of the day. Cookies or no? What should I make for dinner? The thoughts kept coming and coming… Here comes the eating disorder and all it’s temptations… How can you avoid a relapse in these moments?

How to avoid a relapse when you are tempted

As I stood there in the kitchen making the PB&J, I had been in recovery a LONG time. Long enough to probably be considered eating disorder free. I don’t look like I have an eating disorder, but my mind still struggles sometimes. The old way of thinking crept into my subconscious as I finished making the sandwich. 

What if I don’t eat this sandwich? What if I don’t eat dinner? The thoughts were so tempting that I momentarily considered tossing the sandwich. My husband would never know…

But I didn’t. And why I didn’t listen is what I want to tell you about. Because we can avoid a relapse.

Calling Your Eating Disorder Out

As I stood at that counter, indecision played through my mind. I thought I’ve been on that train, I know where it was going, and I don’t want that to be my destination.

You see, in my eleven years of recovery, I’ve done this back-and-forth thing before. I’ve skipped a meal here or restricted a bit there. I’ve never relapsed, but I’ve made decisions that I knew weren’t right. These decisions have led to shame or unhealthy thoughts. They ultimately lead to obsession, depression, and unhealthy mental health. I think we all have times when our past tries to entice us. But here are a few things to remember in those moments when the eating disorder tempts you.

1. My eating disorder did not make me happy.

Yes, the disorder may have given me a false sense of control. But it wreaked havoc on my relationships, health, body, and mind.

I was not “happy” when I was sick. 

2. If I choose to listen to the eating disorder, I might lose all the great things I have right now.

I had my disorder as a teenager and could hardly attend school. As an adult, I know if I chose to listen to the disorder I would lose the health and strength of my body. I would risk the loving relationship with my husband and my job. These are all things I don’t want to compromise

3. This moment will pass.

There may be moments where the eating disorder tempts me, but they are just that: moments.

I have a healthy and happy life. One moment, hour, day, or week is not the sum of my life. It’s a blip in the compilation of my life. If I can get through the day, things will get better, they always do. Moments of darkness will come but they don’t have to define me. 

When the Eating Disorder Tempts You- Recovery is Worth the Fight. You don’t have to relapse.

I believe recovery is worth the fight. And I chose to eat my sandwich and then dinner because I didn’t want to allow the disordered thoughts to win over my wise mind. I want the healthy life I have worked over eleven years to build. Yes, there are still hurdles to jump, mountains to climb, and lakes to swim. But with one foot in front of the other, one healthy choice at a time and the support around me, I think I can do it. I think you can too.

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