When living with an eating disorder it can be extremely difficult to see the positive side of things. I remember being chained to obsessive thoughts and feelings about food, calories, myself and my body. If there was a degree in negative thoughts, I would have earned a master’s degree. And then one of my therapists gave me a little book that included 50 positive affirmations.
Patience, my dear
My homework consisted of reading these affirmations out loud each day while looking at my own reflection in the mirror. Initially this felt extremely (!!) uncomfortable to me. I hated myself from head to toe, so I did not understand why I would even be willing to look in that mirror and say kind things to that person. The only response my therapist had was “patience my dear.”
So I did my homework, day after day after day. At some point, I started to see the affirmations were actually really supportive and meaningful in recovery. Slowly they changed the way I was thinking. About myself and my (destructive) behaviors and thinking about the rest of the world. Feelings like “You see, you’re worthless,” changed to “Hey I am not so bad to be around.” Don’t get me wrong, this took me a lot of effort and a lot of repetition and practice. But it’s worth the ride, even if that ride takes you years.
The first sentence in that book was the saying by F. Scott Fitzgerald:
Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.F. Scott Fitzgerald
I love it because it sounds strange and funny when you first hear it. But when you look closer, you realize it is actually so TRUE! I used to hate the fall because it brings a lot of rain, gets dark very early, it’s windy and cold, and ‘postcard’ Indian summer days can be counted on one hand. Not the best climate for me to live in.
In the end, it is not about whether you live in a sunny state or country or not. In the fall, nature starts to get rid of the old (leaves, flowers etc.) in order to make itself ready for the Spring. No matter what happens, nature will find its way back up and this process will always continue to last. This is something really powerful to realize when going through the hard process of recovering from an eating disorder.
Like in nature, no matter how desperate you feel, you will find your way back and will be able to shine again.
Affirmations are a great tool in recovery and can give you a lot of strength. I share the thirteen affirmations that supported me the most. Why not five or ten or any other round number? Like a person can not be defined by the number on a scale, we believe life and its beauty of it can not be defined by an exact predefined number.
13 Recovery Affirmations
1. My happiness does not depend on my weight or size, but on who I am and what I do.
2. Today I will abandon my destructive behaviors and start using behaviors that are good for me.
3. I am a survivor and I am a warrior. I don’t need my eating disorder to be good enough.
4. I am courageous and starting today I will stand up for myself.
5. My life is just beginning, not ending.
6. I will not define myself by my past.
7. How I feel about myself has nothing to do with what I eat or don’t eat.
8. The process of recovery may be an epic one, but it’s worth it and I know it.
9. I deserve to be happy and I deserve to fulfill my dreams.
10. I deserve to treat my body with respect.
11. I will love and appreciate myself.
12. I don’t need to do excessive exercising to deserve food.
13. every day I become stronger and healthier.
Do you use affirmations in your recovery treatment? Share with the Recovery Warrior community the ones that help you the most!
(Last Updated: April 25, 2022)
Thank you for these.
What was the F. Scott Fitzgerald quote? It didn’t show on my screen
It said, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”.
Track days of abstinence on paper. Write 1-30 on each sheet of paper and each day you abstain, cross out the number. This one may sound silly but is very effective.
Also a good way would be to use a personal chat room as a diary to indicate the pros and cons of each day of abstinence. It is usually much easier to write than to discuss in your own head, you can immediately see the main points of concern.