September 3, 2013 Faith

Using Healthy-Self Statements

Fighting against Eating Disorder Thoughts with Healthy-Self Dialogue

Remember, recovery is not a perfect process and sometimes old triggers can sneak up on you. Your old coping skills may seem a lot easier to use than the energy it takes to challenge those ED urges and almost automatic thoughts. Investing this energy in your recovery will be the much better payoff in the end!

When you become aware of an ED thought, make a note of it so you can return to it at a time you are able to practice counter-statements. This will help you feed your healthy-self with nurturing dialogue. Journaling can be extremely powerful and help you take time to practice coming up with healthy-self counterstatements. Taking this time to create space between an urge and a behavior is the beginning of breaking the cycle. If you have difficulty coming up with healthy dialogue, try thinking of what you might say to someone else in need of gentle, kind, and compassionate prompting.

Again, there is no doubt this process takes practice, but hopefully countering ED banter becomes second nature sooner than later. As I grew stronger and practiced my dialogue skills, I began imagining the circles of distress in life turning into healthy-self Pac-Mans that began eating away at the eating disorder! Sometimes, this even turned into a fun, healthy game! J

Be mindful and use your skills as much as possible. Learn from the slips and become more aware of your vulnerabilities in order to prevent future negative thinking cycles. Recovery is not all or nothing. It's what you take from it, how you react, and the choices you make from then on. Again, a process.

Practicing Healthy Self Counterstatements

ED: The only way my day starts right is if I've seen the weight go down on the scale.
HS: My day does not have to be dictated by a number. The number can fluctuate for many reasons. The scale is neither a measurement of self-worth nor a predictor of how my day will unfold.

ED: I've already eaten 1/2c ice cream, so I might as well eat the entire gallon.
HS: 1/2c is the perfect portion of this treat. I enjoyed it and do not need anymore. I am satisfied.

ED: I had to work late and only ran X miles instead of XX miles. I don't deserve dinner.
HS: I have worked a really long day and I have worked out as well. My body deserves a good wholesome dinner and maybe a snack so I can recover from my long day and take care of my body.

ED: If I don't lose weight I'll never be happy.
HS: I can do amazing things when my life does not focus around food. Self-acceptance precedes happiness. I do not need to change myself to be happy.

ED: I've already binged and purged. I need to starve or just go whole hog the rest of the day.
HS: Every time I resist an urge to practice an ED behavior, I strengthen my recovery. My body needed nourishment.

ED: It's a good day when I have restricted and exercised. I feel in control.
HS: ED behaviors are quick fixes with undesired, long term consequences. I can feel organized, healthy, and in control numerous healthy ways.

ED: I won't feel so bad if I cleanse and begin a fast.
HS: ________________________________________________________.

ED: I won't be able to stop ___________ (ED behavior) because _____________.

HS: ________________________________________________________.

ED: If I take one bite I won't be able to stop.
HS: ________________________________________________________.

ED: If I don't work out one day I'll gain weight.
HS: ________________________________________________________.

Why not start believing in yourself today? Eventually you will begin to see how each of these small steps have helped you gain strength and the drive to keep going.  At times you may experience ambivalence or reluctance, but keep taking the next step forward and power up your willingness over willfulness. With every step forward, you are reclaiming your healthy life which is full of opportunity!