Eating Disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimia Nervosa are highly complex illnesses that require a significant amount of time to treat and heal . No individual developed their eating disorder over night, therefore, it will not go away that quickly. It is essential to keep in mind that no one's recovery is perfect; slips and relapses are extremely common. Below is a relapse prevention plan designed to help an individual from relapsing.
1) Start by creating a list of the behaviors and coping mechanisms that have been beneficial in your recovery process. For example: eating regular meals, writing a food log, planning meals and snacks, or self-care activities. It is crucial to keep this behaviors and strategies in mind and be able to return to them with the eating disorder seems to grow stronger.
2) Secondly, create a list of triggers that may increase the chance of relapse and slips. For example:
You can use these examples or write your own triggers that can increase your chance of relapse
3) Be able to recognize early warning signs of relapse:
Elect at least 5 possible warning signs that apply to you and for each write at least one way to cope with that warning sign in order to combat the eating disorder and get back on track.
4) During tough times, it can be difficult recalling healthy coping mechanisms. Many people who undergo crisis rely on unhealthy behaviors. Making a plan in advance helps find better ways to cope rather than referring back to the eating disorder. Create a list on 10 healthy behaviours and keep it in a place where it is visible and accessible, for example, a refrigerator.
5) It is crucial to ask for support during times of crisis. Talking about your feelings can help relieve some anxiety and depression. Reaching out not only provides a safe place to prevent slips or relapses, but reminds you that you are NOT alone. Make a list of names of the people you can ask for support from; the more you ask the easier it becomes! The person will be more than happy that you reached out for support and will gladly be there for you as best as they can.
With recovery, it is not always possible to prevent slips or relapses from occurring. Majority of the people tend to be hard of themselves if they can't recover "perfectly." Just as a reminder, a bad day does not mean you're a failure. Forgive yourself and continue to move forward in your recovery journey. Learn from your lapses without beating yourself up. Slips and relapses are highly common in recovery and can be beneficial to learn from them if interpreted correctly. Stay strong to gain that freedom your eating disorder stole from you.
Use the graphic below to help you get a better understanding of the recovery process: