If you have struggled with an eating disorder like anorexia, you most-likely know how to plan. By extracting a very basic human need, the brain must use a maximum amount of energy to deny instinct. Calorie counting, eating only at certain times of the day, obsessing over exercise routines, and meticulously shopping for the “right” kinds of food, are all examples of how an eating disorder can shape time.

Most people who struggle with eating disorders are ambivalent about recovery.  They may want to have a life that doesn’t follow such rigidity, but worry about losing control.  There are many reasons why someone might develop an eating disorder, but there is one common thread that runs throughout the disorder: it is the gasoline that runs a person’s life.

The idea of recovery can be daunting.  How does a person deconstruct a lifestyle that may have existed for years?  Most nutritionists advise against extreme change in diet.  The body may not be able to process food like it used to and switching from starvation mode to three healthy meals a day, may not be possible in the beginning.

Aside from weight, there are changes a person can make that don’t involve focusing on calories.  It takes time to trust.  Whether you are building a relationship with a friend or a significant other, or whether you are relying on your instincts to tell you what you need, trust can feel like losing control.  While learning to trust your body to tell you what it needs, here are some ways to still stay in control:

  • Plan out when you are going to eat. You do not have to stop all of your routines when learning how to recover from an eating disorder. By planning the times in which you will eat, you are still controlling your eating habits, but not necessarily in a way that is detrimental to your health.
  • Plan out at least one thing you “can” eat from each food group. If you are uncomfortable with eating peanut butter, fish also has protein. If you are uncomfortable with bread, whole wheat is an option with more fiber.
  • Plan  your exercise to match your nutritional energy. If you haven’t eaten properly and feel the need to run for at least an hour a day, depression can occur. If you still want to exercise for an hour a day, try something like walking or a combination of yoga and sitting exercises.
  • Plan on writing in a journal or notebook at a specific time of day. By understanding your thoughts, you may discover patterns or progress that you’ve made over time.
  • Plan on meditating for ten minutes a day. If there is a worry about losing control, one of the most simple ways to regulate fear and anxiety is to focus on the breath. Meditation does not require a sitting or lying down position. You can meditate in line at a store or while waiting in traffic.

Eating disorders and addiction have many things in common. They can both become obsessive and unhealthy in a relatively quick amount of time. While there are no tried and true treatments that work for everyone, there are a variety of options for recovery.

If you would like help for an eating disorder or if you would like more control over your eating disorder, some resources include: