No doubt about it: recovering from an eating disorder is difficult. In order to be successful, you need to do everything you can to stack the deck in your favor. As we tell the families we work with at our adolescent binge eating disorder treatment center, there are many steps you can take around your home to increase your chances of staying on the road to recovery.
5 Environmental Changes that Improve Your Odds
It is a well-known fact in many areas of psychology that environment plays a pivotal role in behavioral change. Here are five things you can do to ensure that your home environment is working in your favor when it comes to recovering from an eating disorder:
- Create a positive, stress-free space for meals. When life is busy (and when isn’t it?), it’s easy to just eat wherever it is convenient — on the couch, at the kitchen counter, at a table covered with mail and schoolwork. However, it’s better to eat at the same place consistently, and one that is free of clutter that can cause stress. Try cleaning off and setting the table before you sit down to eat. Having some relaxing music playing can be helpful as well.
- Put away your scale. People who have an eating disorder often find it difficult to walk by a scale without getting on it to check their weight. And almost inevitably, they are disappointed with the result. Even if they don’t step on, it reminds them of their weight and the battle they are fighting. Getting rid of the scale eliminates this temptation
- Lose the diet food. There are many reasons that “low cal” or “light” foods are bad for those who are recovering from an eating disorder. One is that they can confuse the body’s natural hunger-eating-satiation response by being less nutritionally dense or significantly smaller portions than normal. Another is that diet foods bring with them a lot of value judgements that aren’t helpful during recovery (or any time).
- Find and remove triggers. Walk around your house and look for things that may prompt you into unhealthy eating. Anything from photos of fun, food-focused events to coupons to your favorite restaurant can serve to weaken your resolve. You can bring them back out after you’ve reached stability in your recovery, but for now, stash them out of sight.
- Put positive influences front and center. Your grandmother has always been extremely supportive of you — hang a photo of her in a prominent place. You love that inspirational quote from your favorite artist. Print it out and hang it up. Put encouraging images, words, etc. wherever you think they’ll give you a boost.
Working with You to Create an Environment of Change
We teach people at our adolescent binge eating disorder treatment programs that where you live has a powerful impact on how you live. And we help them craft an environment that will help produce positive change. Find out more by contacting us at 916-784-1120.