It is fall once again, that beautiful time of year where leaves begin to change color, football begins again, and school is back in session. It is always a fun and exciting time of year to progress to the next year of school, from Kindergarten to College. For those struggling with an eating disorder, this can be a tough transition. Here are 5 things that can help make this school year a recovery-filled school year for those with eating disorders.
- Make a Plan: It is very important to plan ahead for meals and snacks while at school. If you are still in junior high or high school, you may need to talk with the school counselor about having permission to bring snacks into the classroom. Pack snacks to carry in your bag that are easy and quick. Either plan to eat lunch provided at school, or pack your lunch. Make sure you get in all of your exchanges. You cannot skip meals and snacks at school and have it be a successful school year, so this needs to be a priority!
- Ask for Accountability: It is very easy to get caught up and busy in the school day and to use this as an excuse to not eat your meal plan. Ask at least 3 people to help you be accountable with your eating. This can be friends, teachers, school counselors. There are people in your life at school who care about you and would love to help you, but it is helpful for you to let them know you welcome their help.
- Speak Up: If someone around you is talking about dieting, or engaging in negative food talk or negative body talk, tell them that this is not constructive conversation and ask them to stop. It is not helpful for your recovery to engage in these conversations, or to listen to them. By speaking up, you are actively using your voice to help your recovery, and that is something you can be proud of doing!
- Communication: It is very important to communicate with your support system, both when you have triumphs and when you have struggles. You are not in this alone. By letting those around you know how things are going, they can better help you, and encourage you as you seek recovery.
- Keep your appointments: The beginning of school is a busy time of year, but your recovery is also very important. Without your recovery, school will be more difficult than it needs to be, and will not be enjoyable. You can also put school in jeopardy if things worsen enough during the school year. For this reason, keeping regular appointments with your therapist, dietitian, and physician are incredibly important. It can be hard at times to make a choice to show up for your appointments, but this is a choice you can make that will reward you many times over as you continue to work on your recovery.
We at Living Hope Eating Disorder Treatment Center hope that you have a wonderful start back to school, and that you excel this school year, both academically and in your eating disorder recovery.
Where there is life, there is hope.
Meghan Scears, MD