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Carrying Recovery into a Diet-Focused World: Tips from Primary Therapist Carrie Wasterlain

Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center of Manhattan Primary Therapist Carrie Wasterlain, LMSW continues sharing tips to manage the messages we receive from the outside world when trying to stay focused on full recovery. Read on to see Carrie’s helpful tips…

Read Part One of Carrie’s Series HERE. 

  1. Next, stop buying women’s magazines, following triggering social media pages, and focusing on calorie counts at restaurants. In the lead up to my eating disorder, I was reading Health, Fitness, Self, Prevention and Allure, and multiple celebrity magazines daily. These magazines possessed me with their commands to “drop pounds,” “eat more but weight less,” and “tone up.” Each magazine cover brought me the hope for quick gratification, if I could just follow the promises and guidance within. I did feel instant relief, but I also fell into a relentless pattern of eating disorder behaviors that took years to climb out of. Since my commitment to recovery, I also committed not to purchase or so much as visit this section of the magazine racks. Instead, find reading or activities to immerse yourself in that leave you feeling better for having engaging in them, keeping you focused on your recovery-oriented goals. In essence, the key is to do more of what makes you you, rather than spend time focusing on how to become someone else

3. Try not to judge. I was so grateful this week when a client reminded my group in group that the key to living in a world full of perfectionistic messaging isn’t to focus on why the people/bodies you see are “sick” or “too skinny.” Instead, the idea is to stop comparing your body to others, fake or real as they may be. Bodies are all different. None of them is “wrong,” and none deserves judgment. Models are not “evil” nor do they all have eating disorders. Telling ourselves they are or do is just another way to put down another in an attempt to make ourselves feel superior. But a thin person doesn’t need to have an eating disorder for a different-bodied person to feel OK about themselves. Instead, we must use self-compassion to boost our confidence, as this is the only sustainable approach. Comparisons bring us further into a statement judgment, resentment and dissatisfaction. But compassion is lasting.

The transition back to the world outside of treatment can feel daunting and frustrating. But remember that you have the tools to create your own post-treatment recovery haven, starting with how you interpret and react to your environment. Think of the increased exposure to triggering messages as an opportunity to get practice fighting back with your “healthy self” voice. And remember that your recovery is about you, not everyone else.


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