‘Plant a seed and start your journey’: 4 tips for starting your journey to recovery from an eating disorder

“Every day is a chance to begin again. Don’t focus on the failures of yesterday, start today with positive thoughts and expectations.” – Catherine Pulsifer

 

Today marks one month since New Year’s Day. While January may have passed, it’s never too late to set a goal and start your journey to recovery.

In this article we will be discussing several tips to help you ‘plant a seed’ and start your journey to recovery from an eating disorder.

  1. Decide what you want to plant.

On your journey towards recovery for an eating disorder, the first (and most obvious) step to goal setting is deciding what you want to do. Take a moment to really think about where you are now, and where you would like to see yourself in the future. Draw the picture in your head of where you see yourself a year from now. How do you feel? Where are you? Who are you with? What have you achieved? Try to envision and manifest your growth – start by planting your seed.

Now that you have your vision in mind, it is likely to feel like a broad and overwhelming task. The next step is to break down your vision into smaller pieces – it may help you to write a list of the different components of the goal you wish to achieve. If, for example, you have envisioned yourself as “happier”, “healthier” or “recovered”, consider what these adjectives mean to you, and the obstacles must you face to get there. Your list may look something like this:

  • Focusing on a positive body image
  • Developing a healthier relationship with food
  • Seeking out supportive relationships
  • Balancing work life
  • Focusing on physical health
  • Getting in touch with spirituality

By creating a list, you can assess the tasks within your goal you wish to prioritise for your own personal growth. Alternatively, you could use this opportunity to get creative with inspiration/mood boards. Mood boards are an excellent way to express your intended goals and expectations, whilst also motivating you to stay on track.

In addition, acknowledging the different challenges you could face helps to prepare you for the road ahead. Getting from point A to point B will be no straightforward task. When it comes to goal setting, you need to be honest and realistic with yourself.

  1. Give the seed the right conditions to grow.

Now that you have your goal in mind, it is time to think about how you are going to achieve it – do you have the right conditions do grow? What resources do you have that will support you throughout your journey, and what potential obstacles will set you back? If you are in a place where your seed cannot grow to its full potential, then your environment needs to be changed.

For instance, your social environment can have a significant influence on your efficacy in goal-striving. Social support refers to the support given by those around us and fulfils our basic need to be wanted, needed, and loved. Moreover, the people around you have both a direct and subconscious influence on your attitudes and emotions. When setting out on your own journey in personal growth, it is so important to seek out the relationships with those who are going to support you throughout it. If your intention is to focus on your relationship with food, then confide in the people who will support you in making healthier choices and ensure that you are nourishing your body. However, if you find that you are hanging onto relationships which do not serve you (for example, those who are negatively impacting your self-esteem and body image) then make a point in ending these relationships. While it can be difficult to move on from unhealthy relationships (whether that be romantic, platonic, or family), it is usually necessary for growth. But what if you cannot find people in your life who will support you in your journey? Well, there’s always online social support groups who will share and hold similar values to your own – online forums can be a great place to exchange knowledge, inspiration, and boost motivation. Sometimes, knowing that there is someone out there who is rooting for you is enough to persevere.

  1. Water your seed.

The beautiful thing about personal growth is that it has unlimited possibility, however, it needs continuous attention for those possibilities to arise. Self-growth requires discipline, routine, and pushing yourself out of comfort zones. For example, when overcoming an eating disorder, you may need to really push yourself towards making healthier choices, whether that be trying a bite of ‘unsafe foods’ or resisting the urge to binge after a stressful day. While things will feel very uncomfortable at first, “watering your seed” isn’t about getting everything right the first time, but about acknowledging your limits, and learning how to pick yourself up when you fall so you can keep moving forward. During hard times when you are losing sight of your goal, shift your focus back onto the progress you have made so far and remind yourself that all those small changes you have already made are extraordinary. Small but continuous changes will get you where you need to be.

  1. Watch it flourish.

Growth cannot happen without the risk, and it may take a lot for you to get to where you want to be. But after a lot of patience and perseverance, your seed will bloom into a beautiful flower. You cannot promise yourself that you won’t fail, so it is important to remain resilient in the face of any adversities you come across. At times, it may feel like everyone else around you are moving at a much faster pace. Remember that it is okay to take things one day at a time, and not to rush the process. Be kind and patient with yourself and be brave enough to grow at your own pace.  It is good to remember that your strength comes from your ability to bloom in both the light and the darkness, and your strength will turn your vision into a reality. You don’t need to journey this alone. Here at S.E.E.D, we want to help you every step of the way and assist you in nurturing your seed.