Keeping up recovery in the warm weather
Here in the UK, Summer has finally arrived, and it’s got me thinking about seasonal changes in our eating habits and how this can be triggering to someone in recovery from an Eating Disorder.
When it’s hot outside we can tend to feel more lethargic and even agitated, and this can result in our appetite decreasing. The thought of expelling energy to prepare and eat food, and the idea of feeling bloated afterwards can be massively unappealing. As a result of this we may not feel as hungry as usual and so we have to actively make recovery decisions as we may not be able to fully trust our hunger queues.
This means making sure you stick to a basic plan of usually 3 meals and 3 snacks everyday, and ensuring that what you eat is nutrient dense. By the latter I mean picking foods that are going to provide you with sufficient energy, and not just salads or fruits. The reason I mention this is because often the people around us may be choosing these lighter options which makes sense as something cool and fresh can be nice on a warm day. You have to remember however, that a bowl of lettuce or an apple isn’t a sufficient amount of food for anyone really, but especially not someone in recovery from a restrictive eating disorder. Therefore, to protect health and prevent yourself from falling back into any disordered food rules or behaviours you have to eat more. If you really want a salad then get an actual tasty one with dressing and avocado and seeds and some protein - be it meat or a veggie option, and then have some bread on the side and a dessert afterwards. But that only applies if a salad is what you fancy! Eat pasta or pizza, a burrito, a sandwich, a burger.... Literally anything you want as long as it’s enough food for your body!
Going back to the issue of comparison during the summer months, I’m here to remind you that what someone else is eating doesn’t affect what your body needs. Just because your friend is having a smaller lunch doesn’t mean you should too - your body literally has no idea what they’re eating and only cares about protecting your health. And on that note your body also doesn’t care whether you’re having a bad body image day or feeling self conscious in your summer clothes - it still wants you to eat all the same. This is because it needs the energy to let you enjoy your day and think about things other than food. If you want to be able to join in with spontaneous bbqs and picnics, or ice creams or cocktails you can’t spend your time restricting just in case because you’ll simply be too miserable or anxious to actually enjoy them. You have to let go of this rigidity and rewire your brain, and the only way to do that is to challenge the rules you have surrounding food and continue eating despite the guilt you may feel.
I’m hoping to make this the start of a lil’ summer series because I want to talk more about the difficulties of dressing for hot weather, and I want to show you all how wonderful these warmer months can be despite the discomfort of recovery. This is going to be my second summer in recovery and naturally my body has changed a lot since 2020, and whilst this is still sometimes hard for me, I have a vastly different outlook on life as a result of the work I’ve done on my mental health this past 12 months and this means I am so much more free than I ever have been.
I’m sharing this journey on a day to day basis over on my Insta (@the_recovery_bean) and my TikTok ( therecoverybean) too so feel free to join me over there for more frequent recovery reminders too :) Oh, and you can subscribe to my blog if you wanna get notified the next time I post!
Mais// The Recovery Bean <3