How to Practice Self-Love in Eating Disorder Recovery
If we asked you to name everything you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?
For some, they simply don’t think about the concept of actively loving themselves, while others hold a constant loathing or anger towards themselves that they are very aware of.
Eating disorders commonly stem from deep-seated body image issues, including low self-esteem, poor self-image (in general, or about specific attributes, such as weight or skin), and a negative or hyper-critical view of oneself.
Self-love is desperately needed by those struggling with or recovering from an eating disorder, but due to the nature of eating disorders, can be difficult to foster in those circumstances. It’s never impossible though — we’re here to help you every step of the way.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at what positive body image is, how to adopt a body positive mentality and how to love your body, specifically within eating disorder recovery.
Why is self-love important?
Self-love is important for a variety of reasons, many of which come down to personal factors.
For some people, practicing self-love enables them to give themselves the kind of unconditional love they never received from a parent or romantic partner. For others, self-love is part of their mental health or physical healing journey from past wounds, whether self-inflicted or otherwise.
And for some, practicing self-love is an integral part of their recovery from an eating disorder.
The top benefits of self-love are:
- Improved mental health
- Relieved anxiety, stress and depression
- Higher confidence and sense of self-worth
- Stronger physical health
The truth is, we’re all imperfect, we all have wounds and every one of us can use all of the love we can get. There’s not a person alive who can’t benefit from practicing self-love, but some people, like those in eating disorder recovery, often find it especially powerful.
Where to begin with self-love
The first step in learning to love your body is to recognize that you are more than your body.
Many people struggle with differentiating their physical body from who they truly are (their soul, as some would say) resulting in them sourcing their identity or their worth in how they look. In reality, you are worthy of good things no matter what you look like, and who you are as a person has very little to do with your appearance.
You are not the number on the scale. You are loved, regardless.
You are not the quality of your skin. You are loved, regardless.
You are not the “flaws” you see in the mirror. You are loved, regardless.
When it comes to loving your body, there is no one-size-fits-all method, and it will take some experimenting to figure out which habits and practices are the most impactful and sustainable for you. It starts with shifting your mindset — from there, it comes down to consistent effort.
How to love your body
The good news is there’s countless ways to practice self-love; some will work better for you than others, and some you will enjoy more than others. Give yourself permission to try new methods, as well as release the ones that don’t work for you (even if they work for everyone else).
Here are different ways you can love your body:
- Create a list of all the ways your body supports you (read it often)
- Stop speaking negatively or degradingly to yourself
- Start speaking to yourself with kindness, compassion and respect
- Dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident
- Write out affirmations and stick them on your mirrors
- Thank your body at the beginning and end of each day for everything it does for you
- Exercise and challenge yourself in ways you enjoy
- Fuel your body with nutritious foods when you’re hungry
- Drink plenty of water and electrolytes (add a pinch of sea salt and some lemon to your water and there you go!)
- Give yourself adequate time to rest when you’re tired
At the end of the day, consistency, emotion and true effort are what’s going to help you develop self-love, no matter which of the above practices you implement.
Take the first step today
Tapestry specializes in providing client-focused behavioral and mental health treatment to adults and adolescents, so as to help them regain love for themselves, their bodies and their lives.
We understand that challenges like mental health conditions and eating disorders are rarely isolated conditions, and therefore require a full-spectrum evaluation and a multifaceted approach in order to fully address and heal the issue at hand.
At our premier treatment facilities, our team of compassionate professionals will work closely with you and your family from day one to ensure you are safe and comfortable at all times.
Send us a message today to speak with one of our advisors and identify what the next best step for your recovery is.