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Eating Disorder Recovery Is a Work in Progress

By Jessica Setnick, MS, RD, CEDRD, Senior Fellow at Remuda Ranch at The Meadows

When my eating was in crisis mode, my life was reduced to meals, hours, minutes. I may have planned my eating and exercise for days in advance, but the reality was that I spent my time worrying about what I would eat, regretting what I had eaten, and wondering if I would stick to the rules I had set for myself the next time.

Once I committed to recovery, I hoped for a brighter future, but all I could see before me were meals, hours, and minutes where I had to fight the urge to use my behaviors and somehow find the strength to get through the day.

There’s Always More Work to Be Done

I imagined that once I was free of the burden of filling time without eating, life would be easy. Instead, I was faced with the disappointing reality that I still had issues. Yet I only entered counseling because of a death in the family. Once there, I began to identify the roots of my issues, describe the underlying beliefs that had led me to my eating disorder, and develop the new skills and beliefs that have guided me since then.

But individual sessions could only do so much. It was a professional development workshop for dietitians that opened my eyes to the value of spending a week with like-minded peers; to see that we are all on a journey; that I am not terminally unique, or damaged, or hopeless.

I returned to counseling with a heightened awareness of topics I needed to work on, beliefs I wanted to change and ideas I wanted to try. My counseling sessions took on a new significance once I had identified and defined my values and my stumbling blocks, and once I recognized that I would always be a work in progress. I was able to like myself, stop fearing I was a fraud, manage my perfectionism and my need to always be “doing”, heal my relationship with God, and so much more.

Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder Workshop

Now I have combined my professional knowledge with my own experience of recovery to create Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder, an intensive, five-day workshop, held at the Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows. It is a concentrated dose of time that allows for more experiences, creative expression, and peer support in a place where you are safe to be your truest self with a leader to guide your introspection, describe how you got where you are, help you to imagine how you want life to be, and help you to see that others are on this journey as well. You will return to recovery with a renewed sense of possibility, a deeper understanding of yourself, and a recognition of areas that still need work.

The workshop is coming up the last week of June. It is open to both men and women who have struggled with eating disorders, body images issues, and other struggles with food and dieting. I hope you will join me for the journey.

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