“Now, I’m going to stuff my ears with cotton balls so I don’t have to listen to you anymore.” This is what one of my long time clients announced to me a few weeks ago. While she was slightly joking, she was also slightly being serious. Eating disorder recovery is hard. It’s a disorder where one must learn to eat, but not too much; learn to incorporate favorite foods, but in moderation; follow a meal plan, even if hunger and fullness cues are sending different messages. Eating disorders are an illness where one third do not get well. Those that recover, must be mindful and ever vigilant to squash negative thoughts and urges to use eating disorder behaviors.
My heart goes out to all persons in treatment for an eating disorder. These courageous people must be honest with themselves, willing to talk about things they don’t want to talk about and accept feedback that they don’t want to hear. Imagine having to talk about your own embarrassing, secret issues and negative coping behaviors and accept feedback. Cotton balls, anyone?
Pam Chin-Lai, MS, RD, LD, CEDRD specializes in the nutritional rehabilitation of eating disorders in children, adolescents and adults.