When an individual is in the middle of their struggles with an eating disorder, it can be hard to see the forest through the trees. It can be hard to see a new way of life around or beyond their eating habits. But recovery is possible. However, it takes time, focus, and an effective meal support program.

At BeCollaborative Care, we understand the importance of long-term eating disorder recovery. Only addressing negative eating behaviors will often leave an individual short of a full recovery. The underlying emotional issues must also be addressed if an individual is going to experience whole mind-body recovery. The issues of nutrition and healthy meal planning must be addressed as well. At BeCollaborative Care, we believe that eating disorder recovery is not just about the food. It is “all about the food!”

The Warning Signs of a Potential Eating Disorder

The first step in treating an eating disorder is recognizing and accepting that an issue exists. Individuals struggling with an eating disorder may not be able to recognize that an issue is manifesting. However, there are often loved ones that are available to help. This is why it is crucial to be aware of the warning signs of an eating disorder. An individual never knows when they may be faced with helping someone get help.

The following are a few of the more common warning signs and symptoms to look out for in an individual that may be struggling:

  • An individual is obsessive about counting the calories they intake

  • After an individual eats, they may feel guilty or shame about it

  • An individual may binge eat as a coping mechanism for daily stressors

  • They obsess about what they have eaten and what they are going to eat for the day

  • An individual engages in over-exercise to “compensate” for what they have eaten that day

  • They start to show physical side effects like brittle hair and nails and excessive weight loss

  • An individual has rituals that they feel they must stick to when eating

  • They may become secretive about their eating and often attempt to skip meals

If any, some, or many of these warning signs or symptoms begin to manifest, it is recommended that professional help is sought sooner than later. Catching an eating disorder early can help reduce the potential for long-term physical and psychological effects.

The Need for an Effective Meal Support Program in Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating disorder recovery is unique compared to other mental health disorders or substance use disorders (SUDs). This is because, for individuals that struggle with eating disorders, avoiding food or eating is obviously not realistic. Individuals in eating disorder recovery can be in especially precarious situations because they must address their behaviors multiple times a day, every day at mealtimes.

This is why an effective meal support program is crucial. Mealtimes can be particularly trying, and frustrations at mealtime can lead to frustration and potential regression and/or relapse. Engaging with specific meal planning that involves eating disorder therapists and professionals can help an individual get over the initial hurdles of reengaging with healthy eating behaviors. 

Being able to communicate with someone that understands when times feel difficult is crucial. Instead of internalizing any negative emotions or feelings, an individual can openly share their concerns, and a meal support professional can help them work through their issues in real time. It can also be helpful to be surrounded by other individuals that have had and are having a shared experience. Being able to relate to others can be critical in recovery.

Meal Support for Long-Term Recovery

Unfortunately, relapse is something that can happen in eating disorder recovery. No one’s eating disorder recovery journey is the same. Many individuals experience nonlinear recovery journeys, and that is okay. It is okay to take a step to the side as long the next step is forward. A relapse never has to be the end. For many, it is a new beginning.

However, it is also important to understand that relapse is not a requirement of recovery. Many individuals will never experience a relapse. While there are often many reasons for this, a big reason is that they focused on a long-term recovery plan from the beginning. This is how we approach eating disorder recovery at BeCollaborative Care. We don’t want to simply teach an individual how to get nourishment from food. We want to teach our clients how to get nourishment from life.

When it comes to an effective meal support program, BeCollaborative Care can help individuals acquire the tools and eating life skills that they can incorporate into their lives once they leave the recovery center. BeCollaborative Care offers an effective meal support program early so that an individual will feel empowered to support themselves in the future, and power is a beautiful reward in recovery.

When it comes to treating eating disorders, having an effective meal support program can be critical for long-term recovery. An effective meal support program can provide emotional help at meal times and other times of struggle. It can also help mitigate and change the negative behaviors that often accompany eating disorders. If you feel like you or a loved one may be struggling with an eating disorder, it is crucial to get help sooner than later. The good news is that we can help, and we’ll be here for you when you are ready. For more information on effective meal support programs for treating eating disorders, reach out to be Collaborative Care today at (401) 262-0842.