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Seven Tips for Meal Prep for Recovery from Eating Disorders

Seven Tips for Meal Prep for Recovery from Eating Disorders

By Rebecca Bitzer, MS, RD, LD. How can Meal Prep Help? One of the most difficult parts of recovery from an eating disorder is consistently following a meal plan without doing meal prep. What is meal prep? For people in recovery, I think of meal prep as anything that you can do to help you follow your meal plan (meal structure) so you can spend more time on living your life. You’ll have more energy for recovery. And devote less energy on food stress. Having the tools to stay calm in the grocery store and kitchen will help you be successful. Focusing on organizing your food in a step-wise fashion may even help you look forward to meal prep and possibly even enjoy cooking. Being vague with your eating plan is a slippery slope that may leave room for a slip in terms of your recovery.  Being clear, intention and pro-active will help you be successful.  Set yourself up for positive decisions that promote recovery by fine-tuning your meal prep skills. Whether you are confident in the kitchen or just starting out, setting yourself up for success includes meal prep. Remember, it is easy to get overwhelmed in the kitchen so here are some tips to help make meals easier. At this point, you have probably worked with a Registered Dietitian (RD) specializing in eating disorders. If you have not, it would be a good time to take the step to include a RD on your team. Be aware of red flags which may indicate a risk of lapsing back into eating disorder behaviors. Red flags for relapse or lapsing...
How to Follow Your Meal Plan When You are Busy

How to Follow Your Meal Plan When You are Busy

Seven Tips for Meal Planning in Eating Disorder Recovery Fail to plan is a plan to fail especially in terms of a meal plan. I have been talking to many clients this week about how following your meal plan is so much easier when you plan ahead. Of course, mentally it can be hard to fight your eating disorder and meet all of your exchanges, but logistically planning out your meals for the week can help you get one step closer to making it a reality. Particularly on weeks when you are busy, having a plan in place will help you prioritize your recovery. I want to note that your recovery is your top priority and should not be set aside for anything, however we do want to see you living your life and doing what you love whether a parent, working full time, a college student living outside the home, or a high school student with various after school commitments here are some tips for following your meal plan when you are busy. Talk to your loved ones. It can help to be on the same page with others in your household so you can plan accordingly to meet your meal plan and not be thrown for any surprises. Perhaps mom/dad or your loved one would be willing to plan out some meals together and therefore you can fill in the gaps to help you meet all your exchanges (dairy, fat, etc) if the meal prepared for you does not include it. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help or suggest ideas as well depending on your recovery plan with the treatment team. Rely on one pot/one pan meals. These...
Seven Tips: Avoiding Eating Disorder Relapse

Seven Tips: Avoiding Eating Disorder Relapse

Avoiding Relapse from an Eating Disorder Recovery from an eating disorder is 100% possible and you can live a life free of behaviors and symptoms. However recovery can feel different for everyone and can often times be a hard transition. There can be feelings of discomfort, feelings of being stuck, or perhaps confusing thoughts about recovery as it may not have been what you expected. The rest of your life including the people, environment, and potential eating disorder triggers are still present. Here are some things that can help avoid relapse: Accountability– Make sure to have systems in place to keep yourself accountable- continue with your treatment team, engage family and friends, and make time for self-check ins. Identify Red Flags-  Be proactive. Create a list of your specific red flags that have been triggering throughout your recovery process. Being aware and having a plan for each of them can help. If you need a list (or ideas for your list), email us to share our list with you rebecca@empoweredeatingrd.com. Act fast– If you notice a red flag pop up don’t wait until it progresses or another one shows up. Address it right away. Structure- keep up with your meal plan and recovery reading and assignments. Plan ahead for unique situations. Define yourself– Keep defining yourself outside or your eating disorder and make time for the things you love and even trying some new things. Support– continue to go to support groups and appointments.   Create a positive environment– perhaps your childhood room or college dorm is triggering if this was one of the places your eating disorder first reared it’s head. Change-up your space, hang positive quotes and radiate...
Ten Care Package Ideas to Send to Your College Student

Ten Care Package Ideas to Send to Your College Student

Care Packages to Brighten Your College Student’s Day By Rebecca Bitzer, MS, RD, LD, CEDRD Getting ready to send a loved one off to college for the first time can be both an exciting and stressful experience, especially if that loved one is on the road to recovery from an eating disorder. In my experience, transitions are challenging for everyone, but can be particularly stressful for those who are struggling with an eating disorder. One thing you can do as a parent to help a loved one make this transition is to send them care packages to brighten their day. You may want to include some of your loved-ones favorite foods and also non-food related foods. Coming up with a themed package can make putting the package together much easier. A few themes to consider would be movies, Easter, Halloween, finals week, or even a package for when your child is sick. You may want to send packages weekly or every other week during the beginning of the semester, then taper off, and send packages more often during the busy, stressful weeks around finals.  Here are some ideas and tips that you may find helpful. Did you know that you can get boxes for a flat fee at the post office that will be delivered in two days to your loved one at college.  Click here for the current rates and if you mail something on a Saturday, it will arrive on Monday. Make sure to include a handwritten card to your college students. Think about including a gift card to one of the local fast casual restaurants near campus like Chipotle, MOD pizza, or Panera are often...
Tips for Relaxation and Stress Reduction

Tips for Relaxation and Stress Reduction

Tips on Using Your Five Senses to Stay Grounded, Aware and Relaxed EVEN on Stressful Days Rebecca Bitzer, MS, RD, LD, CEDRD You may have heard about using your five senses to help you stay more relaxed and mindful, in fact, if you attend one of our support groups it is a fairly regular topic because of its importance. Deep Breathing is another one of my favorite ways to relax quickly any time of the day, but a close second is the regular practice of being mindful. I hear the words be mindful often, yet I think that it is easy to miss the simplicity of this practice, yet, unless you actually practice being mindful, it is often easy to forget to use it. I think that the easiest way to remember to be mindful is to do a quick check with yourself daily to see if you are being mindful. Here is how I do it and some examples of what I find. As a reminder the five senses are: Sight Smell Hearing Taste Touch Sense of Sight: In terms of sight, that might be the easiest sense to start with. When I think of using sight for relaxing, it is not too difficult to find something pleasurable to look at to see something beautiful, meaningful or memorable. Here are some tips that I use to help make using my sense of sight more readily available to me: Taking a photo a day with my smart phone, doing this helps me use my mind and my creativity to look at something a bit differently than I might typically do Also to surround myself with special objects which bring me special...