When recovering from an eating disorder, it can be easy to fixate on what you’re still doing “wrong.” You may continue to struggle with certain ED behaviors or notice other areas where you’d still like to grow. But research shows that it’s important to recognize what you’re already doing well! In fact, rewarding yourself with a “little treat” now and then has been shown to motivate us to complete tasks and enhance our ability to learn new habits.
This can be especially important for those who often use food as a reward – or punish themselves through deprivation. For example, you might have previously declared particular foods off-limits during the week and only allowed yourself to eat them over the weekend if you were “good” all week long. Establishing non-food reward systems may help you unlearn the value you attached to these food rewards.
According to the EDIT™ Method, there are five ways we can reward ourselves for a job well done:
● Recreation: fun, uplifting activities that you enjoy, such as creative hobbies or spending time with family and friends.
● Relaxation: stress relief strategies, which may include mindfulness exercises or self-soothing with your five senses.
● Reward: special, non-food treats that fill your inner “cup.” This could be something big to look forward to, like a vacation, or something smaller, like a favorite drink or goodies from your favorite shop.
● Responsibility: household tasks you can use as a mini-break. Activities like cleaning or budgeting generate a sense of accomplishment and distract you from bigger problems.
● Recovery: activities that help you reflect, regenerate, and recover from your eating disorder. This can include appointments with your care team, including your therapist, dietitian, and EDIT-certified recovery coach.
Which of these five strategies will you try first to reward yourself? Let me know in the comments below! (And when you’re done rewarding yourself, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how EDIT™ coaching can help you revisit those areas of growth.)