If you are a recovering anorexic, bulimic, or binge eater, it's likely that one of your biggest fears is that you will lapse back into old, destructive habits. Yet it's important to remember that few eating disorder sufferers are able to stop cold turkey. Relapses should be considered a given. What's imperative is having a plan for getting back on track when they do occur.
Marcia and I devote a section in our book de-stigmatizing relapse, and discussing practical responses to it. We want you to have as few of those "I've-blown-it-so-I-may-as-well-go-all-the-way" experiences as possible.
First, try asking yourself after a relapse, "Has the overall trend of my eating behaviors been positive?" If the answer is "yes," then remind yourself that slip-ups along the way are normal. Calm down and go right back to your food plan.
Whether the answer is "yes" or "no," the next thing to do is analyze your relapse. Most likely you found yourself in a high-risk situation where relapse was simply too hard to avoid. Here are a few common high-risk scenarios and helpful responses:
Marcia Herrin and Nancy Matsumoto are co-authors of The Parent's Guide to Eating Disorders. Marcia is the author of Nutrition Counseling in the Treatment of Eating Disorders