Most recovery requires some form of accountability.
Whether it’s cutting back mileage from a running injury or practicing self-care while grieving the loss of a loved one, reporting your feelings and actions to another person safeguards your recovery.
Much like a bodily injury or experiencing emotional pain, recovering from an eating disorder is a nurturing process. It happens step-by-step rather than in one fell swoop.
Having an accountability buddy is critical for this nurturing type of approach.
Encourages Focused Awareness
Self-awareness is arguably one of the most important aspects of recovering from an eating disorder. Acknowledging how you think, feel, and behave towards food can set you up for recovery success.
However, it’s asking a lot to depend on yourself to practice this intense level of mindfulness. Mostly, because eating disorders are stealthy and thrive on excuses.
It comes as no surprise that most people struggling with an eating disorder have dozens of reasons and excuses for doing what they do. It’s not you who is creating these excuses. It’s the condition.
By recruiting a trusted friend or mentor to continually refocus the attention back to you, you’ll be able to more deeply understand your relationship with food.
Accepting this type of relationship with another person can be difficult. Keep in mind, your accountability partner is exemplifying the awareness you need to beat the eating disorder.
Provides Honesty and Perspective
Along the same lines of mindfulness and awareness, being accountable to another person provides honesty and perspective.
Your accountability buddy is there to draw the truth out of you.
Be prepared for questions like:
• How do you feel right now?
• What were you thinking about when you ate today?
• When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was your first thought?
• What did you enjoy most about your dinner meal?
• Do you like how you look today?
Questions like this are meant to locate where you’re at emotionally. They, too, help to reveal your relationship with food.
To help support your recovery, commit yourself to being honest.
Admittedly, it’s often easier to be honest with another person than with yourself.
Also, in the case of eating disorders, another person frequently feels more accepting than the face looking back at you in the mirror. And that’s okay. Use this to aid in your recovery.
Debunks the Lies and Feelings of Isolation
The mirror may lie to you. A plate of food may seemingly scoff at you. Or your feelings may cause you to believe that you’re facing this eating disorder alone.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by emotions regarding your self-image. Looking for comfort, you may slip back into a harmful routine.
Having someone to whom you can be accountable may stop those lies and negative feelings dead in their tracks. Remember, these damaging forces build up strength in the shadows.
For this reason, it’s important to be truthful to your accountability person, unveiling your grittiest feelings. Also, this is where guilt, shame, and self-depraving thoughts can exit your life for good.
By exposing the lies and feelings of aloneness, you are not only dethroning the eating disorder, but you are empowering yourself to beat it. And being accountable to someone only helps to shine much-needed light.
Take the first step…
If you are ready to address your food and body image issues and how they may be affecting your life, I would like to help. Please contact me via phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT