Many people work very hard to overcome the eating disorder of anorexia nervosa. While they might feel great after overcoming anorexia, they might fear that they will have a relapse after they re-enter their lives and face the day-to-day stresses. Anorexia is a complicated eating disorder, and those who have struggled with anorexia are vulnerable to having a relapse.
1. Accept that you will always be vulnerable to an anorexia relapse. Once a person has found a coping strategy that works (even a negative one), he can be tempted to return to it when he is under stress. Keep an eye out for signs that you are moving back into old patterns.
2. Recognize that anorexia is the symptom of a deeper problem. Anorexia is a coping tool that some people use to manage deep emotional pain. Anorexia provides the illusion of control when the person is feeling like she is free falling emotionally.
3. Heal the pain that drove the anorexia. Anorexia does not happen in a vacuum. If you have stopped the anorexic behavior without healing the underlying pain that drove you to the anorexia in the first place, you are much more likely to have a relapse. If you have not already done so, seek therapy to heal the underlying pain.
4. Develop positive coping tools. Anorexia is a coping tool to manage deep pain. As you develop other, more positive, ways to manage your pain, you will no longer need to turn to anorexia to cope. Talk with a friend or therapist about your pain. Write in a journal. Play a musical instrument. Do something that helps you ground yourself and stay in the present moment so you can better manage your emotional pain.
5. Change how you talk to yourself. As part of the anorexia, you told yourself numerous negative messages, such as that you were too fat and that you were not good enough the way that you were. Choose to stop telling yourself these messages, and replace them with positive ones. Tell yourself multiple times a day that you are precious and deserve to be loved just the way you are.
6. Love yourself. The key to overcoming anorexia is learning how to love yourself. Do kind things for yourself. Treat your body as you would treat a beloved child. As you become more compassionate toward yourself, you greatly reduce the risk of having an anorexia relapse.