Delay & Distract: A Recovery Tool
Eating disorders are multi-faceted, which means that recovery is also an involved, confusing, and very often, frustrating process.
I would like to suggest a ‘tool’ for recovery which has proven to be helpful for those in treatment, as well as for those following up with their recovery.
This is called “My Delay & Distract List”.
The way this works is that each person (each of YOU!!), if you so choose, makes a list of 10 ways that they can delay having a symptom, and/or distract long enough to prevent having a symptom. For every person suffering from an eating disorder, a ‘symptom’ is unique to that individual.
Some of these are obvious, such as restricting your food at any particular meal or snack, bingeing and/or purging, taking laxatives, exercising in excess to what has been recommended, etc. You need to ask yourself, how does my eating disorder play out in my life, and what needs to change or stop in order for me to recover?
All ‘symptoms’ can be interrupted, or prevented. It’s very difficult, but not impossible to do this when the behavior has become automatic, or at times, is an impulsive reaction to a ‘trigger’.
This list should include activities or actions that you know will help you ‘delay and distract’ from acting on your eating disorder symptoms. This could include making a phone call to a support person (friend, family, or professional if you have that option), listening to music, drawing, writing, crafts, saying a prayer, meditating, etc., but the list is YOURS, not anyone else’s.
It has been suggested by those who have used these lists and found them helpful, to share your lists with someone you trust, especially if they may be involved with one or more of your ‘tools’ for delay and distracting…as an added means of accountability.
At first it might be harder to go to your list and use it. But please don’t give up. The more aware you become of what triggers you, and the more motivated you become for recovery, I think you will find it easier to use this tool.