Motivations for Recovery – The Something Fishy Website on Eating Disorders

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Bulimia recovery diet plan

Toolbox :: Reaching In :: YOU :: Coping
Motivations :: Affirmations :: Body Image
Treatment Types :: Questions :: How Will I Pay
Helpful Books :: Treatment Finder

Motivations for Recovery

Below are some motivational exercises you can do to help you stay motivated on the path to recovery

Motivational Games


Also Visit the FISHY THINK TANK for interactive online recovery games on our SFWED Remember It Hurts Bulletin Board!

more games coming soon!

Affirmation Clock!
Affirmations can significantly assist you in the recovery process. This product was recommended by a member who found this great clock that helps reaffirm good feelings about YOU . we thought we’d pass along the info so you can buy one for yourself! Buy an Affirmation Station NOW! from

Thankful Journal — Keep a “Things to be Thankful for Journal and be sure to write in it every night. even if you can only add one thing. Don’t be afraid to write down anything you are thankful for, even if it seem like the smallest of things to you. DO NOT include self-defeating things (don’t be thankful for disordered eating behaviors like restricting, purging or binging), the idea here is to help you stay focused on why recovery is worth it! Be thankful for all the positive things in your life, no matter how big or small!

Coping Catalog — Make a tiny book of coping strategies and motivations to keep you on track toward recovery — use index cards, crayons, markers, colored pencils, stickers, etc. List the following on your card:Title (i.e. a trigger such as binging, purging, restricting, laxatives, eating out, obsessing, etc.); Reasons NOT to engage in the behavior, coping strategies and alternative activities and affirmations. Other cards you can include: emergency card with phone numbers of support people; How my Eating Disorder has hurt me; Things I am proud of about myself; Things I could do without my Eating Disorder; and/or poems, extra quotes, affirmations, pictures, etc. Make it YOURS !

Positive Post-Its — Write down positive affirmations on post-it notes or small pieces of paper and stick them around your house/apartment/room in places where you can see them. Telling yourself that you are a special person isn’t always easy to do especially at the beginning of recovery, so having these little “reminders” around will help!

I Love Me Cards — Make your own personal deck of cards that also have positive affirmations written on them — you can use index cards and cut them in half to make them smaller. they also come in all kinds of wonderful colors now! Decorate them with stickers, drawings, doodles or anything you like and keep them in a special place. Each day when you wake up, close your eyes and pick three or four to carry around with you for the day (in your pocket, purse, knapsack, wallet, etc.) so when you feel like you are having a rough time or a stressful moment you can pull them out as a way to remind yourself I am worth it .

Have a “Service Plan” — Make up a Friendship Gift — a special baskets of goodies (you can put anything you want in them — special stationary, stickers, coloring books, toys for the kids, bath bubbles and lotions, movie tickets, etc.) — or buy one of those beading kits and make bracelets, keychains, necklaces, anklets, etc. — or any other craft you could make and think you’d enjoy doing — for the people in your life that you care about. When you are feeling down and/or the urge to fall back on the disordered eating behaviors, grab one of friendship gifts, hop in your car, and drive it to your friends house or the post office. Leave it or mail it anonymously. This gets you out of the house and doing something for others, and helps to make you feel good! It also helps get you out of the self-pity mode.

Varying Your Routine — Try making small changes in your daily routine. doing this helps you to be aware of your surroundings at all times (rather than just “going through the motions”). Some examples are: brushing your teeth with the opposite hand or in a different bathroom, putting your pants on before your socks if you normally put your socks on first, driving to work/school a new way, shopping at a different market each time you go — be creative. think about your routine and how you can change it!

Safe Things — Pick an item or a special smell that is safe to you — for example, if you had a grandmother who wore a certain kind of perfume, or a special necklace someone gave you — and carry it around with you. When things feel stressful use the smell or item to help keep you grounded.

Think About Emotional Eating — When you are feeling the urge to binge, purge or restrict think about what you are feeling. Write down the emotions and thoughts that are going through your mind. then write down what you are considering doing as a way to cope (binging, purging, restricting) and why. Now come up with more positive ways to cope with the moment and write them down. Just by doing this exercise you have already started to cope with your emotions and will have positive ideas for next time!

Dear Eating Disorder — Write a letter to your Eating Disorder. you can call it “Eating Disorder” or you can give it a name. Include in the letter all the things you HATE about it and what it is keeping you from doing in your life. Tell it all the positive things you think you’d be without it there inhibiting you. Yell at it for what it has done to you physically. and tell it why you want it to be out of your life forever. Now get ready to “mail” it — fold or crumple it up, rip it up if you want to, burn it or destroy it in some unique fashion! This is an exercise you can do more than once and a great way to release anger and frustration over how hard recovery can be at times!

Dear Me — Go out and treat yourself to some nice stationery, or make your own stationery with crayons, markers, stickers, colorful paper, etc. Write a nice letter to yourself — include why you think you’re a good person, your goals and dreams for the future and what you want to do, and the things about your personality that you like. Thank yourself for being alive! You can also include reminders as to why you want to recover or the ways you feel you’ll be free without the Eating Disorder. Put it in an envelope, addressed to yourself and mail it! When you receive it in a few days treat it as though it is a letter from someone very special (because it is!) — open it and read it in a quiet place when you are alone, or save it to read when things feel tough. You can do this as many time as you like. not only is the letter writing process a coping idea, but receiving it again and reading it a few days later helps keep you feeling good about yourself!

You Time — Schedule time that is you time . this is time you spend doing something positive YOU like to do. if you have a hard time at first finding things to spend time doing check out the ways to cope list for some ideas! You should start off with at least two hours a week and work up from there.

Happy Recovery Day — Go out and buy little gifts for yourself — candles, incense, bubble bath, small books, earrings, all kinds of things you like (that range from $1 to $15 or $20) — wrap them up in wrapping paper and address them to yourself, then put them in a special place. For each personal stride you make in your recovery (like for example, if you went the day without purging, or followed a healthy meal plan, etc.) award yourself one of the gifts! When you run out, make sure to go and buy some more!

Support Network — Spend some time making a list of support people — your therapist’s phone number, friends and family phone numbers, e-mail addresses, ICQ numbers, etc. You should make two copies. one for home and one to carry with you. The people on the list should be the ones you will trust during a crisis.

Self-Help Workbooks — General self-esteem workbooks and self-help workbooks are great for daily writing activities. Some really awesome ones are: Sarks Playbook and Journal; Don’t Diet Live It; and How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything – A Workbook. You can also check out the Helpful Books section for more ideas!

If you have any of your own motivational ideas that you would like to see included here, things that have helped you with your own recovery, feel free to send them to me by e-mail.

Special thanks to Car and Tony and our other “fishies” on the Remember It Hurts Bulletin Board for helping me to put together these ideas!

Other Helpful Self-Help Websites

Relapse Prevention at the Mirror-Mirror Website

Real Women is a multi-sensory exploration of body image and its profound impact on women’s health and well being. It is a series of 13 small bronze sculptures and poems portraying women of diverse size, shape, culture and age.

Camp Sark
A wonderful and colorful website full of ideas for journaling, reading and overall healthy living of the mind.

Change Your Mind, Change Your Culture, and Let Your Body Be —
A Body Disparagement Free Zone

The Mind, Body and Soul Network
The Largest Feel-Good Self-Help Site on the Internet.

Self Improvement Online
The Definitive Web Guide to Personal Growth, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Human Enhancement, Self-Actualization, Personal Success, Self-Awareness, Human Potential, Personal Power, and Self-Fulfillment.

Recovery Connection
Recovery Connection offers online pre- and post-treatment and support for condependencies. Offers a personalized “daily check-in,” daily news, daily quotes, book reviews, message boards, and email.

A forum for self-help and recovery including live chats, message boards, a survivor’s gallery and a webzine on recovery issues.

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