Quite often people come to me in my free group, as prospective clients or even in my DMs feeling stuck in their recovery from disordered eating or eating disorders and feeling lost as to what to do next!
Often they have begun to lose hope that things can get any better, instead feeling resigned to being stuck in quasi recovery and stuck with the food guilt, anxiety and all the other rubbish that comes with it! And I am here to tell you that full recovery is so possible for all of us as well as giving you some cues as to where you can look next to kick start that next stage of your journey.
Am I stuck?
But first, it is probably important to look at what being stuck means.
Being stuck is different from taking time to integrate and create space to let us new behaviours become our new default, which is such a normal part of our healing journeys. When we are integrating, embodying learnings it feels motivated, generally calm and we feel like we know where we are going. Getting stuck feels very different.
When we are stuck we can start to feel frustrated with where we are at, knowing what we need to do next but feeling blocked as to how to get there or afraid of that next leap. We may even start to let some of our new behaviours fall to the wayside and maybe seeing some old behaviours kick back in.
It is important to remember that getting stuck is not a problem or something to be ashamed of. It happens to all of us at some point in our journeys. But once we realise we are stuck, we have a choice. A choice to stay stuck which so often results in a relapse of some form or we choose to see this as an opportunity to keep learning, growing and heal even deeper.
So let’s look at some ways you can take action to get unstuck!
How do I get unstuck?
We are so often very food and behaviour focused in our approach to recovery. And yet in focusing on behaviour change we are missing a huge part of the puzzle, the root causes of why we ended up developing disordered eating and if we don’t tackle them we never truly can heal.
And I believe this is why we can feel so lost when we get stuck, because we are telling ourselves ‘I know what to bloody do, why can’t I just do it’. The inner work is the answer!
Here is a little inner work inventory to checklist of the key reasons we get stuck in recovery:
Hopefully unsurprisingly motivation is key to behaviour change and maintenance, but so few of us realise that there are two parts to motivation. One, raising the pain of the rubbish we want to move away from – we are usually pretty good at this one. Two, getting clear on where we are going – this is the one we aren’t so great at!
If we don’t know where we are going, we don’t know why we are doing this and our brains being built to help us survive not thrive will rather us feel stuck than venture into the unknown. The pain points aren’t enough, we are so much better motivated by the carrot approach than the stick!
And getting the carrot is pretty easy, you don’t have to know exactly how it will feel or look like but letting yourself dream and imagine will go a long way to give your brain some sense of certainty to help you take the next step.
Suggested activity: Do a vision board for all the things you look forward to in recovery.
We all have five human needs that we need to meet: safety, uncertainty, love, connection and signficiance. If we don’t meet these intentionally our disordered eating may be stepping in to do it for us!
You can learn more about these human needs as well as getting an action plan together to meet them in a healthier way here.
I actually have a free training to teach you how to meet your own needs in a way that serves you better – you can get access here.
Beliefs are one of the major reasons we get stuck! They sit in the subconscious part of our brain, filtering everything we see, hear and do and also filter everything we think and feel internally too!
Our beliefs are the driving factor behind so much of our behaviours. And if our beliefs are not in alignment with what we are working towards we will nuke it! So we get to shift the beliefs that are preventing our progress to beliefs that better serve us and unlock that next level!
Many of us will question who we truly are, and in recovery so often we ask ourselves who will we be without this. And this is another area where if we don’t have clarity we would rather stay stuck!
So some good questions to ask yourself to see if your lack of sense of self is holding you back are:
Do I know who I will be without my disordered eating?
Will recovery leave gaps in my life that I don’t know who I am going to feel?
Inner Child/Parts Work
Now a lot of people will look at this and think this is very ‘out there’ or ‘woo’, but in fact we have known that inner child work or what is sometimes called parts work to be integral to psychological healing since the late 1800s!
As I explain in my blog about ‘Why we develop with disordered eating’, the the tools we are taught or not taught and the trauma we may have experienced play a big part in why we developed disordered eating in the first place.
We get to work through our past experiences, especially during the foundational years in our psychological development of 0-8 years old to truly heal.
Hopefully I have given you some things to think about if you are feeling stuck in your recovery and some things to work on yourself too.
If you are ready to take your own healing journey to the next level and get unstuck, you might want to check out my Food Freedom Breakthrough Programme where I will show you exactly how to shift the beliefs that no longer serve you, find your identity without your disordered eating and work with those inner child parts to unlock that next part of your journey!