A post originally written for my Instagram account:
The summer can make recovery from an eating disorder even tougher for many of us, although the sun also has benefits!
On the hottest day ever in the UK today, many without eating disorders were struggling, but I know I’m not the only one who had an eating disorder adding an extra layer of difficulty to attempts at surviving the scorching sun.
First though, let us be positive about the sun: we get vitamin D from sunshine which can lift the mood.
For those living alone, the lighter, longer days might make feelings of isolation a little easier to tolerate.
Hot weather has unique chances to challenge the eating disorder… more ice cream, bbq foods, picnics etc.
BUT hot weather also triggers louder eating disordered thoughts…..
Clothing wise, it’s necessary to wear less and potentially expose more of our body. This can trigger more body image thoughts and body checking behaviours.
There may also be comments from others about our body that are hard to hear, even if well meant.
Heat makes the body swell and causes more bloating so we feel larger (although this is not true weight).
Appetite might reduce (I’ve not actually had this but many do) but we still need to override less appetite and keep eating…
Good weather makes it tempting to be outdoors and if you have exercise/walking compulsions they can be harder to break.
Others around us may talk more about eating salads, it being ‘too hot to eat’ or discuss bikini bodies… all unhelpful when we are in recovery.
So, how to survive?
– Keep eating… the cooling mechanisms the body uses take energy, just as heating the body does!
– Ensure copious ice cream supplies…
– Drink lots… hydrate and even challenge liquid calories!
– Wear comfy, floaty clothing if uncomfortable with your changing body.
– Keep as cool as you are able – indoors or in the shade.
– If any opportunity arises to challenge and enjoy social aspects – BBQs, being out with friends etc – focus on the bigger recovery picture!
– Avoid people who may trigger.
– Be vigilant to urges to be out and active.. be out but sit, read, people watch!
– Remember the eating disorder tries to be a bitch and killjoy in any situation – don’t let it!
Expect the eating disordered mental chatter but attempt a F**k you to ED: aim to enjoy summer and be body proud!