Shine On Beautiful

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Things I Did to Help Amy

You Are EnoughI wanted to share some of my coping skills and ideas that I used to support Amy (myself) through this journey to recovery!

1. Told Colin and established my support team
Telling Colin was one of the hardest part about recovery. This does not mean it is smooth sailing from here, but admitting you have a problem is tough. Having a strong support team is so incredibly crucial to recovery. You have to have people cheering for you during this process. Colin, Ashley (my therapist), Chaundra (nutritionist), Pam (group facilitator),the group girls, and family have been essential to my support team and my recovery. Each one has played a huge factor in my recovery and for me personally, I don’t think I’d be here without them.

2. Made a calendar to track my progress
I made a calendar of 2013 beginning in January and ending in December. Every day I had an “Anamia free day” I got a gold star. Silver stars meant I had an “Anamia free day” on my own (meaning Colin was at work all day). Blue stars meant I was meeting nutritional goals. Red stars (and after I ran out of red they turned into green stars) at first meant I was defying what Anamia wanted for me; as time passed, they represented doing things for myself. In January I had 2 gold stars days. In December I had 31 gold star days :). It is so motivating and exciting to visually see your progress.

3. Sticky noted the walls and wrote on the mirrors
Back in March/April Colin had a brilliant idea to write on all of the mirrors in our home. We, together, wrote a ton of encouraging and motivating quotes to help me when I was down. I also placed sticky notes around our apartment and on foods that were scary for me.

4. Crossed out nutrition facts!!
This is so so so so important! Chaundra had mentioned doing this early on in our sessions together but it wasn’t until later that I took the step and marked out nutrition facts. This helped so much. Looking at nutrition facts becomes habit for someone with Anorexia, and that simple habit is tough to break (not to mention the fact that I am vegan so looking at ingredients, which are right below the nutritional facts, is sometimes necessary).

5. Wrote down quotes/made a mantra
During 2013, when I came across really inspiring quotes or sayings, or when I had an idea or a motivating thought I would quickly type them in my “Notes” section on my phone (I call this “note” My Mantra). This was extremely helpful, especially during the last few months of 2013.

6. Made videos of Amy without Anamia
Colin recorded me when I was really happy and excited about recovery, that way when I was down and feeling hopeless I could watch these videos and remember why I was really fighting for recovery.

7. Talked about what Amy really needed
This was a huge step. It took time just learning what Amy needed, let alone learning to talk about it. This was a struggle. In the beginning I threw temper tantrums (yeah, real mature right?) and by the end of 2013 I was able to convey, in words, what I really needed. Whether that be a hug or space or a nap or food. Conveying these feelings was important in learning how to take care of Amy.

8. Locked bathroom door(s)
Locking the bathroom door helped remind me that I could eat and be okay. That I didn’t want to or need to “get rid” of what I ate.

9. Made a vision board
Colin and I made a vision board that we have above our T.V. It is covered in pictures of things that I want in my life, like children and a huge garden. Things that would only come to fruition if I let go of Anamia.

10. Found new hobbies
Finding new interests initially helped to distract me from my eating disorder thoughts. But now, I take part in my new hobbies because I love them and I want to.

11. Coffee with supportive friends
Having people who support you and know what you are going through helps. It can be a good distraction or just a way to start coming out of your shell. Having friends is always a good thing!

12. Listened to my body and learned to trust my body
Listening to my body and being able to understand its cues was very challenging. Someone with an eating disorder has a difficult time recognizing true hunger cues. People with Anorexia eventually forget what hunger is as they get deeper into their illness. During the recovery process I had to go back to my natural instinctive hunger cues from when I was baby: eat when hungry, stop when full. Simple, right? Ha, not so much. There were times when I would have to sit for 10-15 minutes trying to figure out if I was actually hungry or not (and most of the time I was). It’s not a quick process, but in the end, listening to what your body wants, whether that be food, sleep, or exercise, is so so so important, even for people without eating disorders.

13. Incorporated healthy exercise
This one was tricky. Chaundra originally gave me a limited amount of time that I could exercise per day. If you have a nutritionist, listen to them! They know what’s best for you during the recovery process. Finding the balance of healthy versus excessive was trial and error for me. I learned gyms are a no-go (which is fine with me. I hate walking in place for long periods of time when I can walk outside!). I learned to respect my body and that exercise isn’t something that I “HAVE” to do. It’s something that fits into a healthy lifestyle which is how I want to live.

14. Consistently used Recovery Record
When I started with Chaundra she told me about Recovery Record which is an app that tracks meals and feelings during these meals that your therapist(s) can monitor. It can also be used as a journal. This was a great tool that Chaundra and I used so she could monitor what I was eating and how I was feeling about it. Recovery Record was also my go to when I needed to write out how I was feeling in general. It helped me get out emotions that I didn’t know how to talk about. My point is, writing out my feelings and recording my food was important in my recovery, and being consistent (every meal, everyday for 7 months!) with my food logs helped Chaundra guide me to where I needed to be. However, I know some people who have used food logs and they found it triggering, so definitely talk to your therapist/nutritionist if this is a route you want to take.

2 comments on “Things I Did to Help Amy

  1. Laura
    January 30, 2014

    Beautiful story embedded in this list – so glad you had the support you did, but your will and determination is amazing!

  2. theedgeofveg
    January 30, 2014

    I love the idea of the star system.. So great especially that you managed to go from two to thirty one

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