In my 20 years of practice with patients suffering with a restrictive eating disorder, I have found a list of 12 self-statements, a sort of cognitive-behavioral plan, helpful in my work with patients. I ask my patients to keep this list with them and work on one each day, until the list is internalized:
- Relax my rigid adherence to times to eat.
- Stay motivated to get healthy and overcome my eating disorder.
- Fight my tendency to diet or exercise excessively.
- Overcome my terror of being overweight and work towards thinking about food, instead of being preoccupied with food.
- Face my fears of going on eating binges. I can stop eating when I want to.
- I need to realize that too much energy is going into my eating disorder, so much so, that I can’t enjoy things the way I used to.
- I need to stop being so self-critical. It’s OK to make mistakes. I just need to try to not make the same mistakes, over and over again.
- I have to stay in touch with all my feelings, feeling sad, feeling irritable, and feeling any way I do.
- I need to gain a greater comfort level with my body. I need to be able to see myself in the mirror without clothes, and feel comfortable with myself.
- I need to fight how self-conscious I am about my shape.
- I need to maintain a very clear awareness of my illness.
- I need to stick with my food plan and my exercise plan.