2. Ed. I already addressed Ed once in a blog post, so I won't go into too much detail here. While I understand the idea that it can be good to separate unhealthy and healthy thoughts by naming or identifying the unhealthy ones, I think this kind of strategy can become problematic when one refuses to accept that the disorder is part of the self, an unhealthy coping mechanism that once served a purpose and can be dangerous if continued. Blaming Ed for risky behaviors but refusing to take any action to change won't lead to improved health. It can help separate the person from the illness, but I stand by my words and say that this is a limiting and gimmicky strategy when it comes to dealing with eating disorders.
3. Eating disorders are a choice. No, they're not. No addiction is a choice, but we all make choices in life that either support or inhibit health. The problem with thinking a disorder is a choice is that you discount the physiology and genetic component of an addiction. The fact that they are not a choice doesn't mean those who suffer have no way of changing or overcoming them. It's more complicated that simply they are or they aren't, just like recovery isn't as simple as making a single choice to get well. You must address all aspects of a person and the disorder in order to successfully overcome addiction. Eating disorders are not a choice, and getting well is not as simple as choosing to eat.
4. Focus on who you were in order to overcome the illness. This is not good advice, because so many people never had a healthy relationship with food, even from a young age. Besides, going back in time is impossible, and why would you really want to? Instead, focus on where you are now and where you want to go. Go as far as describing what you want your life in recovery to look like, and then come up with some steps you can take to get there.
5. One diet fits all. This couldn't be further from the truth. Those who claim everyone can thrive on the same diet aren't considering the different dietary requirements for those with PKU, Hereditary hemochromatosis, Cystic Fibrosis or any number of genetic variations individuals have. Contrary to what some people believe, there is no magical diet for everyone. Anyone who claims that everyone, including all diabetics, does well on a high-carb diet hasn't looked into scholarly, peer-reviewed articles on insulin sensitivity or articles on varied diets in general. It's simply not true that everyone in all areas of the globe should eat the same diet.
Going past the physical requirements of diet, there's no doubt that there are psychological and emotional factors involved with eating. Comfort food is different for each person. Memories and scent are closely tied together, so certain feelings can arise when you smell or even see certain foods, but food can also affect brain chemistry. Again, why we eat what we do isn't as simple as feeding the machine. Food as fuel is fine, but it's better when we can learn to enjoy what we consume.
Speaking of diets, I recently bumped into another gimmicky recovery method called the MinnieMaud. It sounds like the "fuck it; I'm eating" way to better health. Honestly, I don't know a lot about it except that at a glance, it looks like someone compiled a lot of existing advice into a "method" that's easy for others to follow. These kinds of practices have pros and definite cons, so my only suggestion is that anyone who is thinking about doing something like this should check with his or her team and doctor and make sure it's safe to try given his or her situation and current state of health. Remember, refeeding for anorexics and other individuals with certain eating disorders can be dangerous and even deadly in some cases and should be monitored in most cases. Just be careful is all I'm saying. If it works for you, great, but don't push it onto others. Any program like this should be used as a guideline only, not something set in stone.
As far as recovery goes, I don't believe there's a magic formula or perfect method, or that you have to do X, Y and Z to regain health and sanity. There are some obvious changes that have to be made, and I believe there are certain issues that must be addressed in order to recover. Each person, however, will have a unique set of needs and issues to address. The path to health that one takes to achieve well-being need not be the same path someone else takes and probably shouldn't be. For example, some alcoholics believe that AA is the only way a person can get sober, but there are plenty of people who have put years of sobriety under their belts without attending meetings. More importantly, everyone who attends AA will have a different experience and will interpret what is being offered differently. The individual makes of it what he or she will.
I often refer to this post when it comes to what I feel is essential in recovery. Use what works for you and discard the rest. By using your own approach combined with the guidance of those you respect and trusting that somewhere deep inside you are the answers, chances are you will have lasting success in your recovery.