By Megan Samuels, MSW, LMSW, Outreach Coordinator
Summer can bring up challenges for folks who are in recovery from eating disorders and/or body image struggles. The summer months mean warmer weather, which comes along with wearing less clothing.
For people who struggle with food or their relationship to their body, it may be difficult to trade the leggings for shorts and the sweaters for tank tops.
Here are some tips for navigating body image stressors during the summer months.
1. Find clothes that fit your body as it is right now.
Bodies can change over time and that is okay! They can change as we age, as hormones fluctuate, and based on our stress levels (just to name a few of the many factors). It is important for us to honor the changes in our body and get new clothes if we seem to be not fitting into the clothes that we currently have. This can look like buying new clothes, buying used clothes, or getting clothes from a friend or family member that no longer fits them.
People who struggle with eating disorders and/or body image may save clothes from when they were in a different-sized body because they have plans to change their weight and get back to where they were when they were more actively struggling with an eating disorder.
This can be triggering to the recovery process to constantly open up your closet and have reminders of where your eating disorder would like for your body to be. If you are up for it, take some time with your therapist, dietitian, or coach to work to untangle the eating disorder and your recovery self and see if that eating disorder part is able to step aside and throw out those clothes that don’t fit.
A helpful activity can be to have a dialogue with the eating disorder, as referenced in this blog.
2. Increase support.
If you are a student or a teacher, the summer months may mean that you have more time to yourself and away from other obligations. This can be a great opportunity to increase your recovery support. If you are working with a therapist and a dietitian, could you add a recovery coach to your team? Maybe you have been seeing a more general therapist but want to do some deeper eating disorder work?
Check out this blog that explains more about what recovery coaching is and how it can be helpful.
Check out this blog on the importance of seeing an eating disorder specialist when you are struggling.
Other ways to increase support can include joining a support group, adding providers to your team, seeing providers more often, or prioritizing recovery-oriented activities outside of therapy sessions.
3. Offer yourself increased compassion during this time.
If you know that the summer months may be more difficult for you and your recovery, plan to offer yourself some compassion. This can look like starting gratitude lists that you complete everyday or just reflecting on the hard work that you have put into recovery thus far and reminding yourself that you are doing the best that you can.
It can also be validating that you are not alone with these summer struggles! Many folks struggle with body image in the summer.
Schedule a free 15 min consult for eating disorder therapy in MD, VA, DC, NY, FL, or recovery coaching worldwide.
The Eating Disorder Center is a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center founded by Jennifer Rollin. We specialize in helping teens and adults struggling with anorexia, binge eating disorder, bulimia, OSFED, and body image issues. We provide eating disorder therapy in Rockville, MD, easily accessible to individuals in Potomac, North Potomac, Bethesda, Olney, Silver Spring, Germantown, and Washington D.C. We also provide eating disorder therapy in Arlington, Virginia and virtually throughout Virginia. Additionally, we offer eating disorder therapy virtually in New York (NYC), Florida, and California. We provide eating disorder recovery coaching via Zoom to people worldwide. Connect with us through our website at www.theeatingdisordercenter.com
The Eating Disorder Center
We are a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center in Rockville, Maryland.