Going to College with an Eating Disorder: 3 Tips to Maintain Recovery

Stay on Track with Your Eating Disorder Recovery

College is filled with both exciting changes and potential challenges, especially for those in eating disorder recovery. Please keep in mind these recommendations for maintaining recovery while heading off to college this year.

#1: Maintain Consistency with your Treatment Team

The first and most important thing you can do to maintain eating disorder recovery while in school is to continue seeing your outpatient providers. Research has shown that the first year of college is the most vulnerable for disordered eating tendencies, which is why maintaining consistent appointments with your treatment team is highly necessary. This may also mean that collaborating with your team to find additional support on or near campus may be highly beneficial in maintaining recovery, as well. Check out your university counseling center in which they may have recommendations for on or near campus peer recovery support groups and recovery coaches.

#2: Maintain Your Meal Plan

The second way to maintain your recovery in college is to maintain your meal plan so you are prepared to handle meals and snack times. This does not mean you should set food rules or only eat at certain times and places. Instead, this is about collaborating with your treatment team to ensure you are receiving the proper nutrition that you need, while also overcoming potential challenges. It is important to note that this time of transition can quite challenging, so maintaining consistency with your meal plan is highly recommended.

Here are some eating tips to maintain recovery at college:

  • Never skip a meal: Early morning classes or late-night pizza with friends may tempt you to skip a meal, which can be extremely triggering to your eating disorder. We recommend working with your treatment team on these challenges to be able to provide flexibility in your meal plan when faced with these challenges.
  • Eat with a Friend: If you have a trusted friend on campus, consider asking them if they will be your eating accountability partner. Having additional support to help guide you, especially during this time of transition can prove to be highly beneficial for accountability and healthy relationship building.
  • Work Regularly With a Registered Dietitian: Consider meeting with a Registered Dietitian who specializes in Eating Disorders on a consistent basis As part of your support system, your Registered Dietitian will continue to help challenge and reorient your beliefs about food, help you navigate potential triggers like dining hall food or eating out with friends, and ensure you maintain sustainable recovery.

#3: Take Time for Self-Care

Life at college can be both stressful and exciting. Not only are you transitioning and navigating the challenges of a new setting, friends, and way of life, but you are also managing multiple classes, long hours of studying, activities with friends, and extra-curricular pursuits or even, sometimes, part-time jobs. Placing eating disorder recovery can appear challenging and also highly beneficial.   

This is why, amidst all this activity, it is crucial to intentionally set aside time to take care of your mental and physical health. Eating disorders are serious illnesses that take a toll on the body, both physically and emotionally. Spreading yourself too thin or putting pressure on yourself to maintain perfection and rigidity can increase feelings of being overwhelmed, which can in return make you susceptible to engage in eating disorder behaviors or relapse. To protect and maintain your recovery, we have outlined a few tips to take care of yourself during college:

  • Set Clear Boundaries: Give yourself permission to say “no.” You don’t have to be involved in every group, go to every social gathering, or even take a full load of classes. You can do college at your own pace.
  • Engage in Self-Care Activities: Whether it’s a nightly bubble bath, journaling, praying, meditating or taking a walk outside, find ways every day to slow down and connect with yourself.
  • Schedule Time for Loved Ones: It is easy to get busy and go days or weeks without talking to your loved ones. We all do it. However, to ensure you stay connected to your support system, we recommend scheduling daily or weekly calls, and doing your best to keep them!

Maintaining Collegiate Status at Magnolia Creek

At Magnolia Creek, we understand that many students struggle to take time off from school for eating disorder recovery, which is why we have recently expanded our program to accommodate collegiate academic studies. Our dedicated team works collaboratively with our clients to offer a flexible environment allowing time and space to maintain collegiate status. “We are dedicated to helping our clients continue their academic growth while receiving the care they deserve. For this reason, we are customizing individualized treatment plans that leverage virtual classroom opportunities and devote time and space for healing and academic needs.” Amos Taylor, CEO.

To find out more about our student life program and how you can get academic support while in eating disorder recovery, call (205) 650-8077 to speak with our Admission Team at One Call, Many Solutions, or complete our contact form for more information.





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