Eating disorders affect approximately 70 million people internationally. Treatment and recovery of eating disorders not only focuses on the physical aspect of handling food but the mental health portion of it as well. [Eating Disorder Recovery Specialists](https://bodypositiveworks.com/Expertise/Eating-Disorders) are an important part of your personal team in order to help you create the goals needed to build an overall positive relationship with food. There are many ways to approach this with your recovery specialist but it is important to understand the various stages that you will go through when exploring the cause of your eating disorder. Professionals will often refer to this as the [“Stages of Change”](https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/stages-recovery) which is a cycle rather than a linear progression for people with eating disorders. 1. Precontemplation Stage- This stage occurs prior to when you believe you have a program. Those around you may pick up on the signs and symptoms, but you are still in denial. 2. Contemplation Stage- This stage occurs when you are willing to admit that there is a program and are now open to receiving help. Fear is often very present during this stage, but finding the right help including an Eating Disorder Recovery Specialist will help with the appropriate processing of your feelings. 3. Preparation Stage- This stage is transitioned to when you are ready to change but not fully aware of how to do so. You may work with your Eating Disorder Recovery Specialist to learn specific coping skills or to reduce potential barriers. 4. Action Stage- This is the stage that implementation occurs. You are currently ready to work with your new skills and confront the eating disorder. It is important to understand that your Eating Disorder Recovery Specialist is there to guide you and assisting with making this stage successful. 5. Maintenance/Relapse- This stage comes into play when you have worked the Action Stage for approximately 6 months. You are currently working on your new behaviors and consistently using your new coping skills. This stage also includes handling potential triggers that may cause a relapse. To prevent relapse, do not be afraid to reach out to your Eating Disorder Recovery Specialist for help! Actively set personal goals for yourself with or without the assistance of an Eating Disorder Recovery Specialist. Goals help keep you on track throughout the process. Smaller goals are essential as they create milestones to keep you motivated. - Be patient…. It takes time and will not change overnight - Be honest.....with yourself and others. It’s okay to ask for help - Be intuitive ….. Focus on how you feel rather then how you look - Be creative….. Work towards creating a life outside of recovery - Be motivated….. Focus on things other than food that bring joy - Be supportive….. Support yourself on the small steps as opposed to the bigger picture - Be centered….. Focus on you and your surroundings. Include those that that are most supportive of your efforts - Be connected…..Stay connected with your treatment team and therapist. Even once treatment is over, they are available to help - Be invented…... Start a new hobby or a new book to break up your routine and open your mind to new opportunities. - Be mindful…… Remove any items that cause negative thoughts to include scales - Be forgiving….. Make amends with someone who you lost contact with or who you may have hurt in the past **Where can I find an Eating Disorder Recovery Specialist?** Below you will find some options that are available. It is important to always select the one the is the best for you. Setting yourself up with a team that is solely focused on your success will help you stay motivated and provide the support you need. **Virtual** [National Eating Disorders](https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/) [Eating Recovery Center](https://www.eatingrecoverycenter.com/virtualcare ) **New Jersey** Body Positive Works, Saddle River, NJ 201-708-8448 The Renfrew Center, Paramus NJ 877-357-8568 Center for Discovery, Paramus NJ 855-200-6435 Princeton Center for Eating Disorders, Plainsboro NJ 855-636-7217 **Out of State** The Body Image Center, Washington DC 844-394-3319 Canopy Cove Disorder Treatment Center Tallahassee, FL 855-338-8620 Remember it is okay to “mess up”, this takes time and effort. Help is always available, but you must be willing to reach out. Eating Disorder Recovery Specialists have the skills needed to provide you a safe space to process your emotions and break down the barriers that keep you from achieving your ultimate recovery goals.