I utilize my own shared recovery experience to provide compassionate recovery care and empower clients to a life of health and wellness.
Establishing regular meals or adhering to a prescribed meal plan from your registered dietitian is the top priority for nourishing the brain and body. Accessibility to food on campus is the key to knowing you will reach your daily goals. Check all on and off-campus dining options on the school website. Learn all about the nearby grocery stores and restaurants. Review the University cafeteria dining menus in advance. Learn what foods are always available to you and which ones rotate.
Purchase or rent your own dorm refrigerator and stock it with nutrient-dense foods–don’t solely purchase snacks! You can use an insulated lunch bag for meals on days when you do not have time to eat in the cafeteria in between classes. Review your weekly schedule on Sunday. For days with back-to-back classes, you will need to use your daily planner to plan where and when you can eat meals and snacks. I recommend that all of my clients buy a planner and dedicate it to recovery. If you are on a custom meal plan with virtual supervision, scope out private areas in the cafeteria or around campus where you can set up your laptop with your meal. No one will have any idea what you are doing! It will seem like you are FaceTiming a friend.
Daily movement and meditation can help to decrease symptoms of OCD, anxiety, and depression while enhancing body image, mind-body connection, and overall mood. Walking outside to classes is great for fresh air stimulation unless your team has directed you to drive to avoid unnecessary movement. Also, try to schedule time for focused movement connecting your mind to your body. Check the school recreation center for yoga classes or open spaces for you to bring your own mat and practice. Check the school website for safe areas to walk on sidewalks or trails during daylight hours.
Learn which libraries maintain a quiet atmosphere and utilize private spaces for listening to guided meditation apps and journaling. I prefer using the Open app–it is a mindfulness studio with meditation, breathwork, and movement. Use this link for an entire month free.
Discover outdoor grassy areas where you can bring a blanket or yoga mat to practice yoga, meditation, journal, stretching, or simply rest. Learn nearby off-campus yoga, pilates, or meditation studios—you might be surprised by how many studios offer a student discount!
You can find many different eating disorder specialized professionals who can help you. There are both therapists and registered dietitians who will take your insurance! Use this database provided by The National Alliance for Eating Disorders to find local help. You can filter results by provider type (psychologist, psychiatrist, nurse practitioner, therapist, etc).
Eating Disorder Coaches can work with you virtually anywhere in the world and provide private 1:1 evidence-informed coaching customized for you. 24/7 text support and weekly virtual sessions allow you to remain in classes and on-campus during eating disorder recovery. Many college students love working with coaches due to the flexibility and text support options. I also struggled in college, and completely understand how isolating it can be. Chatting with someone weekly who has fully recovered can help you find hope and inspiration. I encourage you to seek the support you need and deserve. You are welcome to reach out to me here for a free 25-minute consultation call to see if I might be the right fit as your eating disorder recovery coach.
Schedule a quick weekly check-in with your previous treatment team, trusted family member, or recovery coach to let them know if you need additional resources and to maintain your personal accountability. Talk to your roommate—if you are comfortable doing so-let them know that you are in recovery and trying to follow a regularly scheduled meal plan. Most likely, they will be willing to offer some support with recovery. Review the school website for mental health counseling services and on-campus student support organizations. Learn where to find them. Contact the Registered Dietitian’s office and discuss how they can assist you in maintaining your meal plan. Learn about the Student Health Center and how to contact medical professionals if needed. If you are in a crisis and need help immediately, call 988 or continue to contact Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741 to be connected with a trained volunteer at Crisis Text Line.
As you continue working on your recovery, remember that “progress not perfection” is how you get there. Planning in advance for meals, movement, and meditation will decrease the stress that can arise from normal college life. Building a support system with open, honest communication is the key to accountability and feeling empowered to reach your eating disorder recovery goals.
Are you a college student who needs support in eating disorder recovery? Let’s talk about how a coach can be an essential part of your support team! Reach out here for 1:1 private eating disorder recovery coaching. I offer a free 25-minute consultation call where you can learn more about me, and ask any questions you have!
Merrit Elizabeth is an Eating Disorder Recovery Coach certified by The Carolyn Costin Institute. She holds a master’s degree in Health Promotion Management and has years of experience working with women with eating disorders.