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Eating Disorder Recovery Handbook

Eating Disorder Recovery Handbook

Nicola Davies | Emma Bacon


Additional Information


This empathetic handbook has been created for people affected by any form of disordered eating. Thoughtfully compiled by experienced authors, it will be a comprehensive guide through every stage of your recovery, from recognising and understanding your disorder and learning fully about treatment, to self-help tools and practical advice for maintaining recovery and looking to the future.

Each chapter includes suggested objectives, tasks and reflections which are designed to help you think about, engage with, and express your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It will encourage you to process the discoveries you make about yourself for positive and long-lasting change. Encouraging quotes are included throughout from people who have walked this path and found the help they needed to overcome their own disordered eating. You are not alone on this journey.

The Eating Disorder Recovery Handbook successfully draws on existing evidence and best practice whilst interweaving the ideas and encouragement of those who have walked the difficult path of recovery before. Offering hope, guidance and a wide range of structured activities, this book will prove a fantastic tool both for people recovering from an eating disorder and those working hard to support them.
Dr Pooky Knightsmith, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Specialist, and Author of Self-Harm and Eating Disorders in Schools

The handbook is a comprehensive and practical tool to help not just the individual suffering with an eating disorder, but also families wanting to offer support.

The destructive nature of the illness frequently pulls families apart. "How did we get to this point?" is a question frequently asked. The sections and the practical ideas in the handbook address the complexity of the illness and enable parents/family members/ carers to gain a better understanding of what having an eating disorder feels like.

It provides the platform for honest communication and trust to be built/rebuilt and nurtured.

We all make mistakes, despite the best intentions, and there is no point anyone blaming themselves or regretting past decisions. That is wasted time and energy!

Instead, the handbook provides the opportunity to reflect in a non-judgemental way and move forward together to challenge the eating disorder.

Anonymous parent
It is becoming clearer that the treatment ethos that is most helpful for recovery from an eating disorder is one that includes a collaborative approach to care. This book is a wonderful compendium of resources that can be used as tools for the individual and the support team to work with a joint understanding. With helpful descriptions of the wide, eclectic variety of strategies that can be useful in fostering change, this book provides a diverse resource that can be shared in a collaborative way by patients, carers and professionals.
Professor Janet Treasure OBE, PhD, FRCP, FRCPsych, Professor of Psychiatry at University College London and Director of the Eating Disorder Unit at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, and at the South London Maudsley Hospital NHS Trust

Nicola Davies is a health psychologist, counsellor, and writer specialising in raising awareness about health and well-being. She is a member of the British Psychological Society and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Nicola also keeps a health psychology blog and runs an online forum for counsellors.
Emma Bacon is the founder of BalancED MK, an eating disorder support service, which she set up after her own recovery from anorexia nervosa. She also offers mentoring and facilitates a self-support group for sufferers and carers, with the aim of spreading awareness and understanding about eating disorders.

The topics and self study activities outlined in this book were invaluable in my understanding of myself, my relationship with food, and the real meaning behind my eating disorder. It was a fundamental tool to my recovery. It helped me to see my eating disorder from a different angle and gave me and my family new strategies to overcome it and to see it for what it really was.
Sarah Sims, eating disorder survivor

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Eating Disorder Recovery Handbook - A Practical Guide to Long-Term Recovery by Dr Nicola Davies and Emma Bacon 3
Foreword 9
About the Authors 10
Meet Nicola 10
Meet Emma 11
Introduction 12
Chapter 1 - Eating Disorder Recovery: Are You Ready? 15
1.1 What Might Recovery Involve? 16
1.2 Readiness to Change 18
1.3 The Wheel of Life 21
Chapter 2 - Understanding Eating Disorders 23
2.1 Hidden Meanings of an Eating Disorder 24
2.2 Motivations for an Eating Disorder 28
2.3 Eating Disorder Assessment and Evaluation Forms 31
Chapter 3 - Disorders Often Related to an Eating Disorder 33
3.1 Eating Disorders and Obsessive Behaviours 34
3.2 Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 36
3.3 Ritualistic Behaviours 38
3.4 Discussing Depression 40
Chapter 4 - Identity and Eating Disorders 43
4.1 Personal Identity 44
4.2 Who Am I? 47
4.3 Understanding Your Personality 49
4.4 Feeling Worthy 52
4.5 Accepting Yourself 55
4.6 Assertiveness 58
4.7 The Inner Child 60
4.8 Challenging Body Image Distortion 63
4.9 Enhancing a Positive Body Image 66
Chapter 5 - Cognitions (Thoughts) and Eating Disorders 69
5.1 Unhelpful Thinking Styles 70
5.2 From Black-and-White Thinking to Living in Colour 72
5.3 Twenty Questions to Challenge Negative Thoughts 75
5.4 Positive Self-Talk 77
5.5 Challenging My Eating Disorder Belief System 80
Chapter 6 - Social Aspects of Eating Disorders 83
6.1 Eating Disorders and Relationships 84
6.2 Plot Your Close Relationships 88
6.3 Family Roles 91
6.4 Eating Disorders in the Workplace 94
6.5 Positive Communication 98
Chapter 7 - Eating Disorder Treatment 101
7.1 An Introduction to Counselling 102
7.2 An Introduction to Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) 105
7.3 An Introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) 108
7.4 Mirror Therapy 110
7.5 Art Therapy 113
7.6 Animal Therapy 116
7.7 Writing for Recovery 118
7.8 Helpful and Unhelpful Aspects of Eating Disorder Treatment 122
Chapter 8 - Self-Help Tools 125
8.1 Mood Boards and Photo Therapy 126
8.2 Problem-Solving 128
8.3 Worry Time Diary 131
8.4 Managing Anxiety 134
8.5 Mindfulness 137
8.6 Relaxation Training 140
8.7 Meaningful Music 143
8.8 Offering Yourself the Core Conditions 146
8.9 External Validation and Self-Soothing 150
8.10 Self-Help Materials 154
Chapter 9 - Practical Advice 157
9.1 The Power of Being Pragmatic 158
9.2 Restarting Normal Eating 161
9.3 Regular, Healthy Eating – Practical Advice 165
9.4 Dietary Help for Food Addictions and Comfort Binge Eating 169
9.5 Recognising Hunger 173
9.6 Mindful Eating 176
9.7 Exercise Balance 181
9.8 Coming Off Laxatives 185
Chapter 10 - Maintaining Recovery 189
10.1 Self-Sabotage 190
10.2 Damage Limitation 194
10.3 Relapse Prevention 198
10.4 Aiding Recovery 203
10.5 Inspirational Mentors 207
Chapter 11 - Looking to the Future : Beyond Eating Disorders 211
11.1 Motivation and Future Goals 212
11.2 Hopes and Dreams 215
11.3 New Ambitions 218
11.4 Recovery Checklist 221
Appendix A - Counselling Types and Terminology 227
Appendix B - Food and Activity Diary Template 231
Appendix C - Cravings Diary 233
Appendix D - Considerations for Carers when Planning to Change Behaviour 234
Appendix E - Relapse Coping Strategies 235
Appendix F - Grounding Method Ideas 237
Notes 239