Many of my clients who in recovery from eating disorders ask me about the challenging thoughts they have while they’re eating. Often times this is when the voice of the eating disorder can be the loudest, saying negative things. One option to combat this voice is to have several affirmations or mantras that resonate with you to drown out the eating disorder.
What is a mantra?:
Per Oxford Languages a mantra is “a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.” Historically it is used in Buddhist or Hindu traditions, focusing on a sound or word and the way that the vibrations feels within the body.
How does it help?
Today mantras can mean sounds, words, or phrases that resonate with the speaker. They have been scientifically proven to help re-center the mind and decrease unhelpful thoughts. When repeated, a mantra can promote neural plasticity and create new, more helpful, neural pathways that can allow those in recovery to redirect their thoughts away from those of the eating disorder and towards something more helpful.
Below are ten neutral mantras I invite you to try if you connect with facts, enjoy real world analogies, or if you feel you don’t really feel positive mantras at this point in time.
1. My body requires energy to allow my brain to function.
2. My body metabolizes nutrients without emotions. Carbohydrates in cake break down the same way
as carbohydrates in brown rice.
3. A car cannot run on empty and neither can my body.
4. My body does not like paying over-draft fees.
5. My brain functions more efficiently and effectively with sufficient glucose.
6. I need fat in order for my body to use fat soluble vitamins.
7. My body knows what to do with this food.
8. My body was designed to use this food in the best way possible.
9. The eating disorder wants me to believe that this will hurt me. The eating disorder is wrong; I will be okay.
10. This food/fluid I'm consuming is necessary for me as a human.
Below are ten positive mantras for I invite you to try if you’re someone who wants something a bit more positive, you connect with optimism, and you prefer looking on the bright side.
1. I am deserving of a body that is well fueled.
2. My body was made to enjoy food.
3. I am worthy of respect and will treat myself with kindness as I eat.
4. I am learning this skill and will do my best.
5. I will honor my body by giving it what it needs.
6. I can do this, one bite at a time.
7. I have done challenging things before, I can do them again.
8. Food will not hurt me; I am safe.
9. I was made to enjoy many foods, including those that may feel scary right now.
10. Each time I challenge the eating disorder I am taking a step forward in my recovery.
I hope that this allows you to help calm the eating disorder thoughts and connect with food in whatever way feels best for you today. Feel free to let me know how these work or if there are any others you prefer!