Eating disorder recovery can be one of the most challenging aspects of eating overcoming eating disorders. Individuals are constantly surrounded by triggers that could potentially lead to a relapse. Many associate cookies, pies and cakes as “bad foods” while those with a sweet tooth associate these foods as “comfort foods” or even “celebration foods”. One important lesson individuals learn in eating disorder recovery is that all foods are considered neutral and there should not be a label of “good foods” or “bad foods”. Baking, like cooking, is a form of self-expression but is also can be a way to exert control over food and be close to food while struggling with an eating disorder, without actually eating it. Many individuals with an eating disorder will cook an entire meal or bake an entire cake without ever eating the food. This is their means of control over food. Baking and cooking can both bring joy to one’s life, even if they are in eating disorder recovery. Baking is an art form and can be a great way to bring people together. So how does an individual bake during eating disorder recovery without being triggered?
Bake with loved ones
Baking can be a fun social gathering. Include friends and family and try to make an afternoon of it. If you are still trying to meet friends during recovery then you can consider joining a baking club in your community. Maybe each person bakes their own recipe or decorates their own sugar cookies? Maybe each person is responsible for bringing at least one ingredient? Baking can involve many great conversation and can bring people together which is important for those in eating disorder recovery who may feel alone.
Bake a new recipe
Bake a recipe you have never tried before instead of baking the same goods you did while you were struggling with your eating disorder. Eating disorder recovery is all about new beginnings and learning not to focus on the past. You can even try to exchange recipes with friends.
Bake for others
After spending hours of baking with loved ones, what do you do with all of the baked goods? Having dozen of cookies and pastries lying around can be triggering and can lead to a potential relapse, especially if they were the type of baked goods that you consumed during your illness. Baking can also go hand in hand with gift giving. You can distribute your baked goods to your neighbors, your local homeless shelter or fire station. Everyone loves baked goods and recognizes the time and passion that goes into baking. Don’t feel as if you have to keep all of your baked items for you to consume, you will be surprised by how much love and appreciation others will feel when they receive your baked goods.
Baking, just like cooking, can be cathartic during the recovery process. Baking can teach you patience, self-love and can be a form of self-expression. Learning how to overcome triggers in recovery is one of the most important steps for overcoming eating disorders in addition to practicing healthy coping skills.