Learning to let go of disordered eating.
This blog is a spinoff from my Psychology Today blog of the same name, established in 2009. As PT grows more restrictive on length and content, I’m migrating my longer-form content to this site. The PT blog explores what it’s like to have anorexia nervosa and to recover from it, emphasising the crucial role of behaviour change (especially relearning how to eat) as the pivot between psychological and physiological healing. This personal one strays further from illness and recovery to ask (and answer) wider questions about what it means to live well. You can find out more about the original blog, including a full list of posts by theme, here. Or explore the new homegrown collection below.
10 Steps to a New Year’s Resolution That Will Work
New Year’s resolutions are really easy to get wrong, where wrong typically means unviable (e.g. too vague or unrealistic to be able to follow through on) and/or ill-conceived (i.e. even if you did follow through, this would never get you the change you really want). Both failings can be easily sidestepped by paying attention to…
How To Bridge the Insight/Action Gap (Part 2)
Analysing and undercutting the structures, beliefs, and practicalities that make it easier to intellectually understand than to act accordingly.
How To Bridge the Insight/Action Gap (Part 1)
How can we understand—and then bring to an end—the frustration and the damage caused by having insight and persistently not acting on it?
All-Inclusive Resorts and Dietary Self-Regulation (Part 3)
7: Rendering your limits irrelevant In this series so far, we’ve used the all-inclusive vacation model to illuminate recovery from a restrictive eating disorder: from adhering to a blanket rule of “as little as possible” to incentivizing “more than necessary.” We’ve reviewed evidence suggesting that “dietary restraint” is counterproductive, atrophying the skill of eating without top-down rules, and often…
All-Inclusive Resorts and Dietary Self-Regulation (Part 2)
5: Milkshakes and dietary restraint In the first part of this series, we explored the general idea of linking the “more than you need” structure of an all-inclusive vacation with the “more than you’ve always convinced yourself you need” structure of successful recovery from a restrictive eating disorder. I also described the anorexic version of such a vacation (think…
All-Inclusive Resorts and Dietary Self-Regulation (Part 1)
1: Introducing the all-inclusive resort analogy In October/November I spent 15 nights in Playa del Carmen to circumvent the US travel ban and get into the US to see my partner for the first (non-Zoom/WhatsApp) time in 13 months. I decided to splash out, and spent far more on this holiday than I ever have…
13 Things I Learned Dining Out Alone for 14 Days
Reasons to schedule solo restaurant meals into your recovery, or your life. When did you last eat out alone? Until last month, for me the answer would have been “I have no idea—not for years, maybe never.” That’s if you mean doing it properly: going into a restaurant on your own, ordering an entire multicourse…
Recovery Memoir Experiment: Call for Participants
Help shape the future of an unpublished book about recovery from anorexia. A new study investigates the effects of reading a book about recovery from anorexia designed specifically to encourage positive therapeutic effects and discourage harmful responses. I’m excited to announce an opportunity to take part in an experiment investigating how reading habits and eating…
The Mathematics of Optimization in Recovery
How to optimize the optimization process that is recovery from anorexia. If you prefer, you can find abridged versions of the three parts in this miniseries on Psychology Today starting here. Part 1: Introducing cost functions and their limitations “Optimizing for” something has a simple colloquial meaning of setting things up to get as much…
I’m a researcher, writer, and coach, and also run a writing programme for Oxford University. My academic research focuses on the psychological effects of reading narrative, including on health.
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