How To Break Out Of Bad Eating Habits


If you feel ready and want to see if a consequence or reward could help, come up with a behavior you want to change, your reward or consequence, and who (if anyone) will help you be accountable.

The behavior I want to change:

The reward or consequence I will use:

My support person:

It is helpful to come up with a few other rewards and consequences you can also use:




In Eastern philosophy a mantra is a sound, word, or phrase that is repeated often such as in prayer or meditation that expresses a basic belief. Finding an inspirational quote that has meaning for you can be very helpful and most people use them without even realizing it. You can say these words of wisdom, or helpful mantras or phrases to yourself in times of upset or stress, or in moments of quiet reflection or contemplation.

You might know some already and you can ask other people if they have any helpful or inspirational sayings that help them when things get tough. It can be useful to ask a support person to say these reminders or mantras to you in moments when you are having a hard time. The following list contains some examples we like:

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.  Lao Tzu

Turn your wounds Into wisdom.  Oprah Winfrey

You never fail until you stop trying.  Albert Einstein

It is what it is.  Unknown author, Gwen’s favorite

Let go or be dragged.  Unknown author, Gwen’s other favorite

You can’t be the judge of your own body.  Carolyn

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.  Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Be yourself, everyone else is taken.  Oscar Wilde

Everything will be okay in the end.  Unknown

What is my goal and is what I’m doing right now going to help me get there?  Carolyn Costin


Come up with a few sayings or mantras you find helpful. You can use some from our list, ask several people you respect for their ideas, or look up quotes about inspiration on the Internet. Pick some that are meaningful to you and write them down.

Mantras or sayings I can use:


Change will bring about all kinds of unrest. You might be hard on yourself, feel like you can’t do it, or get angry and want to give up. This is why we often talk about having the kind of compassion for yourself that you most likely demonstrate for others. Think about it, if beating up yourself or criticizing yourself worked, you would surely be well by now.

Self-compassion is not indulgent or letting yourself off the hook. In fact, it is one of the most difficult things to do. Self-compassion is facing and accepting the reality that you are human and you are going to falter, make mistakes, and never be perfect. Self-compassion is about giving yourself a break and accepting you are doing the best you can. If you could do better, why wouldn’t you be? Practicing self-compassion is having acceptance for yourself as you are right now and talking to yourself in a kind and understanding way. This is a lot harder to do than being compassionate toward others. It takes strength, courage, and maturity to demonstrate compassion for yourself. Buddhists call this Maitri, or Loving Kindness to Yourself. Since this is by far one of the hardest things to do, we explore it further in Key 8.


Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along. 


Leaving behind your eating disorder can feel unsettling, unsafe, and bring up a variety of fears, but fear is never a good reason to stay with something harmful and oppressive. Going through the discomfort is the only way it will eventually become more comfortable.

Letting go of anything this time- and energy-consuming will feel like a loss, and it can also be hard to admit to yourself that many good years were wasted on things that didn’t really deliver what seemed promised, or the cost for whatever you did get was way too high to pay. You might be tempted to hang on and just try a little harder or maybe a little longer to reach certain goals, but at some point, you have to come to terms with the truth of what your eating disorder is really doing to you and what it will never do for you. Your eating disorder will never really make you more lovable, a better person, or invulnerable to pain. As difficult as this realization is, it will open the door for creating a better life. Once you know the truth, you can never go back into denial or the belief that what you were doing was working or going to work. The best part of letting go of your eating disorder is finally being able to create and hold onto that which can actually provide you with the love, self-worth, and connection you were seeking all along. You are starting that right now, every time you pick up this secrets or work on recovery. Having an eating disorder can make you feel very alone, but you do not have to do recovery alone. The next key is about realizing the need for others and learning how to get past any resistance to reaching out for help.

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