5 Tips for Navigating Recovery during the Summer

Posted June 4, 2024

Person holding ice cream cone outsideSummer is right around the corner!! It’s almost time for pool parties, celebrations, picnics, BBQs and fun in the sun! While many of us may read that line and feel excitement for what’s to come, many of you may also sense some nerves and feelings of being overwhelmed. Warm weather months often bring up many worries around food and body image for those in eating disorder recovery. I’m here to give you some tips for how to not only survive, but most importantly, have fun during these months!

Structure with Flexibility

Depending on where you’re personally at in recovery, structure is often helpful during these months, especially if your school or work schedule is changing. If your days become wide open when the summer months hit, it may be helpful to develop a routine to ensure you’re staying on track with your recovery goals. Sometimes it’s helpful to think about what your day will look like, and then you can envision when you’ll eat around your schedule. For example, if you are going to the beach with your friends at 11am do you need to pack lunch? Snacks? Hydration?

Comfortable Clothing

Clothing has such a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves and our bodies. If you have time before the summer months hit, it might be helpful to work with your team to build a plan to go through even some of your summer clothes before the season fully hits. It can be hard to get dressed in the summer when you haven’t gone through your clothes in a year. There can be a lot of uncertainty about how stuff feels on your skin or what fits. Once you have a better feel for your closet, you’re only grabbing for what is your current style, what fits, and what is comfortable! Though it won’t take all of the stress away around summer clothes, it sure does help some! Remember – clothes are meant to fit you, not vice versa!

Prepare for Events

When I think of the summer, my mind is filled with endless gatherings and celebrations, many of which have a cookout or food involved in some way. Use your therapy and dietitian sessions to plan for these events! It can be helpful to even role play certain comments or scenarios that could take place. You can work with your team to best determine if a lot of planning is needed, or if the challenge will be to engage in less planning in your stage of recovery. Remember to include topics about body image when planning with your team, too.


Often during the summer months our schedules open a bit more, especially if we’re on break from school. Lean into this increased flexibility if you could use more support. Chat with your team to determine if meals with your team, food exposures, body image groups, or other means of support would be beneficial for you during this break from your usual schedule.

Create a Summer Bucket List

I always think this can be a fun way to navigate a new season. Develop the list without the idea of changing your body or engaging in eating disorder behaviors. What do you want to remember about your summer next year? Is there anything you want to push yourself to do this summer? Here are some ideas that come to mind for me. What’s on your list?

While summer can be a hard time for individuals working on eating disorder recovery, it’s important to remember that it is possible! Continue to lean into your “why” for recovery during these months and use your treatment team to celebrate your wins and discuss your challenges. I hope these tips help you to have a fun summer you’ll never forget!

Adrienne DinkArticle by Claire Bowar, RD, CDN, LDN, CEDS
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