When I first entered recovery from my eating disorder, my dietitian informed me that I would end up with a better relationship with food and my body than the average "normal" person. I laughed in her face, thinking she was completely out of her mind. How could I go from weighing my food and myself daily to loving my food and myself (without any calories or weights)?

But, looking back, I see exactly what she was saying. The rules I was taught in recovery apply to just about anyone. Here are the messages that I learned that I think everyone can benefit from.

Rule #1: Don't Weigh Yourself

coffee, cake, tea, pizza, beer, kettle
Spoon University

Weight is technically just your relation with gravity. Yes, some weights are healthier than others, but weighing yourself is not going to drastically change the number on the scale. If those digits drastically affect your mood, there is no reason to subject yourself to anxiety and pain.

Rule #2: Eat Throughout the Day

sweet, milk, dairy product
Kelsey Coughlin

At first, I hated eating six times a day (breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, evening snack), but it's better for your blood sugar and metabolism to eat regularly. There are also less scientific benefits: snack foods are incredible and spreading out food intake reduces your chances of a killer food baby. 

Rule #3: Don't Restrict Your Diet

In eating disorder recovery, there is no such thing as cheat days. Eating foods that you enjoy is not bad (as long as it's done in moderation), and holding yourself to the impossible standard of avoiding gingerbread cookies will cause you to either, a) be hungry, or b) binge. 

Rule #4: Eat Everything in Moderation

Eating an aggressive amounts of carrots may not seem as bad as eating only ice cream, but both wreak havoc on your skin. Eating just one type of food is not only boring, but also poses health risks. The point is: no food is off limits, but you need to have a balanced diet to stay healthy

Rule #5: Don't Overdo it in the Gym 

This also applies to the middle schoolers who try too hard in gym: you are not an Olympic athlete. You do not need to be working out in the gym for hours, and you do not need to go to the gym every day. Please stop trying so hard, you and your muscles need a break

Rule #6: Accept Yourself

Just because you ate that extra slice of cake or your jeans fit slightly different, you are not "fat," "gross," or any of the other choice words we use to demean ourselves. You are not what you eat, and what you weigh is not your weight in society

These rules are still hard for me to follow at times. It's easy to slip back into negative thought patterns, but recognition that these ideas are not healthy is the first step to progress. Over time, you will learn to listen to the Biebs and "go and love yourself."