Most people that are in recovery that have been to a treatment center or have dealt with a nutritionist are probably familiar with the FOOD EXCHANGES.  If you aren’t quite sure what I am talking about, let me explain. One theory to help restore “normal”, I hate that word, eating patterns back into the lives of someone with an eating disorder is to have them have a certain number of “exchanges” of Protein, Carbs, ect…

ANAD wants to put a new spin on this old idea and bring you FUN EXCHANGES  because dang it , we all need fun in our lives!! We recommend 10-15 FUN EXCHANGES a week minimum. These exchanges can run the gamut, from 1 hour of charades all the way to 1 hour dancing in the streets. I know I  when I was fighting for my recovery I had to force the fun at first. The more I did it though and gave up a little control, the easier it got. Plus I really started to enjoy myself. I need my full 15 FUN EXCHANGES  just as much now that I am recovered as I did when I was fighting. One way I like to live my life now is by the motto “Work hard, but play even harder!”.


So, you might ask, what were/are my personal FUN EXCHANGES? Like I said before, in the beginning it was tough. The word “fun” was not in my vocabulary. With some time and a little guidance, my first exchange was : Writing in my Journal (1 fun exchange) and I would do that six days a week. This would of course leave me way short of my goal, but we all have to start somewhere, right? I started to venture out. Taking long drives in the country with my dad (3 fun exchange) twice a week added on top of my journaling.

Then I was ready to test my comfort zone. My dad would go and meet his friends every morning for breakfast at McDonald’s around 7:45 am, except Sunday. One morning I got up, got ready and met him at the door and said “Let’s go”! I was literally thrusting myself into an unknown environment, with about 12 strange people. This took balls! I give this (4 fun exchange for the first outing). When we got to the door ready to enter McDonald’s I thought I had made the biggest mistake ever.

You see, not only was I in Kentucky, hanging out with 70 and 80 year old god fearing people, but you have to understand I was in my 30’s AND I am a queer female. It just got real, didn’t it ! I must say I have never been made to feel more welcome and loved in a place before in my life. I would continue going there for almost a decade faithfully.

So flash forward a few years, and I am in recovered life now and seeing as how my calling in life is to eradicate eating disorders (simple task) the FUN EXCHANGE is more important than ever! I really make sure to rack up the points now. If I am not trying out a new cafe or restaurant, I am at home playing Rockband on the Wii. I also love to travel, go to punk and ska shows and of course hang out with friends from all over the world. My FUN EXCHANGE cup runneth over.

We’d love to hear about what FUN EXCHANGES you incorporate into your life and recovery. Please share with us by clicking on the image below!  



Written by Krista Sturgeon