Recovery for Summer Fun

Summer is a triggering season for eating disorders. At least that’s my experience. 

In the darkest days of my eating disorder, summertime meant working out as much as possible in order to look good in my bikini. It meant only eating the fresh fruits and vegetables that were in season, avoiding any and all fun treats. It meant staying at home alone all day with my own abusive thoughts. It meant declining invitations to barbeques and parties because the fear of the food and alcohol was too debilitating. 

Summer became a season that I dreaded.

Not this summer, though. 

Last summer, I was fresh out of treatment and although it was difficult, it was a summer of growth. A year has passed, and I am still growing. But I deem this the summer of long-overdue fun; a summer without ED. This summer, I have plans that definitely contradict those of ED’s. But that’s the goal of recovery, isn’t it? The more often we act in opposition to our eating disorders, the freer we become. Opposite action can be scary, but it’s so necessary for recovery. For so many summers, I remained within my comfort zone. Sometimes staying in my comfort zone was the best option. But more often than not, it only led me back to the unhealthy behaviors. It kept me under the control of ED. When I think of this upcoming summer, I have different plans. Plans that extend outside of my comfort zone; plans that separate me even further from ED.

What does Summer 2018 look like for me? 


It looks like visiting my best friend in Colorado for an entire week, exploring the beautiful scenery and making more memories with my soul sister.

It looks like going to the beach and shamelessly sporting my new bikini because I finally feel comfortable in my own skin.

It looks like casually going out for drinks with my friends, not worrying about calories, sugar content, or any nutritional value (because it DOESN’T MATTER!!)

It looks like spending 2 months in Maine as a camp counselor and swim coach, fulfilling my childhood dream of going to sleepaway camp…as a 21-year old!

It looks like roasting marshmallows, making s’mores, and not feeling a single ounce of guilt for enjoying it.

It looks like practicing self-love by filling each day with the things that make me happy.

In my opinion, Summer 2018 looks absolutely amazing. Stepping out of my comfort zone is scary but knowing that doing so will weaken ED’s power over me makes me even more motivated. 

I’m no longer going to dread summer. Life is too beautiful to dread any part of it. Here’s to an ED free season of sun.



Renee Collett lives in Hamden, Connecticut.

She is currently studying English-Professional Writing at Southern Connecticut State University.

At Project HEAL, Renee is dedicated to sharing her story and experiences throughout her recovery in order to inspire others to learn and appreciate their authentic, beautiful selves. 

She is passionate about reading and writing and spreading her optimism/positivity to those around her. She can often be found outside in nature, at coffee shops, cuddling with her dog, or anywhere surrounded by people (major extrovert— she thrives in crowds of others)

Renees favorite ice cream flavor is peanut butter chunk...though she’s never met an ice cream she didn’t like