3 Phases of RED-S Recovery


Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler
Albert Einstein

In theory, the basic premise for RED-S recovery is straight forward:

Eat more
Exercise less

In practice, it's not always so straight forward.

To most people, being told to do less, eat more and relax would sound like a dream come true (in the unlikely event you are one of those people, skip straight to the action point pages!). Yet for those who have spent a lifetime conditioning themselves to train, look, or eat a certain way, it can be a terrifying prospect. Perhaps it's because we're used to seeking the competitive edge or working that bit harder to get ahead of ourselves or others. Maybe it's because we're afraid to let go of the methods that once provided the success and self-worth we so depend on. Or maybe it's because we're too determined to accept that this isn't something the inner-over-achieving beast inside of us can't fix by doing more. Whatever it is, changing our behaviours and committing to the recovery process can be tough.

With this in mind, I've split RED-S recovery into 3 very simplified phases.

Phase 1: Understanding the problem

It's easier to solve a problem you understand. The fact you're reading this shows you've already recognised that what you're doing is no longer working and you're ready to work out why. You might not be quite so ready to accept that the solution involves doing something you don't want to do...but you're willing to learn about it anyway. If you're still a bit unsure, I'd recommend heading here to gain a broader understanding of the problem and then here to read 'What Not To Do Now'.

Phase 2: Deciding to take action

Once you've understood the factors at play in your problem, it's time to decide to take action. This stage may involve challenging the fears surrounding doing so. These fears may concern a loss of control, potential weight gain, decreased performances, or a general resistance to letting go of the habits that are holding you here. My advice? 'Feel the fear and do it anyway' - find a great book on this by Susan Jeffers. That uncertainty, discomfort and resistance you feel towards taking action is precisely the reason why you need to.

Phase 3: Actually taking and maintaining the action

As ready as you are to get this over with, in my experience there's no point attempting phase 3 without firstly, understanding how you got here and secondly, embracing the changes required to get out. Then, I can't emphasise enough how important it is to give yourself time to make and maintain these changes, whilst avoiding any temptation to give up, or reach the minimum level of 'healthy' and stop there. Ultimately, this process will involve taking a pragmatic approach towards improving your situation, holding yourself accountable and committing to doing whatever it takes to become the happiest, healthiest and most balanced version of yourself.