8 Dos and Don’ts for Overcoming an Eating Disorder
Recovery from any kind of mental illness can be challenging, but when it revolves around something we all love so much – things get particularly difficult.
Food goes beyond just nutrition for so many of us. It’s an art, a passion, and even an escape from the everyday struggles of life. So, having to control and refrain from the thing that brings us so much joy can be a huge struggle.
Disorders related to food are of many different types including:
- Anorexia nervosa – people view themselves as overweight and restrict their food intake.
- Binge eating – Uncontrollable intake of large amounts of (often unhealthy) food.
- Bulimia nervosa – Eating unusually large quantities of food within a small timeframe and then purging.
- Pica – ingesting non-food substances like hair, paper, etc. in instances of anxiety or absent-mindedness.
- Rumination – a newly recognized illness in which a person regurgitates any food that they have swallowed, re-chew it, and either spit it out or re-swallow.
Overcoming eating disorders can be difficult but it isn’t impossible. By seeking the right kind of medical and physical attention you need, and following your healthcare provider’s directions, you can start your journey on a successful recovery.
While the best strategy to follow is the one prescribed by a professional, here are some additional dos and don’ts to help you through your recovery.
Separate Yourself from the Disorder
Repeat after us, you are not your disorder. This is the most first and most important distinction you need to make before starting your journey to complete recovery.
An eating disorder is much like a relationship, an abusive one that you need to pack up and leave. By personifying your disorder, instead of treating it as an illness within you, you separate yourself from it. This helps you fight back against it and treat it as something bad that you have the power to let go of.
Only you’ve managed to do this, you’re ready to start recovery.
Stop listening to the voices whispering in your ear about how you can’t be happy unless you shed that weight. Your waist size doesn’t determine your worth and the trust of the matter is that happiness only comes from inner peace – not from the lack of fat on your belly.
Even the oldest of behaviors can be unlearned, and that is all your disorder is – a kind of behavior that you need to break. However, remember that effective recovery involves more than stopping your unhealthy eating patterns. You will also need to find a more healthy way to cope with your struggles to be safe from relapse.
Get the Right Kind of Support
Seeking help is always a good idea, no matter how much your mind might try to convince otherwise.
Once you’ve recognized the problem and separated yourself from it, now it’s time to seek the right kind of help and advice for your recovery. Choose people who you can trust not to judge or mislead you. This could be anybody from a close family member, your best friend, or a certified therapist.
Fighting off a disorder is always made easier when you have people around you for support and to celebrate your progress.
Get Proper Treatment
By getting yourself treated by a certified professional, you will not just be overcoming your eating disorder but also addressing the root cause of the problem like emotional triggers, stress, anxiety, etc.
You will be guided through a proper treatment plan which will include all the required things you need to work on including food schedules, better stress management, outlets for your anxiety, and regular sessions to track your progress in an orderly manner.
A good mental health expert will often refer you to a nutrition counselor to make sure your body is getting the best diet it needs to thrive and be in a better state to power through recovery.
Use Self-Help Strategies
While seeking outside support and professional help is extremely important, don’t underestimate how important a role your willpower plays. To keep yourself motivated to recover from the disorder you should focus on:
- Creating a Healthy Relationship with Food
- Coping with the Emotional Pain
Being overly critical of yourself will only hinder your recovery. While it usually comes as a part of the disorder, learn to go easy on yourself. Forgive yourself for the little mistakes and relapses – since they are bound to happen and that’s okay!
Being too hard on yourself will only increase the intensity of your negative emotions and make your recovery so much harder.
Try to Recover Alone
Research has made it evident that eating disorders are best tackled through proper, specialized treatment. By struggling with it alone you’re just likely to make matters worse and slow down your recovery.
No amount of willpower, self-help books, and support can have the effect that a single therapy session can. So, don’t be embarrassed and book yourself an appointment with an experienced professional ASAP.
Get Tangled in the Blame-game
Quite often, individuals tend to blame their parents for their eating disorder. This is because they see them as having given them poor dietary habits from an early age.
However, studies have shown these disorders are complex and can be affected by several social as well as genetic factors. Getting caught up in the blame game isn’t going to help you recover or be fruitful in any other way.
Instead, focus on your recovery, try to explain to your family what you’re dealing with, and find support where ever you can.
The last, and perhaps most important tip is to be patient with yourself. You are only human and we all mess up. There will be relapses and mistakes. Overcoming an eating disorder isn’t an easy task at all.
But remember, with enough dedication, the right treatment, and forgiving yourself; you will make it through. We’re sure of it!
Disorders can be quite daunting to recover from. People’s insecurities and past trauma is resurfaced which can cause a struggle. If you think it is getting too difficult for you to manage on your own, seek professional therapy immediately.
For more information regarding mental health illnesses and their treatments, visit our website.