Eating disorders are very serious conditions but sadly not everyone who is suffering from one gets the help they need. This is partly due to the secretive nature of eating disorders, so for some time, the symptoms might go unnoticed by loved ones. However, eating disorders are incredibly common, and it’s not surprising when you consider the environmental factors such as pressure to fit in with unattainable beauty standards, and living fantasy lifestyles. So, what do you do if you or someone you love has an eating disorder? Below are some suggestions on how you can cope with this issue.
Seek Professional Help
The first thing to do is seek professional help. Eating disorders are a psychological problem as much as they are a physical one, so turning to specialists who have a thorough understanding of what the causes are and what are appropriate treatments is essential. You can speak to your doctor about referring you to a nutritionist and a counsellor for eating disorders who will help you better understand what a healthy diet truly is, as well as looking at other reasons why you might have developed the disorder, such as low self-esteem or depression. If you think your condition or that of your loved one has become severe, you should seek more intensive severe anorexia treatment or the relevant treatment to their specific eating disorder (bulimia, binge eating, etc.)
Keep a Food Diary
This isn’t a way to calorie count, rather a way to identify what is happening around you and how you’re feeling when you eat. By making a note of your mood when it comes to mealtimes, or when you have had a binge or avoided eating, etc., can be useful for identifying triggers for your disorder and looking at what the root cause of the issue is. Perhaps you notice you’re more likely to avoid eating around certain individuals? Or you tend to binge when you are feeling stressed, anxious, or generally upset? Whatever these feelings are, keeping a diary can help you throughout your recovery process.
You can also explore different mindfulness techniques to help you boost your mood and stay calm throughout your recovery period. It can be a very challenging process, and it’s important to try and avoid relapsing if you can as this will only make you feel worse. Mindfulness practices include things like meditation, journaling, positive affirmations, or engaging in soothing activities like arts and crafts.
A lot of the time eating disorders are a result of feeling uncomfortable about your body image, and excessive exercising can be a symptom of an eating disorder when combined with irregular and secretive eating habits. Exercising is good for you, so if you want to continue to do this during recovery that’s not a bad thing, but speak to your doctor first so you can both come up with an exercise plan that will keep you healthy, but not interfere with your recovery process. This moderate exercise might not feel enough for you at first, but it’s important to understand that if you do too much, you might find yourself falling back into those negative routines.
Coping with an eating disorder isn’t easy, but try these suggestions to see if it can make your road to recovery a bit easier.