Eating disorders are personal. More than anything, struggling with an eating disorder means needing the love and support of those closest to you—family members, friends and helping healthcare professionals.
Anyone who has faced an eating disorder understands that it’s a battle far more intense than just unhealthy eating practices. Eating disorders are a complicated manifestation of powerful thoughts and emotions, especially self-destructive, overly critical ones. Negative perceptions about one’s weight, features and body image throw gasoline on the fire fueling eating disorders, but other mental health issues such as trauma, anxiety or depression may also play a factor. Individuals challenged with eating disorders may cope with emotions through unhealthy eating patterns.
Though engaging in disordered eating behaviors might temporarily distract you from the emotions you’re facing, it’s far from a permanent fix and is likely to lead to more complications along the way. That’s why it’s so important for anyone facing an eating disorder to take the time to appropriately address the situation before disordered eating habits compromise the way you see yourself and others.
Let’s get to it—here are four proven self-help tips to help you manage an eating disorder on a daily basis:
1. Don’t assume you can manage an eating disorder on your own
While there are certain steps you can take on your own to help handle an eating disorder, it’s important to also seek professional help. Taking the time to learn about the disorder, practice healthy coping mechanisms and treat underlying issues (i.e. trauma, anxiety) from licensed counselors can help restore self-confidence and a healthy outlook on food, exercise and eating.
If you’re ready to take the first step toward managing your eating disorder, we’re ready to help.
2. Stay positive
It sounds simple, and it is—you can practice self-help for an eating disorder by focusing on positivity. Some days, you’ll find that it’s not all that difficult to manage your eating disorder. Other days, eating disorders can present a much bigger challenge. Battles against eating disorders aren’t won or lost in a day. No matter how you respond to these ongoing challenges on a daily basis, it’s important that anyone struggling with an eating disorder does their best to stay positive about the hope of recovery.
More than a boost for your morale, staying positive keeps self-criticism from further compromising your sense of self-confidence. In fact, criticism will do little for your confidence or self-respect at any point in your journey. While it’s important to acknowledge when some days are harder, or when you don’t do your best, use these moments to learn, not criticize. Stay positive, and don’t be afraid to take time and affirm your own decisions.
3. Get outside and get involved
So often eating disorders prevent individuals from enjoying life’s activities. Whether it’s a family reunion or a night out with friends, it’s so important for those struggling with eating disorders to maintain social activities. Do your best to stay out of your own head and surround yourself with friends and family members who will help build you up and support you throughout your recovery.
This also means that you might end up in environments that are more difficult than others. Get-togethers, parties or events might require you to face certain triggers or encounter specific foods that are typically a part of your indulgence or avoidance. Before you open yourself to these possibilities, take time to gauge your tolerance for trigger foods or situations, and to find an individual in attendance who understands your struggles to keep you accountable.
4. Set a vision, and stick to it
No matter where you find yourself in your fight against an eating disorder, don’t be afraid to set goals and stick to them. Maybe your goal is 48 hours without indulging in disordered eating behaviors. Maybe your goal is to reintroduce yourself socially, after taking time to deal with personal conflicts. Maybe your goal is to manage your eating disorder to the point that you can reintroduce old activities back into your daily routine.
No matter your vision for the future set it and stick to it. And make sure to celebrate the little victories along the way! So often, individuals who struggle with eating disorders are quick to criticize struggles but much more reluctant to celebrate successes. Take the time to credit yourself with a job well done when it’s deserved. Progress often begins with an optimistic outlook.
Managing an eating disorder starts with day one
When it comes to managing an eating disorder, the most difficult step is the first one. Acknowledging that you need help dealing with an eating disorder is the first step toward returning to the happy, healthy life you want.
Unfortunately, so many individuals never reach out to obtain the help they need. Pyramid Online Counseling makes it easy to get help for your eating disorder, with online counselors standing by to provide the therapy you need. Browse counselor profiles, choose the therapist that’s best for you and schedule your appointment today!