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Eating disorders - Tips



Tips for coping with eating disorders

Would you like some tips and advice how to deal with an eating disorder?

This forum is a great place to:

 

  • explore several tips.
  • respond to tips / share your experience.
  • share the tips that work for you.

 

What's your tip how to deal with an eating disorder?


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Tip 1 - Map your eating habits

Map your eating habits, for example through a food journal.

This can be very confronting and thus difficult to do. Try to be as honest as possible with yourself. It gives you a lot of insight in your eating habits and a possible unhealthy pattern.

Treating the emotional problems behind an eating disorder goes hand in hand with fixing and improving your (unhealthy) eating habits.


Therapycounselling

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Tip 2 - Address yourself with your first name in challenging situations

When we deal with strong emotions, it helps to take a step back and look at ourselves from a distance.

We are much smarter when we give other people advice and that intelligence we also get when we keep a wide view in challenging situations and address ourselves with our first name.

The idea that a less egocentric perspective subdues negative emotions, is being supported by brain research. The emotional center in the brain - the amygdala - becomes less active when we don't talk in the first person to ourselves.

Moreover it helps to take a distance to yourself to increase your self-control. (Mary, you can leave that chocolate alone)


Rita

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Tip 3 - Avoid risky situations

STOP!

The following situations are in general a risk situation for destructive behavior like an unhealthy eating pattern:

  • Hungry (Feeling hungry, don't eat often enough or not enough. Can also be figuratively: want something very bad)
  • Angry (feeling frustrated or angry, build up tension or longing for revenge) 
  • Lonely (lonely, withdrawn or closed off to people)
  • Tired (Fatigue because you asked too much of yourself, slept too little or a disharmony in your daily routine)


Make sure that your basic self-care is ok, so that you avoid these situations to happen.


Veerle

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Tip 4 - Investigate the secondary gain of having an eating disorder

Investigate the secondary gain of having an eating disorder. Even when you want to let go of it, it can be that you do not succeed, because (unconsciously) you benefit from having the eating disorder. This is called 'secondary gain'.

- It can be, for example, that because of your eating disorder, you do not have to do certain things that you do not want to do.
- Or because of your eating disorder you receive extra attention from your parents, lovers or therapists. And that you actually like that.

As soon as you know what the positive effects of your eating disorder is (the secondary gain), you can start to look for an alternative way to get the same advantage, without having to hold on to the eating disorder.

The next questions can help you discover the advantage of your eating disorder:

- What (nice things) can I do because of the eating disorder, what I otherwise could not do?
- What (nice things) do I receive because of the eating disorder, that I would otherwise not receive?
- What could go wrong when I do not have the eating disorder anymore?


Therapycounselling

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Tip 5 - Look into the subject "having control"

When you need to have a lot of control over your eating habits, it can be that the subject actually is: control.

Sometimes there are things in life we don't have so much control over. (there is a reorganization at work, will I keep my job or will I lose it?)

Losing control can feel so shitty, that we compensate by getting a lot of control in another area of our life. That way we don't feel the unpleasant feeling of the loss of control anymore. For example in the area of eating.

So it could be interesting to consider:

a) the situations you feel you cannot control anymore and think about what you could do in that situation.

b) no harm done in realizing that you cannot control everything in life, but that you can develop enough confidence so that you know "whatever happens, I will be fine".


R.B.

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Tip 6 - Practice mindfulness

Watch with a mild, soft and friendly attention to your eating disorder.

Accept the eating disorder, without identifying with it. You are not the eating disorder, you have it.

By approaching yourself and your eating disorder in a gentle way, you can relax deeper and then your the eating disorder can become soft too.


Therapycounselling

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Tip 7 - Share your story

For many people it helps to write down and share their story with others. You can share your story on the eating-disorders-peer-support-forum on this website.


Therapycounselling

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Tip 8 - Find a counsellor

Do you suffer from an eating disorder and could you use some support?
therapist or counsellor can help you.


Therapycounselling

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Tip 9 - Enjoy you bad habits, but consciously

This is for people who would like to have a different diet, but keep falling into old habits.
Keep doing what you always did, eat chocolate, cake, deserts, french fries, whatever you like when you feel like it.

 

Make it the goal to enjoy every bite as much as possible. At the same time, put effort in becoming aware on how you feel. How do you feel before you start to eat, are you really enjoying eating, and how do you feel afterwards? Become more conscious in that.

 

If you truly enjoy it, great, then there is no problem to solve. But if you feel you don't enjoy it, you will feel motivated to change your diet and it will be easier to succeed.


Yantra

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