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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 - 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)



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Tip 2 - 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?



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Tip 3 - 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.



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Tip 4 - Find a counsellor

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



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