Thursday, February 19, 2015

Coping with Eating Disorders

We were recently approached by a reader on the very delicate topic of eating disorders. Since neither Elissa or I are health care professionals it can be difficult for us to chime in here, but this doesn't mean we haven't lived through eating issues of our own or experienced this with someone we know personally. 

In fact, what human doesn't experience issues when it comes to what we eat? I really would like to meet someone who lived a full life and didn't at some point have an unhealthy relationship with food and/or exercise.

By nature our society almost breeds these kinds of issues for all people by in one hand advocating overeating/unhealthy habits via oversized food portions and countless fast food options/advertisements and then perpetuating unrealistic ideals of today's "best bods." There's no way to escape photoshopped, plastic images glorified throughout today's media and television outlets. 

Eating disorders manifest in many forms:

1. Overeating/chronically unhealthy eating habits
2. Food restriction/chronically dieting
3. Food purging/bulimia
4. Binge Eating
5. Anorexia
6. Body Dysmorphia (body issues/complexes/insecurities).
7. Overexercising

With all of the above it almost seems impossible to escape falling into an eating disorder category.

To cope with one of the above (or an eating disorder not mentioned) it's critical to first forgive yourself. Consciously doing any of the above eventually takes a dangerous toll on our body and mindset. To recover from a disorder we must learn to let go on the guilt that overcomes us. Guilt only causes more angst keeping folks in a cycle of unhealthy behaviors, so forgive yourself first to begin coping with issues around food.

Next, start slow in your attempt to change this behavior. Acknowledging the need to change a damaging relationship with food is the first step to changing it. Habits are very hard to change of course,  but the best way is to break a bad habit is to write down a plan, a course of action of sorts, and stick to it even if the plan is leading you from "baby-steps" to big changes. Simply stay the course and don't give up on your health and recovery!

Seeking treatment is another essential step. Sure, it may not be easy to share your story and get the support you need, but it's much, much harder to live a life in turmoil over an eating disorder. Disclose to someone you can trust and use them for support as you venture on your slow and steady path towards recovery.

                                              Share your insights, too! Comment below.

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