Advice for recovering from an eating disorder

If you are living with an eating disorder Choma, you are not alone. Eating disorders involve obsessively focusing on your body shape, weight, and food which leads to dangerous eating behaviours. When you do this for too long, you raise the risk of suffering from anxiety, depression, problems with growth and development, medical issues as well as relationship and social problems. Some eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia and obesity. Here are a few tips for dealing with an eating disorder.

Separate your “healthy self” from your “eating disorder self”

Do you ever feel bad for making a decision regarding food? This is why it’s important for you to understand the difference between your “eating disorder self” and “healthy self”. Recognising the unhelpful thoughts that your “eating disorder self” may be telling you, like “you can’t eat that, it will make you gain weight and it’s bad for you!” will help you practice telling yourself more helpful statements like “no food is bad or good for me. I deserve to nourish my body with food that I enjoy”. I understand that this can be difficult to do when you have an eating disorder, which is why my next point is so important.

Reach out for help

Choma, I know it might be embarrassing or scary to seek help, but opening up about this problem is an important step on the road to recovery. Make sure you choose someone who will be supportive and listen without rejecting or judging you. This could be a youth leader, teacher, close friend or family member.

Develop a healthy relationship with food

Eating disorders are a mental health issue, therefore the food itself is not the problem. Most people with eating disorders struggle with control. The end goal is to find a balance and you can do that by sticking to a regular eating schedule, avoiding diets, letting go of strict eating rules and learning to listen to your body when it tells you to feed it or that you are full.

Get treated

Eating disorders have serious nutritional, emotional and medical consequences. This is why it’s important to get professional help in order to address the problem. You can ask your healthcare provider for a referral, speak to your school counsellors or even check with your local clinics or healthcare centres.

The truth is that happiness and self-esteem come from loving yourself for who you truly are, and that’s only possible with recovery and a lot of self-love. Remember that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and we all need to support one another and embrace our flaws.

With the right treatment, support, and self-help strategies, you can find better ways to cope with negative feelings, overcome your eating disorder and gain your true self-confidence.

Eating disorders are a serious mental illness. If you or anyone you know might be struggling with an eating disorder, visit SADAG (The South African Depression Group).

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).