How to Overcome an Eating Disorder Safely

Overcoming an eating disorder can be dangerous and may actually require assistance. For this reason, it’s important to reach out to a professional for help. A professional will provide an evaluation and treatment plan designed to guide you through the process based on your unique needs.

In this article, we’re exploring how to overcome an eating disorder safely.

How to Overcome an Eating Disorder Safely

Many Americans struggle with an eating disorder. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 30 million men and women have had an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Eating disorders can happen to anyone, including children, teens, and adults.

Out of those who seek treatment, 60% make a full recovery. You can be part of this group that overcomes an eating disorder too. The best treatment includes different levels of care, as well as various psychotherapies.

The healing process doesn’t stop there, however. There are many steps you can take to make sure you are healing from an eating disorder safely. The first step is to recognize it is not safe to do it alone.

Create Your Treatment Team

You control who is on your treatment team and who isn’t. After all, it is your treatment. Those who have overcome eating disorders in the past have likely included any or all the following:

  • Family physician, who can provide education and direct you to the right eating disorder specialists, writing referrals when needed.
  • School counselors, from elementary education to college, can make referrals to mental health centers for evaluation. They can also provide support while you are at school.
  • Like psychiatrists and therapists, licensed mental health professionals can provide medical care and treatments to help you through each stage of recovery. Both can also assist you in creating a treatment plan that is based on your needs, including activities like individual or group counseling, peer support groups, improving life skills, nutritional counseling, family therapy, and medication, if needed.
  • Nutritionists and dieticians can teach you the importance of vitamins and nutrients needed for essential functions like metabolism. Those trained in eating disorders can help you set goals for slowly adding foods to your diet so your body can heal.

Your treatment team is the go-to people when you have questions, concerns, and successes. Everyone on your team will likely note the importance of making yourself a priority and practicing self-care. Doing so is crucial to overcoming an eating disorder safely.

Make Yourself a Priority

What you focus on the most will be the “thing” that thrives. When you focus on disordered eating like anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating, you successfully created those disorders, even though they have negative consequences.

By making positive self-care a priority, healing and recovery will thrive.

Practicing self-care helps you learn how to pay attention to your body, which will tell you what it needs. The body is great at sending signals to let you know if it is hurting, hungry, and happy. Identifying the signals and meeting the body’s needs will lead to positive healing.

Self-care means getting the best treatment to heal any other issues, physical or psychological. Many people have both an eating disorder and a mental health disorder. Or an eating disorder and pain, grief, family dysfunction, addiction, etc. You must recover from all issues simultaneously, so they don’t become barriers to success later.

Self-care is a process that restores your mind and body from damage caused by your eating disorder. Self-care is different than self-help.

Practice Self-Help

Self-help involves participating in activities that strengthen your ability to avoid the return of an eating disorder in the future.

Some suggestions for self-help include meditating or practicing spirituality, learning a new skill, writing your memoir, or sharing videos to social media about your recovery journey. You can inspire others struggling with eating disorders to get help. Sharing your self-care story also helps avoid keeping secrets, which can be detrimental to recovery.

Other self-help strategies include:

  • Volunteering in your community
  • Reading self-help books
  • Listening to self-help podcasts
  • Attending local self-help groups
  • Join social media recovery groups
  • Attend webinars or take online classes

If you struggle to find self-help activities, don’t be afraid to ask your treatment team for suggestions. They can help you develop a relapse prevention plan.

Relapse Prevention Plan

Just like you created a treatment plan that focused on getting your mind and body rebalanced so healing can begin, you can also create a relapse prevention plan that helps you learn more about potential obstacles that could trigger a return to your eating disorder.

Relapse prevention plans include identifying triggers that make you want to revert to destructive behaviors. From websites to friendships, there are certain things you must avoid. Knowing these will help you prepare for the unexpected.

Also, develop a positive support system that does not include your treatment team members. Ask friends, coworkers, family, or peers you meet at a support group to be in your support system. These are people you can call when you find yourself struggling with temptation. They can also help you work through any negative emotions, like shame and blame.

Avoid Shame and Blame

It’s not uncommon to connect problems with the people we think created them. But, it doesn’t help you overcome an eating disorder safely. It just makes things worse. So, avoid blaming yourself, your parents, your siblings, bullies at school, and anyone else who probably did play a role, even if unintentionally.

Shame is a toxic emotion, and you must do what you can to avoid feeling shame for having an eating disorder. Every person on the planet has a problem of some kind. Yours happens to be an eating disorder.

Shame and blame keep you stuck in the past with negative thoughts and emotions. Figure out how to move forward. When you overcome an eating disorder, you win. Whatever you do, never let shame, blame, or anything or anyone else influence you to quit.

Never Give Up

Finally, overcoming an eating disorder means you will likely experience obstacles along the way. These obstacles do not have power, though. You have the ability and can choose to deal with them and stay on track.

You can overcome an eating disorder, and you can start the process today by calling the mental health center for assistance and begin creating your treatment team. Together, you can succeed.