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Tips to Overcoming an Eating Disorder from Women Who have Recovered
- Acknowledge that your behaviour is unhealthy and you
need to make changes. Change is YOUR choice.
- Don't wait for others to "fix" you. Take responsibility
for your own recovery.
- Learn to listen to your "self." Recognize and honour
your needs and wants. Spend some quiet time so you can hear
- Focus on feelings before, during and after you binge,
purge or restrict. Whatever you are feeling is valid. Find
alternative ways to resolve these feelings. Don't stuff
them -- express them!
- Stop comparing yourself to others. You are a unique and
valuable person just as you are. Value your individuality.
- Set small goals that you can accomplish easily, and
congratulate yourself for every success.
- Focus on the present and positive aspects of your life.
Let go of the past and the future.
- Become aware of your negative self-talk (i.e. I can't
do that because I'm fat. I always make mistakes). Challenge
and dispute that talk (i.e. I am successful at . . . The
size of my body does not determine my worth). Replace the
negative statements with positive statements and
encouragement (i.e. I have value. It is o.k. to make
mistakes. I learn from my mistakes).
- Take time to nurture yourself in ways other than with
food, such as a walk, a movie, a hot bath, a special
- Enjoy your body. Do activities you like, such as
dancing, massage, yoga, swimming, biking.
- Talk to someone rather than turning to food for
support. Keep talking until you find someone who is willing
to unconditionally accept your body, your feelings, your
needs; to accept your "true self."
- Start trying to appreciate different achievements in
yourself and others. Work toward the point where weight and
appearance are no longer something by which you rate your
success. Think about your accomplishments, positive
personal qualities, and valued relationships.
- Identify goals and activities you have been putting off
until you're thin, make a list and start doing them now.
Appreciate who you are now and start living your life
- Explore your possible ambivalence about giving up these
behaviours and your fear of living without these old coping
techniques. Take the risk to try new behaviours, without
being certain of the outcome.
- Recognize your personal rights. You have the right to
say no. You have the right to express your feelings or your
opinion. You have the right to ask to have your needs met.
- Keep a journal of your experiences, feelings, thoughts
and insights. This is a safe place to be honest with
yourself -- the journal is for your eyes only, no one else
will be reading it or judging it. The journal can also help
you identify your "triggers" so you may prepare yourself to
choose alternate strategies.
- Develop a creative outlet. Take up painting, drawing,
writing, dancing, singing. No one will judge it, and it is
a great outlet for expressing feelings.
- Don't let the scale run your life. Remember the numbers
on a scale are not a value judgment on your self-worth.
Give the scale away.
- Dispute the concept of a cultural ideal of beauty as
being unrealistic. People come in all shapes and sizes. The
concept of an ideal body is a form of prejudice, similar to
- Seek professional help for guidance in your recovery.
Help can be found from counsellors, psychologists, support
groups, family doctors, and nutritionists, experienced in
helping people recovering from eating disorders.
- Relax. Be kind to yourself. Trust yourself. You can