I have always had issues with food, especially when transitioning into adulthood. On good strikes, I only had constant debates in my own mind over what is good for me and whatnot. The one constant thing throughout all my trials and tribulations was that I remained curious and always strived to educate myself more. It was a battle which I faced on my own, refusing to confide my problems to others, even my closest friends and family members.
I know how hard we can sometimes be on ourselves. Therefore, I listed some of my warning tips on how to cope better in similar difficult situations.
I might have learned the hard way, but now I know that eating disorders are a battle that no one needs to face on their own. There are numerous stories and resources available to you literally on the tips of your fingers. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for advice or support. But still, choose mindfully because making good friends with someone who suffers from similar issues might get you both in deeper trouble. Seek a safe and reputable source of support first.
There are lots of clinics, psychologists, counselors, nutritionists whose responsibilities are to talk you through your emotions and make you feel comfortable in your own skin. When norms are set as high as they are in today’s Insta-society, it is easy to develop an unhealthy relationship with food and with self-image. Make sure you don’t live in a denial. Keep in mind that asking for help is actually a sign of strength.
Also, separate yourself from the illness. Don’t let it define you. Feeling in control of things is easier when you observe what your thoughts and actions are if you can from a distant point of view. Put yourself in a third person and evaluate your decisions from there.
You need to understand that food is not your enemy, your eating disorder is. Set regular routines of meals and snacks, and find balance in them without measuring, calorie counting and diets. Let yourself feel what is right and you’ll consequently develop mindfulness regarding your eating cues. Keep in mind that food is made to nourish your body and not punish it.
But, also be patient with the process. Change doesn’t come overnight. I feel that the biggest part is done by identifying why are you so passionate about your illness and the reason you have for developing an unhealthy relationship with food in the first place. Are you sad, anxious, depressed, lonely? Do you eat out of comfort or boredom? Writing it all down will bring your awareness to it.
Feel your feelings to their greatest extent. Cry out loud if you feel like it. Don’t shy away from emotion because it makes you uncomfortable. Rather, express it. It will liberate you.
Last, but not least, focus on the progress. Fixating on the end goal might bring about negative thoughts, which is probably the last thing you need in that state. Get yourself a planner, write down everything that comes to mind and supports it with photos whenever possible. Share it with whoever your confidant is and celebrate little victories along the way.