As a former administrative assistant and current volunteer for an outpatient behavioral health services center that provides help for people with eating disorders, I am aware that consuming the right amount of food can be difficult for some people. Moreover, I used to have a problem with binge eating and recognize the ugly power that poor eating habits can have over an individual’s mental and physical health. While eating disorders like my problem with bingeing arise for many reasons, they often result from people feeling that they have little control over their lives. When such feelings emerge, individuals often attempt to gain a sense of authority over themselves by deciding how much food they put in their bodies. Oftentimes, this attempt to maintain control over one’s life through eating habits results in consciously starving oneself or bingeing. Both of these eating habits are very unhealthy and can lead to several degenerative diseases and the compromise of one’s cardiovascular system. In recognizing the detrimental effects that eating disorders can have on one’s life, it is important to know that there are strategies you can implement to overcome them. Here are three:
1. Admit That You Have An Eating Disorder.
Consciously acknowledging the fact that your eating habits are not normal and healthy is often the first step to recovery. When you do not understand or simply refuse to categorize your behavior as disadvantageous and potentially life-threatening, you are less likely to talk about the problem with others and allow them to help you. Moreover, living in self-denial is a complex mind game that allows you to believe that your actions and attitudes with respect to food are acceptable and do not warrant interrogation or modification. Thus when self-denial sets in, the likelihood that you will get help diminishes drastically.
2. Find A Support Group.
In discussing ways that individuals can overcome an eating disorder, wikiHow advises people to consider attending a support group. To explain why, they state that it is comforting to note that other people are struggling with the same issues as you. This is correct. Unfortunately, individuals with eating disorders-whether it be bulimia or starvation-tend to think that they are the only person whose food habits are unhealthy and out of control. Support groups displace this myth by informing us that there are others who face the same sort of problem. Moreover, support groups are often monitored and/or led by physicians who have the formal training necessary to gear the event towards healing and recovery.
3. Read Books About Recovery.
In discussing ways that individuals can overcome an eating disorder, ReachOut.com advises people to read recovery-oriented books. In explaining their rationale, they state that these books can inspire you and keep you motivated. This is certainly the case. Whether you read the personal memoir of an individual who dealt with and overcame an eating disorder or a book that outlines steps you can take towards healing and recovery, the experience will probably benefit you. Some books you may want to consider include Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders by Aimee Liu or Eating Disorders by Kevin Hillstrom.
As mentioned earlier, eating disorders can have a detrimental effect on an individual’s mental and physical health. Because this is the case, people struggling with such disorders should seek information regarding how to overcome their bad eating habits. I believe the tips and strategies I’ve provided above will be very advantageous for you.
Jocelyn Crawley is the former administrative assistant of Helping Hands Community Based Services. She currently volunteers for them. Helping Hands is an outpatient behavioral health services provider that specializes in assisting individuals with mental disorders and substance abuse diseases.