How to Recover from an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders are defined as disturbed eating habits, but they’re a lot more than that. They can sometimes emerge as a way to keep negative emotions in check and prevent you from losing control, which is why they can be difficult to treat. But is recovery possible? In this blog, we’ll answer the most common questions and concerns related to eating disorder recovery. Read on!
Is Recovery From An Eating Disorder Possible?
Yes, it’s definitely possible. Treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Eating Difficulties and Interpersonal Therapy are effective treatments for various eating disorders.  Statistics show that 30-60% of patients with bulimia or binge eating disorder and 46% of patients with anorexia make a full recovery.  In the US, research suggests that 60% of eating disorder patients fully recover. 
What Is The First Step To Recovery From An Eating Disorder?
The first step to every kind of recovery is acknowledging and accepting that you have a problem and reaching out for help. You might be afraid of being judged, and your concerns are normal and valid. Still, the sooner you talk to a professional, the more likely you’re to recover. Additionally, it’s important to be kind to yourself and try to keep the volume down on your self-criticism, which can only exacerbate your symptoms.
Common signs you would notice of an eating disorder might include:
- thinking a lot about food
- making yourself sick after eating
- exercising too much
- eating little food
- having a strict eating routine
- poor body image
- feelings of shame or guilt around eating
If these sound like you, it’s a good idea to reach out to your GP, who will suggest the way forward.
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Can I Recover On My Own from an Eating Disorder?
While self-help tools are a great option if you can’t afford a therapist or the NHS waiting list is very long, they’re most helpful as an additional part of your recovery. An eating disorder can be a serious issue. Your strong will might be helpful, though not enough to recover fully on your own. Often it is more helpful to use your resilience, strong will, and determination with a professional, for example, an eating disorder therapist, so that you can work as a team towards recovery.
I’m Worried About Putting On Weight, How Do People Cope With this in Recovery?
On the one hand, all you want is to recover. On the other hand, you might be willing to do anything not to put on weight. If that’s what’s going on for you, it’s good to know that your concern is common among people with eating disorders. However, it’s worth remembering that one of the goals of therapy is to decrease your fear of putting on weight. The journey towards recovery often passes through reaching a different, more flexible view over your weight. You may finally find that it’s not your weight that’s essentially the problem but perhaps your thoughts around gaining it and what your weight means to you. With the right help in this direction, you’ll be able to gradually improve your body image and the impact of that on how you feel.
I Feel Silly And Embarrassed – Is My Eating Disorder My Fault?
An eating disorder is a serious illness that can develop due to many factors, including environmental and genetic ones. An eating disorder is never anyone’s fault. Also, consider that we live in a world where we’re constantly being pressured to be in shape and achieve often impossible beauty standards: this may contribute to developing unrealistic standards of body shape and a sense of being not fit enough, which can, in turn, contribute to an eating disorder. It’s estimated that around 1.25 and 3.4 million people in the UK suffer from an eating disorder.  You are not suffering alone, and it’s certainly not your fault. Try not to feel guilty – you deserve compassion and recovery, and remember that you didn’t just wake up one day and decide: I’m going to start having an eating disorder.
Am I A Failure If I Relapse?
Unfortunately, recovery is never as straightforward as we’d like it to be, which refers to both body and mind. Some days you might feel like you’re improving, and on other occasions, you might feel like you haven’t made any progress at all. This happens in any kind of journey, including recovery. Learning new coping skills and changing thinking patterns is a gradual and often lengthy process. Sometimes, it might mean taking a step back. Try to see relapse as a part of your recovery. For every step back, you can take two steps forward. Additionally, sometimes relapsing is necessary to adjust your treatment plan, which will always be individualised and tailored around your unique needs and circumstances.
Why Don’t People Take My Concerns Seriously?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths surrounding eating disorders, and most people don’t know enough about the issue to be supportive. People who never experienced it might never understand it fully, but, in many cases, they can be educated. If explaining them how it feels like to experience your eating disorder, you can try suggesting them a few helpful articles to read. An idea is “14 things your loved one with an eating disorder wants you to know”, and is listed as an additional link below.
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Tips For Recovery Treatment For An Eating Disorder
Develop a self-care plan
One of the reasons an eating disorder is so difficult to recover from is because, in some ways, it may help you feel in control when you’re having a difficult time. It will be helpful to come up with alternative, more helpful activities you can do when you’re overwhelmed by emotions. For example, writing down your negative feelings, going for a walk or listening to music.
Reach out for professional help
As soon as you realise that you might be experiencing an eating disorder, it is important to reach out for professional help. Although it might feel daunting, a confidential chat with your GP, even if just via the phone, can place you in the way of recovery. Keep in mind that health professionals aren’t there to judge you. They have likely seen many other people with the same issue before and have your best interest at heart!
Reduce social media use
It’s difficult not to compare yourself to others, but social media can make it even more challenging. Try to stay away from or reduce your social media usage, particularly related to image-based sites, while you’re in recovery. If the temptation is too strong, then try to use social media mindfully. To do this, monitor how staying on social media makes you feel while you’re scrolling and ask yourself questions like: “What’s my intention in using it right now?”, “What Am I trying to achieve?”.
Practise positive affirmations
Find statements you can repeat daily that can help you with feelings of guilt and shame. For example, ‘’The eating disorder isn’t my fault”, “I’m good enough, and my weight doesn’t define me”, or “It’s okay to take a step back, I can continue on my plan even if I haven’t been perfect!”
Join a support group or a forum
Try to find a support group you can join in your city or join an online forum to find people who face similar struggles. At the same time, remember not to compare your recovery process to other people’s. Feeling connected to others with similar issues can be a powerful tool for recovery.
Encourage your loved ones to educate themselves
Many think it’s okay to comment on other people’s weight and food intake, especially when they don’t know much about eating disorders. Try to talk to your loved ones and explain to them that some comments are triggering.
Try to see recovery as learning a new skill
As mentioned before, recovery isn’t straightforward. While there’s no such thing as failure in recovery, sometimes you won’t be making as much progress as you’d like. However, you should try to see recovery as learning a new skill, like playing an instrument or a sport. You have to practise many times before you achieve desirable results. On some days, you might struggle with skills you thought you already perfected. Being patient is key.
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Eating Disorder Therapy
Eating disorder is an isolating illness that can be difficult to recover from on your own. With the right help, you can change your eating habits, challenge negative thinking and improve your general wellbeing and self-esteem. You can read more about Eating Disorder Therapy here.
Contact us for a free 15 min consultation to see if our help would fit your needs.
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