Recover From Eating Disorder is different from each and every person affected by an eating disorder.
It is important to remember that it is hardly ever a straightforward process to recover from an eating disorder.
No one expects you to walk your path to recover smoothly without encountering some obstacles or taking a wrong turn along the way.
But remember that somebody or something is always there to help you find your way back.
In this section, we will discuss a few Tips for How to Recover From Eating Disorder for directly helps the patients as well as the Parents and Caregivers of the patient.
Also read: Types of Eating Disorder And Its Medication
Tips to Patient to recover from eating disorder
1.Be Mindful of When You Started to Adopt an Excessive Eating Pattern
Patients should observe whether such eating pattern is happening on a regular basis.
Binge eating can become a habit. But you will be aware of it if you pay close attention to your behaviour.
Alone at home, after spending some time with friends or after being told off by your boss may lead to binge eating.
Patients are advised to keep a record of events, thoughts and feelings they had before they adopt an excessive eating pattern.
That way, they may realize that most of their binge eating behaviour is related to their emotional turmoil.
Having found out about their behavioural pattern and emotions, eating disorder sufferers can avoid certain circumstances that trigger binge eating or alternatively, even if they do come across those circumstances, they will be more alert or try to divert their attention to something else in order to reduce the tendency to binge eat.
2.Be Mindful of Your Emotions
Sometimes, we eat not because we want to satisfy our physical needs. For instance, some people eat continuously because they feel empty and lonely.
Have you noticed that you would naturally turn to eating when you are stressed, upset, lonely, nervous, bored etc?
A research shows many people turn to food, especially deserts, impulsively when they are under pressure.
In fact, such desire for sweet food is not merely a psychological response. It’s also because pressure causes the adrenal glands to secrete cortisone.
A continuously high level of cortisone will increase one’s appetite. Intake of glucose increases the secretion of serotonin, which relaxes one’s feelings.
Such phenomenon is very prevalent, but this is not abnormal. However, if eating becomes the only way to cope with problems, one may suffer from eating disorder.
Sufferers often lose their confidence because they have lost control over their lives.
They wrongly switch their focus to easier tasks, which don’t involve other people, such as weight and body figure control etc.
By controlling their weights successfully, they regain confidence and satisfaction. Nevertheless, drawing a link between confidence and weight may result in one being controlled by his weight.
Then, he loses himself again. Therefore, patients should notice whether eating and losing weight is a common response to avoid troubles and to shift their attention away from problems.
3.Abandon Pessimism and Negative Thinking
Many people suffering from eating disorders have a reflexively negative mind, i.e. if they fail to lose weight, they are useless; hence it is hard to find a job and they are destined to fail.
Patients must undertake cognitive behaviour therapy to demand evidence to support their thoughts.
In this way, they will realize that a lot of their assumptions are ill-founded and ridiculous. On the other hand, many patients are very demanding of themselves.
For instance, if his boss doesn’t praise him for his work, he thinks his boss is dissatisfied. Such ways of thinking and strict self-demands will continuously dampen their confidence.
It is particularly easy to trigger binge eating when one constantly lives under tension and stress.
Patients should try to keep an eye on themselves and undergo repeated verification processes to find out whether they are thinking negatively and if so, take actions to turn it into a positive one.
4.Abandon the Wrong Weight-losing Habits and Maintain a Normal Diet
According to the statistics taken from HEDA’s hotline, about 90% of eating disorder sufferers have been adopting a wrong method to lose weight before they are diagnosed with eating disorder.
For example, daily intake of food with extremely low calories absorption, use of weight loss products, excessive exercising and self-induced vomiting etc.
Unhealthy weight-losing habits do not have a lasting effect. In addition, it damages one’s health and may lead to eating disorder if left untreated.
Some patients eat little for breakfast and lunch, but eat excessively for dinner.
We strongly advise patients to adopt a normal eating pattern – three balanced meals. This is to prevent them from over-eating at night.
5.Learn to Accept Your Body Figure
People suffering from eating disorders are often dissatisfied with their body figure. They mistakenly think ‘slim’ is considered the standard.
So they push themselves to lose weight. Apart from post-natal factors, innate body structure like bone structure, metabolism, DNA etc also greatly affect our body figure.
However, all those are out of our control. When your body figure is standard, it is unnecessary or even impossible to slim down a particular part of your body (such claims that you can slim down a particular part of your body have not been scientifically proved).
Therefore, we should recognize that everyone has a different body figure, just like how people of different races have different skin colours and cultures.
Do not over-emphasize on appearance and overlook what’s inside. We shouldn’t use appearance and body figure to measure one’s confidence.
Learn to accept your body. Do not randomly criticise other people’s body figures because everyone is unique.
Unfortunately, losing weight has become a trend, which attempts to give everyone a moulded body shape. Such phenomenon is a reflection of their lack of confidence.
6.Weight and Body Figure Are Not the Right Scales to Measure Yourself
Eating disorder sufferers often use the content and quantity of food to determine whether they are successful or not.
For instance, they blame themselves for failing to resist the temptation of deserts and think they are useless.
If they manage to lose weight, they feel successful and confident.
In fact, eating has nothing to do with one’s self-value, because our worth does not lie in our ability to control our weights.
Instead, it lies in our achievements of meaningful matters.
7.Increase Our Ability to Analyse the Media Message and Advertisements
The media’s message and advertisement on weight-losing programmes are very attractive indeed.
But think about this: if you can lose weight without the need to go on a diet, to exercise or to take medication, then there will be no more fat people on earth.
As wise consumers, we should read these media messages with scepticism. Do not blindly believe in them and become their guinea pigs.
In fact, the so-called advertisements only aim at increasing the audiences’ or consumers’ desire to purchase, in order to raise the sales of their products and services.
As a result, many advertisements are exaggerated and superficial, and they often hide their shortcomings.
You must recognize and remember that there is not free lunch in this world.
8.Look for Professional Assistance at the Appropriate Time
Most people suffering from eating disorder hope to improve their conditions by self-motivation.
We encourage patients to experiment with a variety of methods.
Nevertheless, the patients, as the persons involved, may not necessarily notice their problems since they are used to it.
Help from outsiders may result in higher efficiency and have better effects. In addition, some patients refuse to get help and miss the best time for treatment.
This has a profound impact upon the therapy. Therefore, if eating disorder sufferers have tried persistently but the conditions failed to improve and are getting worse, they should seek help from professionals as soon as possible so that the treatment will not be delayed.
Tips to parents and caregivers
1.Establish a Support Network
When you find your children suffer from eating disorder, remain calm. Do not blame yourself.
Discuss with, e.g. your spouse, in relation to how to handle this situation. It is impossible to cope with this illness alone all by yourself.
Find out more information about eating disorder and ways to recover from
Sometimes, the patients refuse to admit they suffer from eating disorder at the beginning.
Instead of waiting passively, caregivers should keep an eye on information provided by communities and have a handful of those at hand.
In this way, you can help facilitate their treatment when they are willing to accept their illness.
2.Notice the Symptoms Displayed by Patients
If you notice symptoms displayed by patients, like self-induced vomiting, taking laxatives, low calories intake etc, you should register with a family doctor for regular check-ups.
Pay attention to the patient’s health all the time. Seek help from professionals. If necessary, admit the patient into a hospital for treatment.
3.Receive Treatment at the Earliest Stage Possible
You should encourage patients to face their illness positively and seek help from professionals as soon as possible.
Do not force them if they are not willing to accept the reality at first. Caregivers are advised to take part in HEDA’s support groups in order to learn from others how to handle different conditions of patients.
4.Manage Your Emotions Well
Most caregivers worry a lot about eating disorder patients’ eating habits and their physical conditions.
They are desperately seeking to help them enjoy eating again. However, caregivers may be discouraged by the patients’ indifference or cool responses.
They may feel defeated and become frustrated or irritable. Caregivers should recognize the significance of their roles in the patients’ recovery process.
If they fail to control their emotions, they can’t provide strong support for the patients. Therefore, caregivers should take part in social activities and support groups to relieve their stress.
They should also talk to their friends about their feelings. If necessary, they should seek help from professionals.
5.Avoid Arguments Over Food
Some caregivers and patients always fight over the amount of food eaten in a meal, causing the dinner table to become a battleground.
In fact, the root of the problem is not whether to eat or not eat; it’s whether the patient’s needs have been satisfied.
It’s very hard to facilitate a successful recovery if you only forcefully increase the amount of their food intake and fail to realize their reasons for not eating or binge eating.
Incessant arguments do not help patients resume their normal eating pattern; it will even worsen the relationship between the caregivers and patients, making it harder for the caregivers to win the trust from the patients in future.
6.Listen Closely to the Patients’ Needs
Eating is a very stressful activity for eating disorder patients.
Caregivers should accept the fact that patients cannot recover in a short period of time. Therefore, they should not blame, challenge or adopt a skeptical attitude towards them regarding eating problems.
Besides, they should not have the view that the patients are only suffering from what they deserve because they are already tortured by their own thoughts and emotions.
Most caregivers pay their attention mostly to the patients’ eating behaviour and changes in weight and neglect their psychological needs.
To help them, you should listen to their problems and show that you fully understand them.
You can even ask them directly what you can do which would be most helpful to him/her.
7.Maintain a Balance in the Family
Caregivers should be careful not to let the patients use their illnesses as a means to take control over the family.
They should not let the patients receive all the attention of the family and should try to maintain a normal way of living within the family.
The family should live the way they lived before a certain family member is diagnosed with eating disorder.
They should not give in to their demands just because of the illnesses. Besides, your own needs and other children’s needs also need to be taken care of.
In this way, the patients will not tend to think they would obtain the family’s care only when they are sick.
8.Set a Good Example Yourself
As an example to your children, you should establish normal and healthy eating habits. In addition, you should accept your appearance and weight.
Do not criticize other people’s appearance since this will deliberate wrong concepts to your children.
9.Respect the Patients
Do not force the patients to receive treatments when they’re not fully ready, because this may discourage them from seeking medical help later and negatively affect the results of treatment.
When the patients receive psychotherapy, remember to respect their choices of therapy and do not interfere or force them into anything, in order not to give them pressure and weaken their confidence towards recovery.
Do not request the counsellor to divulge any information provided by the patients before you receive consent from them. Remember, patients have privacy too.
10.Avoid Frequent Change of Therapists
Psychotherapy has to be maintained for a period of time to see its desired effects.
However, due to the impatience of some patients or caregivers, they frequently change their counsellors or seek help from many different professionals.
Since every professional may have their own approaches, too many changes will only make it hard for the patients to adapt to.
11.Accept, Support and Encourage the Patients
The best treatment for eating disorder patients is a trusting relationship between the family and patients.
It’s important to make them feel cared for, supported and accepted by the family.
Do not force your thoughts onto your children. Instead, you should encourage independent thinking.