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Things I Do When Eating Disorder Creeps In

Since middle school I can remember having some form of a body image disorder. In high school I was diagnosed with anorexia. In college, I have finally reached a healthy body weight for me; however, this does not mean the eating disorder thoughts and negative body image have disappeared.

People can come a long way in recovery and still have self-destructive thoughts. One thing I have learned in recovery is there are good days and bad days. Some days I feel so wonderful and I absolutely love myself, but other days are really hard. I beat myself up about taking a rest day or the ice cream I ate two days ago. Sometimes I rock a tight fitting dress and other days I hate every curve of my body and refuse to leave the house.

I’m happy to say over time these thoughts have become infrequent. But, sometimes I still need to give myself a pep talk when ED (eating disorder) pops in.

 

Here are things I do….

  1. Write. Sometimes just writing about what is really bothering me helps me understand and if nothing else be compassionate with myself.

  2. Walk. Often, when I’m feeling really down, I can’t bring myself to workout; however, taking a walk in fresh air always helps me clear my mind and take a break from everything.

  3. Do the opposite of what ED tells me. If my negative thoughts are telling me I’m not allowed to have dessert, but I’m really craving it…guess what? I have the dessert and try to really enjoy it. If my ED is telling me I can’t rock the tight, form-fitting outfit, I do it anyways to prove to myself I can.

  4. Look at BOPO accounts. Body-Positivity accounts have been my best friend in the healing process. There are so many blogs and Instagram pages with positive, healthy advice. It is often so helpful to see pictures of healthy women embracing their bodies and sharing stories of their former eating disorder.

  5. Pamper myself. Sometimes if I can’t convince myself to love my entire body that day, I focus on loving just one part. For example, if I’m having a hard day I might paint my nails, put on a moisturizing face mask, deep condition my hair or even just organize my room.

  6. Eat every 2-4 hours. When I’m having a hard day, I either feel compelled to restrict food or binge eat food. I found it is best to set myself up to avoid those old habits by eating frequently. I try to have three meals and two snacks with plenty of water. This way, I have to eat – I can never restrict – and I never feel starved, which for me often leads to binging.

  7. Spend time with friends or family. This one can be hard. Personally, when I’m having a bad body image day I want to hole up in my room and make no contact. But, those are the times it is absolutely essential to reach out and call a family member or hang out with a friend….or even go to a public place where other people are around! Sometimes just being around people can lift spirits.

  8. Get invested in a cause. I have devoted myself to a non-profit lately, and it has really helped me take my mind off my own eating disorder issues. I feel involved in something bigger than myself and I feel proud of the work I’ve done. So even on days where I don’t appreciate my body, I at least appreciate my mind and the work it has put in to the non-profit.

 

Essentially, what these tips are intended to do, are to help you love yourself and make it through a hard day. Because guess what? You will make it through, you will recover from your ED and the sun will shine tomorrow.

 

Photo credit: Caitlin Tan

 

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I'm a senior at the University of Wyoming studying Journalism, as well as a part-time hippie and cowgirl. I'm always craving a solid mountain bike ride or general activites with my dog Delilah. You can generally find me in the mountains, drinking tea, at the Wyoming Public Radio station or the produce aisle at Safeway. 
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