When we hear the word “cure,” we might imagine the victory shout of “I’m cured!” as if by magic or a miracle. While we wish every illness and disorder could be cured with a snap of the fingers, it’s just not how the world works. So attempting to answer the question, “How can I cure my eating disorder,” while not a waste of time at all, requires a bit of an open mind.
While it’s not entirely possible to “cure” an eating disorder on your own, there are countless methods you can use alongside eating disorder treatment services. These methods can help ease the symptoms of an eating disorder, the emotions surrounding the disorder and the disorder triggers under control.
Set reasonable goals for yourself
One of the main reasons goals are never achieved lies in the truth that half the goals we set are not just too lofty, they’re unbelievably vague. When setting goals to help you overcome and/or recover from an eating disorder, it’s vital to start with small, achievable goals you know you can meet and slowly work your way up to the big ones.
For example, instead of introducing every single triggering food/food group back into your diet, start with introducing just one maybe once a week. Give yourself one day off a week from running, or start reducing the number of miles you run if the number is high. Whatever you want to work on, pick that and start small.
Talk to a trusted family member or friend
Keeping an eating disorder a secret is one sure way for it to blossom into a full-blown, overwhelmingly difficult problem. Bringing it into the light and talking about it and/or asking for help is an important first step in lessening the ED’s power and giving you control over the whole situation. Plus, it provides you with a confidante who can encourage you to pursue/continue treatment, help you set and achieve goals and be a listening ear whenever you might need it most.
Mindfulness is all about recognizing the moment – the emotions, thoughts, feelings, the way all the senses are affected – and then letting it pass by, like a car on the road or a leaf in a stream. And while it might sound easier said than done, when practiced over time, it can help lessen the symptoms and triggers of an eating disorder, as well as minimize deprecating self-talk and thoughts damaging to your self-image.
Give yourself grace
There will be times when you make mistakes, some days that are better than others and moments when you think you could’ve tried harder.
Let them go.
Recovery isn’t an immediate cure, it’s a journey, and journeys are full of setbacks, obstacles and complications. So when one day just isn’t working out how you wanted, breathe deeply, talk to your person, stop beating yourself up, accomplish what you know you can or have the strength for, and let the rest go knowing full well that tomorrow is a fresh start.
Take the time to find healthy coping mechanisms
Frequently, eating disorder behaviors find root in a certain need to exercise control because something else in one’s life is out of control. However, when these moments of needing to feel a sense of control take over, try practicing awareness and instead of indulging in unhealthy behaviors linked to the ED, seek out other coping mechanisms instead.
You could try investing time in a hobby like gardening, crafting or practicing an instrument. You might want to spend time in nature hiking, relaxing near water or training your dog. You can seek out a place to volunteers, like an animal shelter, library or nursing home. Think about activities that bring you joy, and pursue them.
Drink lots of water
Keeping your body hydrated will help you feel better overall. It’s a nutrient your body needs a lot of every day, and since EDs are so hard on your body, keeping your body well hydrated will jumpstart your recovery journey. This provides you with more energy and helps you want to put your health back at the top of your priority list.
Understand that your body might be lacking nutrients
Whether the struggle is with anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge-eating or another form of an ED, your body is likely not receiving or retaining the nutrients it needs to operate properly. Firstly, these nutrients are best gained by eating foods high in vitamins and minerals. By putting an effort into incorporating these foods into your meals, you can help your body combat the negative physical effects of an eating disorder.
Especially in the initial stages of recovery, this might be best done under the supervision of a dietician or ED nutritionist.
Reach out for help
Receiving eating disorder treatment might be one of the best ways of “curing” an ED. While treatment centers don’t provide a magic cure, they do offer their clients healthy coping mechanisms, effective recovery strategies and helpful food and exercise-related counseling.
To learn more about eating disorder treatment or to talk to a counselor today, contact Seeds of Hope at 610-644-6464.