The mirror and your mind can be deceiving…
I added this page to help others who are struggling with eating disorders as I did for years. I was at war with myself battling Bulimia and the Body Dysmorphia of the mirror. I am a living testament that Recovery IS possible, and I know that If I can do it, so can you!
First of all, for those of you who are concerned for loved ones that may be dealing with an eating disorder, or if you just want to take a better look at these disorders, here are some key definitions and information (via Mayo Clinic) :
- Eating disorders are a group of serious conditions in which you’re so preoccupied with food and weight that you can often focus on little else. The main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.
- Bulimia (boo-LEE-me-uh) nervosa, commonly called bulimia, is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder. People with bulimia may secretly binge — eating large amounts of food — and then purge, trying to get rid of the extra calories in an unhealthy way. For example, someone with bulimia may force vomiting or do excessive exercise. Sometimes people purge after eating only a small snack or a normal-size meal.Bulimia can be categorized in two ways:
- Purging bulimia. You regularly self-induce vomiting or misuse laxatives, diuretics or enemas after bingeing.
- Nonpurging bulimia. You use other methods to rid yourself of calories and prevent weight gain, such as fasting, strict dieting or excessive exercise.
- More About Bulimia
- Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes people to obsess about their weight and the food they eat. People with anorexia nervosa attempt to maintain a weight that’s far below normal for their age and height. To prevent weight gain or to continue losing weight, people with anorexia nervosa may starve themselves or exercise excessively.
- More about Anorexia
- Binge-eating Disorder is a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food. Almost everyone overeats on occasion, such as having seconds or thirds of a holiday meal. But for some people, overeating crosses the line to binge-eating disorder and it becomes a regular occurrence, usually done in secret.When you have binge-eating disorder, you may be deeply embarrassed about gorging and vow to stop. But you feel such a compulsion that you can’t resist the urges and continue binge eating. If you have binge-eating disorder, treatment can help.
- More about Binge-eating disorder
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which you can’t stop thinking about a flaw in your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. But to you, your appearance seems so shameful that you don’t want to be seen by anyone. For example, I was always so self conscious about my stomach or mid section in high school. Now, I am a 29 year old woman, and over a decade later I look back at these photos where I am so very thin, covering my stomach with my arms in most pictures. This disorder is often seen with those of us who have dealt or are dealing with ED.
- More about B.D.D.
Below I have made a list of Coping Mechanisms or things you can use to counter act eating disordered behavior and feelings by turning to something positive. I gathered links around the web I thought would be most helpful.
- Boost your self-esteem by becoming involved in activities that interest you. Discover your passion!
- Share your Art
- Chat with supportive friends who share in the struggle.
- Make a list of positive affirmations. Pick one, look at yourself in the mirror (or not, if you are uncomfortable with that) and say it morning and night for a few days. Watch for improvement, and continue for progress. The affirmation will gradually change things for the better!
- Walk your dog or play with you cat. Animals or pets are great therapy! I highly recommend having a pet that suits you and fits with your lifestyle if you are able to do so. They can really bring comfort and companionship. Plus, their love is unconditional.
- Make a list of the things you like about yourself or positives. They do not have to be physical attributes. For example, I am a kind, loving person, I am a great mom or friend, or I am a talented artist etc.
- Make a list of compliments and recognitions you’ve received over the years. It may be hard to think of them at this time, but you can record them as they come to mind.
- Tell your parent, husband, partner, or friend that you love them-reach out for help. Don’t hide your pain-feeling is healing!
- Make a list of what you are grateful for and keep it someplace visible.
- Take time to read an excerpt of chapter of an inspirational book that will help you along the way to Recovery.
It is important to seek professional help if you or someone you love is affected by an eating disorder. They can be lethal. Below are some options:
Consulting with a Nutritionist
Seeing a doctor and psychiatrist
Considering the idea of medication to help recover. Some people are open to looking at the medication options to aid in treatment, like an anti-depressant for improvement. Others are not. If you aren’t, its always going to be there! 🙂
If things get too far out of control and you just can’t seem to handle it, calling a crisis line could be the answer. This is probably the best Hotline to call in the United Sates. Check out their awesome website! You will most definitely find something beneficial.
National Eating Disorders Association
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, Monday to Friday
I personally recommend to stop weighing for a while. I was told by a nutritionist who is also a therapist that not keeping a record of the weight number aids in recovery. It did so for me.
Remember: Do not compare yourself to others. We are all unique beings, and all on our own personal journeys. You have something this world needs or you would not be here. As long as you are breathing with a beating heart, your mission has not been carried out. So, try and let go. Life is waiting on you. You deserve to be happy!