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Michael J. Prince, B.A., Psychology
This Page is for those seeking treatment for eating disorders.
Suggestions for Seeking Recovery
- Seek Professional help.
- Tell at least one good friend of the problem.
- Go to the local bookstore, library, internet to read about the condition.
- Through journal writing and therapy, increase self-awareness of feelings and needs.
- Develop constructive strategies for coping.
- Learn and practice assertiveness.
Suggestions for Normal Eating
Not only is it important to deal with underlying issues causing the eating disorder, it is also important to work towards developing a healthy eating pattern. Many people are afraid to start eating, fearing they won't be able to stop. This won't happen. Beginning to eat normally takes time and it should be done slowly and reinforced so that you don't start to panic and lose control. Your ultimate goal will be to learn to eat 3 non-dieting meals and 2-3 snacks per day.
- If you are anorexic, try eating 6-8 small meals per day. Small meals will be easier to eat than 3 normal meals. Small meals won't leave you feeling so bloated and full.
- If you are bulimic or a compulsive eater, try eating 3 non-dieting meals and 3 snacks a day. Try to eat them at the same time each day. You may find it beneficial to follow a meal plan in the beginning so that you will know what you are eating in advance. Don't allow yourself to eat more than planned. Eating more could lead to feelings of "I've blown it," and may cause you to binge or purge.
- In the beginning try to avoid foods that tend to trigger a binge or cause you to much feelings of guilt after eating. Later on you can re-introduce those foods into your meals.
- Throw out your scale!! Scales will only sabotage your goal towards healthy eating.
- After eating, try to distract yourself with an activity you enjoy.
- Stop counting calories!! Counting calories will prevent you from eating normally. Concentrate on what normal eating really is.
- Start living one day at a time and one meal at a time.
- Sometimes it helps to think of food as medicine. You may not want to take it, but it is necessary for you to eat it, in order to recover.
- Remember that the voice in your head is lying to you!! You need to do the opposite of what it tells you. If it tells you not to eat, go against it and eat. By doing this, you will be able to start taking back the control the eating disorder has over you. Many people believe that if they don't eat, they are the ones in control. The reality is, if you don't allow yourself to eat, the eating disorder is the one controlling you.
- If you exercise excessively, try to slowly cut back.
- In the beginning practice "mechanical eating." This means to eat your meals at predetermined times, whether you are hungry or not. The physiological mechanisms that signal hunger and fullness may not be functioning properly. In time, these signal will return, allowing you to know when you are hungry and full.
- Remind your constantly that NO food will make you fat, as long as it is eaten in moderation.
- Stop buying "diet" foods!! Buy foods that you would like to eat, don't buy them because they are low in calories. Here again is a constant society advertisement on the packaging in your house. Distance yourself from such nonsense and reminders of an unattainable world. It is fantasy and death.
Alternatives to Binge/Purging
The urge to binge can be caused by many different things. You may have had a stressful day at work, had your feelings hurt, or maybe feeling lonely, etc. Whatever the reason, it's important that you have a plan to prevent the binge from taking place. A good idea would be to make a list of "Things to Do," to help prevent you from binging. Keep the list(s) handy so that they can be accessed whenever the urge to binge arises. Here are some alternatives to binging that may be helpful for you, or make your own list that fits your particular situation.
- Call a friend or your therapist and discuss what is happening to you.
- Go for a walk or leave the environment that is tempting you to binge.
- Write in your journal about how you are feeling at that moment. Try to identify the trigger and location of the binge feelings. Prepare your journal so it can be shared with your therapist.
- Try to get your mind on something else. Watch Television, read a book, puzzle, internet.
- Sit down and try to figure out the real reasons why you want to binge. This is best done while the binge feeling is present.
- Take a bath to relax or try some deep breathing exercises.
- Make a list of foods you are planning to binge on, seal them in an envelope and throw them away or burn it.
- Soak the binge food in water.
- Put on some of your favorite music, shut yourself in your room and dance and sing to it with your eyes closed.
- Go to a church or chapel.
- Visit a friend or relative.
- Do some crafts with the children.
- Pamper yourself (polish nails, fix hair, give yourself a massage, etc.).
- Take a yoga or stress relieving class.
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