I’m writing this because I need it.
Because I still struggle with eating disorders. It’s a life long battle and I know that.
But I also know it gets better. Because after over ten years of living with eating and anxiety disorders, I’ve experienced it all. Whether you’re actively seeking help to overcome a binge disorder or you’re a seasoned vet who just had a hard day and fell back onto old habits, here are some things that help me move forward in a healthy way:
Tell Someone Who Loves You
This. It’s the first step and the hardest step because part of what gives binging its power is that it’s a secret. A dirty, nasty, shameful secret that you don’t want to tell anyone because if you don’t tell…you can just pretend it isn’t a problem. Binging can be triggered by so many things: a stressful event, boredom turned sadness, loneliness, the list goes on. The binge is already being used as a shield to hide from whatever is causing it—so shine light on it. Tell someone who loves you that you had a binge and you’re feeling crappy now. Tell them they don’t have to say anything but you just needed someone to know. Whenever I share the fact that I binged, it doesn’t matter what the other person says: I immediately feel a weight lifted because I know that I don’t have to hide from my problems or behind my mistakes. I can admit I did something that didn’t make me feel good and it paves the way to taking more actions that DO make me feel good.
2. Figure Out the Root
Was it a bad day at work? A nagging stress that finally came to a head? A picture on social media that just made you feel less-than? Literally all of those things have driven me to into the arms of my eating disorder. And I’m sure in the future, those things will again. IT HAPPENS. But knowing what your triggers are and ways to avoid them drastically limits the likelihood of it being the same event, over and over again. So grab a pen and paper and write down what’s going on in there; being honest with yourself about the real reason helps refocus your mind from feeling guilty or upset about bingeing to truly dealing with whatever your trigger was.
3. Treat Yourself Like Your Best Friend
This is one of my favorite rules and one that my best friend constantly reminds me of when I try to overcorrect after a binge. I’ll always say something like, “I just won’t eat today!” and her response is, “Would you EVER tell me to do that if I were in your shoes?” Of course not. That’s insane. You don’t need to punish yourself for binging. Would you tell someone you love that they don’t deserve to eat because they were upset and fell back on their eating disorder??? Only an jerk would do that. So don’t be an jerk to yourself. Remember, you are worthy of love and you can treat the next day like you would any other, no self-inflicted punishment required.
If you struggle with eating disorders or anxiety disorders that show up through binging, purging or a combination of all of the above, don’t hesitate to get help. I'm a staunch advocate for BetterHelp, a secure, online service that connects you with a professional counselor or psychologist for a flat monthly fee. I’ve used it during very stressful times in my life and walked away with the behavioral and mindset tools that keep me mentally healthy for the long run! If you’re actively struggling with any of these issues, please check it out!