Eating disorders are dangerous, complex disorders that arise from a variety of issues. One of the best ways to prevent eating disorders in yourself and others is to adopt healthy attitudes and behaviors about body shape and weight. Here are eight tips from the National Eating Disorders Association (www.nationaleatingdisorders.org) on how to prevent eating disorders.
1. Get rid of the notion that a particular diet, weight or body size will automatically lead to happiness and fulfillment.
2. Learn everything you can about anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and other types of eating disorders. Genuine awareness will help you avoid judgmental or mistaken attitudes about food, weight, body shape and eating disorders.
3. Make the choice to challenge the false ideas that thinness and weight loss are great, and that body fat and weight gain are horrible or indicate laziness, worthlessness or immorality.
4. Avoid categorizing foods as ‘good/safe’ vs. ‘bad/dangerous.’ Remember that we all need to eat a balanced variety of foods.
5. Stop judging others and yourself based on body weight or shape. Turn off the voices in your head that tell you that a person’s body weight is an indicator of their character, personality or value as a person.
6. Become a critical viewer of the media and its messages about self-esteem and body image. Don’t accept that the images you see are the ideals you should try to attain. When you hear a comment of see an image that promotes thinness at all costs, talk back to the television. If you see a magazine advertisement or article that makes you feel bad about your body shape or size, rip it out or write to the editor about it.
7. Choose to value yourself based on your goals, accomplishments, talents and character. Avoid letting the way you feel about your body weight and shape determine the course of your day. Celebrate your body’s unique shape and size and embrace the natural diversity of human bodies.
8. Finally, if you think someone has an eating disorder, express your concerns in a forthright, caring manner. Gently but firmly encourage the person to seek trained professional help. If you have an eating disorder, don’t let it control your life any longer. Call an eating disorder rehabilitation center and find out how a residential treatment program can help you regain control over your life.
During residential treatment, you’ll receive 24/7 care that consists of a variety of therapies performed by an expert team of physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, nutritionists and other specialists. These therapies will help you achieve goals that include normal eating behavior, coping skills for stress management, personal confidence, understanding the root cause of your disorder, appropriate views of body image, improved relationship skills, treatment for co-occurring disorders, and relapse prevention and aftercare plans. You’ll also receive nutritional support and counseling to learn how to better take care of yourself in the recovery process and develop a healthy relationship with food and your body. Holistic treatments such as yoga, meditation, touch therapy, biofeedback and spiritual guidance may also be included to treat not only your body, but your mind and spirit as well. After all, eating disorders are more than just a physical illness; the root causes are often caused by mental, emotional and spiritual imbalances.
If you or someone you love has an eating disorder, stop the suffering now. Contact a residential treatment facility and start the healing journey today.