- It’s not a choice. Professionals who work in the field would explain that it’s a “perfect storm”– that it’s a combination of factors, like environment, personality, other co-existing mental health issues, and other triggers. In fact, recent studies show that eating disorders can be genetic in that sense that other mental illnesses are, like depression and anxiety. While there’s no clear answer, I can tell you this: no one would ever choose the misery of an eating disorder.
- Recovery is NOT as simple as “just eating” or “just not purging.” Imagine your biggest fear. Now multiply that by 1000x and then imagine having to face it 3-5x a day. And while this is happening, imagine that there’s a voice in your head screaming negative things at you about your self worth, your body, your personality, EVERYTHING. “Just eat” doesn’t work, because all it does is suppress the true issue.
- It’s not about the food. (Well, it is). People with eating disorders use food to deal with their emotions. In general, we tend to suppress our emotions and use eating disorder symptoms (such as binging, purging, restricting, or exercising) in order to cope with the intense emotions we feel. We use food and our bodies to express how we feel.
- So much of recovery is about dealing with the underlying issues. That’s why things like treatment centers and support groups exist. As important as nutrition is, the real issues here that need to be dealt with cannot be fixed by simply ceasing to use eating disorder behaviors. The real issues are worked through by learning how to sit with, address, and deal with emotions.
- Recovery is a better option than being sick, but it’s also not all sunshine and rainbows. Recovery is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, and while my good days are much better than my sickest days, my bad days are still rough.
- Anyone can have an eating disorder. I’m sure you’ve heard this, but it’s a mental illness, NOT a body type. Just because someone looks fine does not mean they’re okay. Vice versa, just because someone looks a certain way also doesn’t mean they have an eating disorder.
- The best thing you can do to help a loved one/friend/family member with an eating disorder is ask them how you can support them. It’s different for everyone, and it might range from going to a support group with them to eating every meal with them to just sitting there with them when they don’t want to be alone. Eating disorders thrive on secrecy and lies– the more you ask how you can help, the more willing we’ll be to open up and talk.
And of course, can’t forget a recipe! I’ve been slacking on taking pictures, but here’s a new favorite lunch:
1-2 c lettuce + 1 cup black beans + 1 cup rice + 1 T salad dressing (balsamic is delicious) + 1 T nuts + ¼ c craisins + ¼ c parmesan cheese + whatever leftover veggies we have in the house! It’s filling, has all food groups from starches to fats to protein, and is super easy to make for lunch on the weekends or on the go at work!
Thanks for reading. ❤