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What One Thing Can You Do to Heal Your Eating Disorders?

Obviously there’s not just one thing to do to end your food problems. We all know that eating disorders are complex and connected with many aspects of life. However, there is often one action you could take that would have more impact on your recovery than other actions. What is that one act for you? Here are some examples.

  • Clients often don’t want to tell anyone about their eating or mental health problems, but sharing your secret may be the most powerful step you can take to begin healing. Yes, I know the thought makes you cringe, but that’s the whole point of this behavior. You’re scared because you’re ashamed, and telling someone—the right someone who is kind and compassionate—is exactly what’s needed for you to lift the shame and begin to replace it with self-compassion.
  • Many people have difficulty stopping dysregulated eating because they're under tremendous stress in a relationship: their husband is abusive, their wife is cheating on them, their adult child lives with them but refuses to get a job, or their mother is so intrusive and demanding that they have no life of their own. Leaving the husband, confronting the wife or adult child, and setting firm boundaries with the mother would all reduce ongoing stress which may drive dysregulated eating and other unhealthy behaviors.
  • If you’re in a dead-end job or one you hate, you’re likely unhappy. Going to work every day and getting little or no satisfaction is a major trigger for mindless eating, both in and out of work. Sometimes, to regain some smidgeon of happiness or sanity, it’s better to bite the bullet and leave a job which is mind numbing or stressing you out. That may generate financial or other stresses, but often may be a move in the right direction.
  • Clients are often reluctant to join or attend group meetings, which is exactly what they need to do to move recovery forward. They insist they hate groups, are too shy, have nothing to say, or don’t want others to know about their problems. They give me a gazillion reasons why they can’t possibly join, say, an eating recovery group, Alanon, or a support group to help them deal with a parent who has Alzheimers. And I tell them that if they’re going to refuse help that’s out there because it makes them uncomfortable, they’re unlikely to get better.

    What one action could you take that would be a major step forward? It’s something that you know in your heart will be helpful, but you’re scared to do it. Maybe it's something you’ve dreamed of doing, but have put off. One step. Find the courage to take it.