How to Overcome an Eating Disorder When You Feel Lost

Unhealthy Relationship with Food. (Image Source: Shutterstock)

What is an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders are serious and sometimes fatal illnesses associated with disturbances in eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. If you have an unhealthy relationship with food, you may eat too much or too little food or obsess about eating behaviors and patterns. People with eating disorders use disordered eating as a way of coping with certain situations and feelings.

What is an Eating Disorder? │ Psych Hub
  • Eating very little food
  • Spending a lot of time worrying about food and body shape
  • Having strict rules around food
  • Avoiding social events if food is involved
  • Your weight is very high or low for your age and height
  • Feeling cold, tired, or dizzy

What are the Different Types of Eating Disorder?

It’s important to remember that eating disorders are not just about food but feelings. The way a person uses food to cope may make them feel more in control, even though they are unaware of that intention. An eating disorder is never the person’s fault, and anyone who feels like they need help deserves to access fast and compassionate support.

An Eating Disorder is Never The Person’s Fault (Image Source: Shutterstock)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Binge eating
  • Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders (OSFED)
  • Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
  • Rumination Disorder

3 Tips to Effectively Manage Eating Disorders

When it comes to overcoming eating disorders, approaching the problem head-on is the best route. That’s not to say it’s the easiest way at all. Anxiety, depression, childhood sexual abuse, and low self-esteem are risk factors for eating disorders. There’s so much more to managing an eating disorder than just changing your behavior. That’s why it’s so important to identify symptoms of an eating disorder so that you can find the support you need.

Approaching The Problem Head-On is The Best Route. (Image Source: Shutterstock)

1. Challenge Negative Thoughts

If you have an unhealthy relationship with food and experience an eating disorder, you are more likely to think negatively about body shape, weight, and eating. Some people refer to this thinking as the “eating disorder voice”; a “relentless” and “intrusive voice.” That inner voice can make people feel low and push them to restrict, purge, or binge even more.

Behavioral Changes are Crucial to Overcoming Eating Disorders (Image Source: Shutterstock)
  • Challenge the negative thought and replace it with facts.
  • Create coping cards and read them daily whenever you have a negative thought.
  • Label a thought as an “eating disorder thought” to defuse the thinking, so it’s easier to take another actionable step.

2. Engage in Self-Compassion

Sometimes the inner critic inside your head can feel so overwhelmingly powerful that you can’t hear anything else. The eating disorder voice is a loud one. By engaging in self-compassion, you can begin to shift that negative self-talk and focus on loving and being kind to yourself. Start to practice self-love and create an environment of compassion. Here are some effective tips for setting the tone for self-compassion:

Start to Practice Self-Love and Create an Environment of Compassion. (Image Source: Shutterstock)
  • Find a soothing touch.
  • Have a self-care break.
  • Take a step back.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Focus on your feet.

3. Seek Professional Support

There are different levels of treatment and help for eating disorders, from support groups and nutritional therapy to psychotherapy. It’s crucial that you speak to a licensed mental health professional if you feel like you’re experiencing signs of an eating disorder. Only someone who is qualified can provide an eating disorder diagnosis.

It’s Crucial That You Speak to a Licensed Mental Health Professional (Image Source: Shutterstock)
  • Outpatient and intensive outpatient treatments
  • Residential treatment
  • Impatient or hospital treatment
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)

How to Overcome an Eating Disorder and When to Ask for Help

The earlier you can detect an eating disorder, the higher the chance of recovery. That’s why it’s essential to be aware of early signs of an eating disorder. It’s important to know that there is no checklist for eating disorders. Often, individuals experience different symptoms, and the signs don’t always fit neatly into a category. If you have any concerns about yourself or a loved one, seek professional help and support so that you can approach the problem effectively and move forward one step at a time.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store



We’re a BIPOC-owned mental health and wellness company. We create expert-driven content specifically designed to help you become 1% better each day.