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Eating Disorders

“Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.”

What is Eating Disorders? (ED)

Common types of eating disorders are bulimia, binge eating disorder (BED) and anorexia.

  1. Bulimia

What is Bulimia? It’s classed as an eating disorder and can also have an impact on your mental health condition, it’s categorized as someone who binge eats and then makes themselves vomit or filters food from their  body using laxatives

  1. BED – Binge Eating Disorders

BED is defined as eating large portions of food all in one sitting until they feel uncomfortably full, this normally takes place when someone is feeling guilty or upset.

  1. Anorexia Nervosa (AN)

Question is anorexia and anorexia nervosa the same thing?

“Anorexia” describes a simple inability or aversion to eating, whether caused by a medical problem or a mental health issue.

“Anorexia nervosa” however is the name for the clinical eating disorder, the main symptom of which is self-starvation. AN is a common ED with the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric diseases.

Recovering can always be difficult but once you have a clear focus and a structured plan in place it isn’t that bad, actually it’s easy… So if you're ready to begin your recovery from bulimia, anorexia or any other eating disorders these tips can help you along the way and alone the way improve your true self-confidence.

How do I begin recovery from an eating disorder?

The very first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem otherwise your inner voice will tell you differently, that you'll remain unhappy and you won't be happy with your weight and you're worthless. With this mindset, you’ll never recover from an eating disorder, you need to build better happiness and develop better self-esteem in your life, you need to love who you are,  everything that is after taking place in your life and the behaviours you are after learning you can develop a powerful mindset to unlearn them. Having an eating disorder just doesn’t happen but changing things in your lifestyle can help you beat ED, and creating a safety mechanism to cope with emotional pain and most importantly rediscover who you are beyond your eating habits.

Steps you need to learn:

  1. Listening to your body.
  2. Listening to your feeling and emotions.
  3. Accept yourself.
  4. Respect yourself.

You are never alone in all this, it might seem a lot to tactical but you have any amount of help out there from helplines, online helplines, friends & family. Once you have a clear plan and you're mindset is structured you can break free from your eating disorder destructive pattern and enjoy what life has to offer.

Reach out for support

Once you have decided to make a change, looking for support is extremely important for your pathway to recovery. It’s very easy saying sure  “go get support” but for some, this could be embarrassing and people might feel scared asking for help for an eating disorder.

My tip is you need to seek help from someone who isn’t going to judge you and will listen & support you, maybe a family member or a close friend you trust would be the best choice. Then take your time and explain your situation. So pointers that might help you:

  1. Picking the right time and place - can be so important, this is your time to explain your situation and look for that support, have a clear mindset and take your time have your story ready.. Believe it or not, this is the hard part in all this, admitting you have a problem, pick some private and you won’t be rushed because it will be hard for you, but once you get it out you will relieve some pressure.
  2. Be patient – as soon as you tell your story you must release it might take the person time to respond, they might be shocked, helpless, sad, confused or even angry about the full story. You must allow time for your story to digest but they will support you after your telling them.
  3. Have a plan for the person how they can best support you – you might just need them for specific tasks like accompanying you to a doctor, so tell them what you would like them to do, that way they can put a plan together and support you in the best possible way.

Tip for you: Don’'t be afraid, have everything ready before you tell your story.

T/1: Learn healthier ways to cope with emotional pain

Eating Disorders is not all about the food, it can be a coping mechanism for depression, stress and other unpleasant emotions. You may refuse food to feel in control, binge for comfort, or purge to punish yourself. Breaking down this mechanism you have created is  the first step and find out what’s going on inside, things you must concern about,  are you depressed, stressed out over something, lonely, are you eating just to comfort yourself or to relieve boredom, once you have highlighted the problem you can then start working on areas to improve your well-being. Here are a few suggestions to get you started that I have always talked about in other topics.

  1. Wellness journal, creating one can help with your thoughts, write them down.
  2. Call a good friend around for a cup of tea and a chat.
  3. Walking, this is so powerful and can relieve so much pressure.
  4. Just getting outdoors for fresh air.
  5. Help with something around the house or someone else house it can help take your mind of the issue. 

Coping with Anorexia and Bulimia

Emotional Do’s and Don’ts




·Allow yourself to be vulnerable with people you trust.

·Fully experience every emotion.

·Be open and accepting of all your emotions.

·Use people to comfort you when you feel bad, instead of focusing on food.

·Let your emotions come and go as they please, without fear.


·Pretend you don’t feel anything when you do.

·Let people shame or humiliate you for having or expressing feelings.

·Avoid feelings because they make you uncomfortable.

·Worry about your feelings making you fall apart.

·Focus on food when you’re experiencing a painful emotion.



Adapted from: The Food and Feelings Workbook, by Karin R. Koeing, Gurze Books 

T/2: Develop a balanced relationship with food

Finding the right balance is so important in all this, most people will struggle with eating disorders and control when it comes to food, developing a healthy lifestyle is essential to your recovery, and here are a few tips:

  1. Rigid rules – are important but remember they can’t be rigid all the time, for example – desserts have been your downfall and you love them so much you had one or two each day, and now you have been asking to knock them on the head as part of your recovery program. That's going to be tough. So why don’t we put a bit of flexibility into it, each week you are allowed one dessert and it will be a Friday after your dinner? Now you have something to focus on during the week, stay away from desserts however enjoying one on Friday after dinner, doesn’t sound too bad.
  2. Dieting – maintaining that all-round balance is so important right now if you go full diet mode and the more you restrict food the more likely it is that you’ll become preoccupied, and even obsessed, with it. So the key is focusing on nutritious foods that are full of good nutrition that will help fuel your body and will energise you throughout the day.
  3. Regular eating – structuring your eating routine I tell people to break their meals into smaller meals, then you're eating all day and don’t be hungry, waiting all day for food and missing meals isn’t good because the only thing your thinking about is “food” plan ahead, good eating routine, and don’t skip meals.
  4. Cueing your body – learning to control your body can take time if you have an eating disorder because you have learnt to ignore your body telling you “I'm full” you need to find that signal within yourself and when it tells you to “stop I’m full” you listen to it, The goal is to get back in touch with these internal cues, so you can eat based on your physiological needs, not your emotions. 
T/3: Learn to accept and love yourself.

When you focus on one thing “how you look”  you're missing out an all the other accomplishments, qualities and abilities that make you that beautiful person you are, family and friends don’t love you for the way you look? Chances are that’s probably bottom on the list, they love you for the positive person you are, having that mechanism of how you look leads to low self-esteem and insecurity.

  1. Positive list – creating a poster, cue card that you can put on your wall, or just recording it into your wellness journal write down all the things you like about yourself, such as: are you funny, are you creative, smart, loyal, and when you have that list completed write down your qualities, your skills, and what your talents are and enjoyments are. You can read this over and over again and it allows your brain to paint good thoughts.
  2. Staying positive – something we can all put our hands up and say “yes” I problem did say something before and didn’t acknowledge I said it, joking about peoples weights and appearance instead of telling them “they look great” and don't focus on how they look or their appearance. And avoid spending time with people intent on judging others by their looks.

Important Tip – staying active, I try my very best to promote Physical Fitness daily and I just don't understand why people can’t get out for a few minutes to enjoy a walk/ run or a cycle,  staying active is good for both your mental and physical wellbeing. You’ll find once you get going how peaceful it can be. . Focus on activities you enjoy and do them because they improve your mood, not because they might change how you look. Outdoor activities can be especially good at boosting your sense of well-being.

T/4: Avoid relapse

Your work so far has to be congratulated, battling this can be extremely difficult but with good support from friends and family, you will see the finish line, during it all it’s important to take steps to maintain your progress and prevent relapse. Here are some tips that might help you:

  1. Wellness journal – this can help in so many ways, writing your emotions, beliefs and behaviours down and tracking your process each week is so important, you will notice a change in your writing and this could be you slipping into a negative pattern, you need to take action immediately.
  2. Finish it – following the plan till the end, it breaks my heart when I see people losing focus and changing the plan, if you are following a program stay with it till the last day. Even if you think “I’m getting better” I don’t need this anymore, your “wrong” keep it going till the end.
  3. Warning sign – you will have your difficult days and you need to have a safety mechanism for this in place, that won't let you slip backwards, this could be a friend or family member, but you need something in place to deal with that bad day.
  4. Positive enjoyment - having that enjoyment in your life is great, so make time for it, try something you always wanted to do but never could build up the courage, try get involved more at home or work, I love to develop my mindset in new areas of study. The more packed your life is with fun, rewarding things the less desire you’ll have to focus on your illness.

Last tip : if you do lapse it’s not the end of the world, remember if “you fall off the horse you get back up straight away”. The pathway to recovery can be long and hard and you will face setbacks but that’s life, building a strong mindset and learning to push away guilt and negotiate feelings is going to be apart of your recovery progress. And when things get tough we learn from them and the next time it happens we have a better system in place.

The number of people who are living with an eating disorder, including anorexia, binge eating, or bulimia are growing each year, one in four people  will struggle with mental health at some point in their lives. More than ever, people need a trustworthy place or support that they can turn to for help and guidance, families all over the world are struggling to help someone who has an eating disorder.

I hope this article helps and if you need any advice please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Tom Devereux.