Look in any Phoenix newspaper or drive around and look at the signs in the windows of so-called “health food stores” you will see countless advertisements signs talking about “diets that work” or the next miracle that will help you lose weight.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy, but if you suffer from some type of eating disorder, diets are not really the answer for you. The primary goal of most advertised diets is to get thinner, which is completely different from getting healthy. In fact, dieting for many of our clients, becomes a big hurdle to overcome when they tackle and heal from their eating disorders.
In her book, How to Love Your Body: and Have the Body You Love, actress and model Yana Gupta explained her personal battle with an eating disorder, saying, “So you can have a diet book that teaches you how to lose weight, but it will never be enough if you can’t look in the mirror and like yourself. That’s what my eating disorder taught me. How we eat, what we eat, and the way we look, it all happens in our head.” *
In other words, if you have a deeply-ingrained negative self-image, no amount of dieting (or perceived control) is going to fix that.
How Do You Let Go of Dieting if You have an Eating Disorder?
If you know that diets don’t serve you, then perhaps it’s time to give them up forever. This may not be easy and for those with eating disorders. In fact, it may require some professional help and guidance. Once you realize that your size and shape are not the real issue, you can start looking for ways to get healthy that are not driven by the arbitrary dictates of a restrictive, ultimately futile diet. After all, don’t we all want to feel good and be happy? Here are some tips to get started on giving up dieting forever.
- Concentrate on your HEALTH– Talk to a nutritionist or eating disorder professional and find out what “healthy” should be for you as an individual. We don’t believe that size or weight charts are truly indicative of health (in fact, you’ll find several studies that agree with us). You may need to find a physician that will be able to recognize health at various sizes. Please be wary of folks that reference BMI and other commonly accepted forms of health measurement, as these tools are not always accurate.
- Don’t Do it Alone–Get the help you need from professionals who specialize in treating someone with an eating disorder. Counseling, therapy, nutritional guidance, and ongoing support can help you set and meet your goals. It’s not easy to break dieting habits that you’ve used for most of your life. But in the end, these habits do not serve you.
- Focus on Movement and Mobility–No matter what size you are, moving your body in an enjoyable way is an excellent way to get fit, have fun, and feel good about yourself. Movement is all that is required – no gym membership is necessary. Walking, swimming, dancing, and riding a bike are not usually thought of as “exercise”, but they will keep you energized and help you combat the depression and anxiety that often co-occur with an eating disorder. If you are moving for the “right” reasons, this can really contribute to your overall health and well-being. If you’re “exercising” for dieting reasons or if exercise is used as part of your disordered eating, this probably will not serve you well.
Quitting the dieting roller coaster may be more difficult than you know. Support is available. If you or someone you care about has an unhealthy relationship with food, get the help you need with Empowerment Therapy & Counseling, an outpatient recovery program specializing in the treatment of eating disorders in the Phoenix area.
Through intensive-yet-supportive, therapy, counseling, and nutritional support, the professionals at Empowerment Therapy & Counseling can help you regain your own sense of self-worth. Regardless of where you fall on the eating disorder spectrum, recovery is possible.
*Empowerment Treatment & Counseling does not endorse this book or it’s content.