There are a couple things to keep in mind…

  1. People are not numbers. A weighing scale is useful, but not if it determines how we feel emotionally. No number can grasp the range of traits, talents, information, virtues, opinions, worldviews and physical beauty that come together in an infinitely complex manner to form who we are as people. Is it not irrational to base how we feel about ourselves on a little number, one that fluctuates no matter what?
  2. How we look on the outside does not say anything about the quality of our character on the inside.
  3. We are stuck with ourselves. Instead of being unhappy when looking in the mirror, rejoice! That is the unique “you”. Switch that attitude around!
  4. The human body loses muscle and water before it loses fat. Going on a diet that involves starvation leaves us weaker, malnourished, unhealthy. Such starvation might involves skipping meals, which ultimately shocks the body into slowing down metabolism.

Starving yourself leads to…

  • Impaired mental concentration
  • Significant physical weakness
  • (Oftentimes) eating much more after letting yourself eat again

Not just that, but diets do not ultimately help

  • 95% of people who go on diets, regain the weight they lost within one to five years
  • Dieting perpetuates depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety
  • Everyone’s body has a different point of weight at which it is most healthy.

Instead of dieting…

  1. Try to wait until you’re genuinely hungry before eating
    1. This can be quite alien to some people
  2. Eat what you want
    1. Try to aim for
      1. Nutritious food
      2. A balanced diet
      3. A tasty treat on occassion
  3. When you’re full, stop eating

Knowing the amount of calories, sugar, and fat in some foods on occasionally usually doesn’t hurt. It gets bad when every bite is accounted for in numbers. Calories give us energy. We need about 25% of our calories from fat.

Similarly, regular exercise is healthy. But the drive to lose weight in this manner can literally take over one’s life. If it’s absolutely essential every day, if everything else revolves around it, if a missed session creates significant panic, if important social activities suffer substantially due to exercise, there may be a problem.

If you have an eating disorder, it may be helpful to ask yourself a few critical questions…

  1. Does this really make happier?
  2. Is this the best way of putting your talent and energy to work?
  3. Are you working with your body, or against your body?
  4. Is the time spent engaging in these dangerous habits worth losing time doing other things, such as volunteering in the community, visiting a family member, writing, or learning and practicing a new hobby?

When a “thin” thought invades your mind…

  • Look in the mirror and say something positive about yourself, not negative
  • Re-read and add to the things your like most about yourself
  • Find and interact with supportive people, those whom make you feel strong and pretty
  • Binge-eating disorder, like all eating disorders, is unlikely to be resolved without the help of mental health professionals. But there are things one can do, which might help
    • Ask about the least damaging, most helpful, form of exercise for someone in your unique position
    • Maintain a healthy amount of social exposure, especially regarding your close friends and family
    • Get tested for vitamin and mineral levels
    • Eat breakfast
    • Put physical space and barriers between you and binge foods
  • Anorexia nervosa
    • Try not to look at yourself in the mirror
    • Try not to weigh yourself
    • Keep to a healthy meal plan
    • Get tested for vitamin and mineral levels
  • Bulimia nervosa
    • Try not to look at yourself in the mirror
    • Try not to weigh yourself
    • Keep a healthy meal plan
    • Get tested for vitamin and mineral levels
    • Don’t isolate from your close friends and family members
    • Ask your provider about an appropriate type and duration of physical exercise for you
    • Research your illness
  • Obesity
    • Outrageously, obesity is not officially considered a mental illness, as other eating disorders are
    • Take medication as prescribed
    • Learn about obesity
    • Distract yourself and practice self-control when confronted with triggers (things that make you want to eat)
    • Record food intake and exercise
    • Stick to your treatment plan, and if it’s not working, tell your provider to come up with a more effective plan
    • Spend time around close friends and family
      • Communicate to them how much you want to lose weight
      • Ask for their support
    • Make small changes, and set small goals, at least in the beginning
      • This reduces the risk of being unable to lose weight

Your body is to be respected, even honored, but at least adequately fueled.

Sources: nationaleatingdisorders, Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach