For today’s post I asked people to send in their questions for me to answer concerning Eating Disorders as I thought I’d have a bit of a Q and A session (definitely not because I’d run out of post ideas… 😉 ) So here goes!
“If you had really disordered problems with eating but recovered before seeking diagnosis, would it be okay to refer to it as a ‘disorder’ or should you just call it a ‘problem’?”
Personally I would shy away from self-diagnosing and just call it a problem. That doesn’t mean that your struggles are any less valid, just that you can only really be diagnosed by a medical professional. That being said I did self diagnose twice and eventually doctors did officially diagnose me with what I’d said and so I do recognise that usually the individual has the best idea about what’s wrong with them. The reason I would avoid it though is a) you don’t want to be labeling yourself with something if it’s potentially not accurate because there can be repercussions to living with a label and b) there are some people who self-diagnose for the wrong reasons (I’m sure this isn’t you though).
“How do you deal with ED triggers?”
I think the best way to cope is by trying to rationalise. Thinking, ‘what has triggered me?’, ‘what about the trigger is it that’s specifically upsetting me?’ and then trying to work from there. Reminding yourself of all the reasons why you don’t want to go backwards and counteracting ED thoughts like ‘you’d be happier/better liked/more deserving if you were like that’ etc. with things like, ‘No I wouldn’t, I was just as/even more miserable at a lower weight’ or ‘I’m more than my weight, I’m not defined by numbers.’ Remind yourself of all the things you’d lose if you gave into the thoughts. You don’t just lose weight when you lose weight you lose freedom, happiness, ability to do things you love and so much more. And then just try and distract yourself the best you can and surround yourself with positive people/things as much as you can.
“After being discharged from hospital for an ED what are good ways to cope?”
Just keep accessing the support as an outpatient, recognising that it is going to be a big change and yes, it will be difficult, but that it will all be worth it in the end. You might be feeling like you’re suddenly on your own because you don’t have the 24/7 support but you’re really not. You’ll still be having, at a minimum, one appointment a week, probably a lot more, and you’ll have your family and friends around you who I’m sure will try and support you the best you can. You’ll also have a lot more freedom to do the things that you enjoy and hopefully this will give you motivation to keep going so that you can keep doing and enjoying them.
“How do I deal with weight gain and my body changing in recovery? I’m struggling to come to terms with it and it’s making me want to resort back to dangerous behaviors…”
This is a tough one because I know that whatever I say won’t make the uncomfortableness you feel in your body go away. But it honestly does get easier with time, you’ll start to notice the changes less as time goes on and things even out. Also, weight gain in recovery does sometimes go to specific areas because your body’s not used to it and doesn’t know if you’re going to keep gaining weight or not and so it prioritizes the weight gain in places that would protect your body the most (i.e. in places near your organs). But it does redistribute when you prove to it that you are going to keep gaining and it doesn’t need to do that. It doesn’t always do that all the time anyway, just in some cases.
I also think it’s important to remind yourself that if you resorted to those behaviours then it wouldn’t help. Maybe you’d lose weight but that’s not even guaranteed. Plus, even if you did then you still wouldn’t be happy (despite what your ED may be saying to you) and you’d just keep wanting more and more until you were back where you started from again. And every time that happens your body is put under more strain and it gets even more dangerous. You’d also have to go through the pain of gaining all over again and it’s really not worth it. And make sure to remind yourself of the logic, look at the numbers and how far away you are from literally being overweight (not from feeling fat because that’s a completely different thing) and try and rationalize with your head. And try and challenge the fear of ‘fat’ itself because it shouldn’t be as scary as it is whatsoever. But most of all just keep fighting. Keep battling on because the more you keep doing it the easier it will get, until one day you’ll realise all of a sudden, that you don’t even have to try anymore.
“Do you think fat acceptance is equally as bad as promoting eating disorders?”
Absolutely not. Fat acceptance isn’t promoting a specific body type, it’s not saying that people should look like that and that if you’re not fat then you should try and gain weight so that you do look like that – it’s simply helping people that are already fat accept and love their bodies. And they are allowed to love their bodies, despite what many people think. People could have so many reasons for being over weight, it’s rarely just over eating (and even if it does just look like over-eating then it won’t be as simple as just ‘greed’ there will be psychological reasons behind it) It could be that the person takes medication for an illness that makes them gain weight or any number of other reasons, it really doesn’t matter. Just because a person is fat doesn’t mean they should be forced to hate their bodies, they have to live in them 24/7 and saying that they shouldn’t be allowed to accept their bodies as they are is just contributing to fat stigma and shows that you’ve been brainwashed by the media and society. It is possible to be overweight and to be healthy. Obviously not all the time but some of the time. And who gets to decide what the definition of health is?
Fat acceptance is completely different from promoting eating disorders on basically every level, an eating disorder is an illness, being fat is not. Promoting ED’s is disgusting and inherently unhealthy on every level. Fat acceptance, not only is it not actually promoting anything, isn’t unhealthy. It’s just about everybody, no matter what body size, being able to love themselves. It’s not fair that we seem to put a size limit on self love and self acceptance.
And so I guess this is the end of another Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I hope you’ve enjoyed this week of posts and found them interesting and informative! I’m going to leave you now with these info-graphics with some facts and reminders.
You’ve got this lovelies, I’ll see you in a bit 🙂 And in between my posts on here please remember that you can always find me on Instagram, just click…here!