First of all, some numbers.
The average life expectancy of a person in the UK is 81.5yrs and the average duration of an ED in the UK is 6.5ys. So in terms of a percentage of your life, it’s 8%. That’s less than the equivalent of one hour a day. What these statistics give us hope. For the vast majority of people, the ED is a blip in an otherwise healthy life. In fact, nearly 80% of people with ED improve considerably, especially those with support.
When I was doing my training, the first time that I worked in an ED out-patients clinic, I didn’t know what to expect. I was really surprised to find that everybody was doing exactly the same things I used to do before I learned that I didn’t want to lose weight and that diets are not the way to do it even if I did.
Calorie counting, purging through exercise, weighing my food, filling up on very low-calorie foods, and when I found it too difficult to stick to, experiencing the guilt and shame that came with “failure”. Now, I didn’t have an ED and I
Diet culture is why.
And this type of magazine above fuel the fire. It is not just this magazine though, I’m unfairly picking on this one because I particularly hate that it’s called “women’s health”. When I think of women’s health I think of things like how to prevent
I mean look at
Diet culture makes it very hard to trust ourselves and our bodies. Your body says you are hungry but diet culture says you have “had enough”. You really fancy a sandwich but diet culture says carbs are not allowed. Your friend wants to meet for dinner but it’s a fast day, and so on.
I want to empower you to trust yourself and your body to make good decisions about food.
|“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”|
I love the quote above because it’s true. And although it’s difficult to be positive all the time, having some things that help you get back on a positive track is a good plan. Motivating aphorisms that you can refer to when you are having a bad day and feel like a failure, can sometimes be just enough to remind you of how strong you are.
Three Ways to Eating Disorder Recovery Empowerment
- Listen to the right people
Recogniseyour strengths and weaknesses
- Set yourself goals
These three things are, I think, the most important. I said that I wanted to empower you to trust yourself to make good decisions about food, but trust has an element of knowledge that you are doing the right thing. So this first one is really important. If you want information about food or health or your eating disorder, go to a qualified professional and check their credentials. Journalists, bloggers, friends, family, people on forums and message boards are not necessarily qualified professionals so please be discerning about what you listen to. If you have got your information from an evidence-based qualified person then you can be pretty sure what they are saying is of good quality.
The second one is really important for empowerment because it helps you to nurture your confidence. If you give yourself credit for the things that you have done well, you will give yourself a little boost. Identifying your weaknesses can also build confidence because forewarned is forearmed. For example, if you know that a friend or family member or particular social situation leads to you making bad decisions about food, knowing that – and planning for it – can help you avoid the problem, which in turn can empower you.
And the third one. If you are trying to get somewhere, it helps to know where it is! Set yourself achievable, measurable goals to aim for. For example, you may set yourself the goal to not be swayed by media projections of what it is to be healthy and happy. If you then walk past a copy of Women’s “
If you are struggling with any kind of eating disorder recovery, please, please get help. In the UK the IAPT service provides free access to talking therapies on the NHS; Beat is an ED charity with a wealth of information. In the US the National Eating Disorders Association is a great resource. I also love some of the podcasts available now. One of my
Most important of all, know you can do it. The numbers are on your side!