Making peace with food an breaking up with your disordered eating behaviors sound great – until you realize you have to get started somewhere. So, here are 5 tips how to get started with your journey!
1. Detox your social media
This is easy to get started. Since you want to change something in your life – it only makes sense to change the kind of content your feeding your brain with daily.
- unfollow accounts, that don´t serve your goals and do not make you feel good. F.e. persons you´re constantly comparing yourself with in a negative way.
- “tell” instagram etc. what you want to see and what not (disable content on your explore page): I recommend disabling “what I eat in a day”, calorie food charts, healthy food swaps, fitness content, thinspo, …
- find accounts that serve your goals and are helpful and empowering.
- do this at least once a month
2. Give your body constantly an adequate amount of energy
This one might be not that easy, especially when you are struggling with a restrictive eating behavior. But eating regulary and always enough is the key to get your hunger and fullness cues back, as well as it will prevent overeating later.
It is recommended to fuel your body at least every 3-4 hours. Especially in the beginning (whether you´re struggling with anorexia, bulimia or binging) you have to eat even when you are not feeling hungry yet. You´re goal should be to give your body all the control back. But to do so, your body needs to be able to trust you to nourish it unconditionally.
- mental restriction is restriction too (see point 3. “food rules”)
- any purging behavior will make your body mistrust you even more (exercising, throwing up, restricting afterwards)
- eating more frequently throughout the day keeps your blood sugar upright – less sugar-cravings and over eating later – saving calories for later doesn´t work anyways.
3. Identify and break your food rules
Here are a few examples, what food rules might look like – but they are different for everyone, so make sure to identify all of yours!
- eating only in a certain range of time (not before 9 am/ not after 6pm,…/ only every 4 hours, …)
- always choosing the lower calorie option/ the healthyfied option
- a sign of a hidden food rule could be feeling guilty after eating something
- cutting out food groups (sugar, baked goods, crisps, fried things, bananas,… literally anything you are trying to avoid)
- eating the same meal or food with no to little variation over and over again (f.e. same breakfast every day)
In order to make peace with food, you have to challenge yourself daily over and over again. Until you do not feel uncomfortable doing the opposite anymore.
It can be indeed very uncomfortable in the beginning – but the only way out is through. But it is also okay to actually enjoy breaking all your rules.
4. Connect with your body
Listen to your body: What feels good to eat, what doesn´t? Write down after meals how you felt afterwards. Criterias can be: digestion, bloating, fullness, satisfaction, taste,…) Also: What kind of movement feels good? What do you enjoy most? Every day can be different and there is no right or wrong.
But connecting with your body again also means giving it all the control back: Eating as soon as you feel hungry – even when you just finished a meal an hour ago and taking rest days – even when it is the fourth one in a row.
5. Seperate your worth from your body (weight)
Your body is just a shell for all the beautiful stuff like your interests, personality, tasks, abilities, memories,… When you´re getting a present: About what do you care more? The wrapping or the inside?
Eating disorders are coping mechanisms for underlaying issues. So, by changing your appearance you will not feel more worthy (SPOILER: you are already worthy, loved and absolutely incredible – no matter which size, shape and weight!)
“shift your focus from the outside to the inside”
I hope these tips gave you an idea, about how to get started with your journey and what you´ll have to master from time to time. Be patient with yourself. You probably maintained with your disordered eating for quite a while – do not expect to eat perfectly from the beginning on. It is a journey. And when you get lost, you can get back on track as soon as you realize.