Home > Coping > How to Avoid or Prevent an Eating Disorder

How to Avoid or Prevent an Eating Disorder

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 3 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Eating Disorders anorexia Nervosa

Eating disorders such as anorexia bulimia and binge eating disorder are most prevalent in countries and cultures which place a high degree of importance upon being thin and presenting an appealing image. Most people with an eating disorder feel that they are not as thin, and therefore as successful, as they would like to be and use their eating behaviours to either attempt to rectify this (by restricting calories and losing further weight), or find relief from this (such as by binging and/or purging). Unfortunately there are no cures for eating disorders, but there is much that can be done to prevent an eating disorder from developing.

Common Eating Disorders
The three most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa (anorexia) bulimia nervosa (bulimia) and binge eating disorder. Anorexia is an eating disorder in which an individual is terrified of gaining weight and so decreases the amount of food that (s)he will eat until (s)he literally begins to starve. Bulimics, in contrast, consume an excessive amount of food in one sitting and then purge by making themselves sick or taking laxatives/diuretics. Binge eaters eat excessively in one sitting, or eat constantly and excessively such as by “grazing” all day, but do not engage in any purging behaviours afterwards.

Although eating disorders manifest themselves in varying ways, the underlying themes are the same. Sufferers of eating disorders can not separate their emotions from their eating habits and this influences the way, and the amount, that they eat. Most often those with eating disorders feel overwhelmed by life, have low self-esteem and self-confidence and believe that they are physically unattractive and weigh too much (regardless of how much they truly weigh). Although those with eating disorders rely on their eating behaviours as a way of coping with these emotions, often, behaviours such as binging and purging bring further feelings of guilt, shame or remorse.

Preventing Eating Disorders
Maintaining a healthy balance and healthy outlook on life are the two key means of preventing an eating disorder. A healthy balance in life means that an individual is able to balance work/school and personal life, a healthy diet with occasional treats, and exercising for fun with an appropriate amount of rest and relaxation. A healthy outlook is such that an individual can recognise the “big picture”, that weight and appearance are just one facet of a person. What is more, maintaining a healthy outlook allows an individual to remember that (s)he has both strengths and weaknesses, but does not allow him/her to get caught up in flaws.

To this end, individuals who routinely express dissatisfaction with their work, their personality or their appearance should consider getting expert advice before these thoughts take root. Family and friends can help individuals stay strong and prevent an eating disorder by:

  • Praising an individual’s talents and strengths.
  • Listening to, and discuss, an individual’s thoughts, feelings and fears.
  • Supporting an individual’s hopes and dreams.
  • Reminding an individual that a healthy body, not necessarily a slim body, is best.
  • Encouraging an individual to explore hobbies in which (s)he shows an interest.
  • Helping an individual make new friends who are also supportive.
  • Barring unrealistic and unhealthy diets and excessive exercise regimes.
Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder often affect individuals with low self esteem and low self confidence, and who feel overwhelmed by life. These individuals often equate thinness and a pleasing physical appearance with success, so constant reminders that this is not the case go a long way towards preventing an eating disorder. Those who feel that they, or someone they know, could be susceptible to an eating disorder should contact their GP or a qualified mental health professional for further information and advice.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
The trim down club is website about how to eat foods in order to lose weight - whilst the information is very good and informative, i'm not sure it's helpful to have this advert on a page that is trying to help people with anorexia?
annac - 3-Feb-13 @ 6:19 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • dk99
    Re: Pica Disorder
    I've been having an addiction to washing powder since I was 3, and now I'm 21. Tide and Gain taste so good, it's like I'm on a high, but my throat…
    5 February 2019
  • Jaggas
    Re: Pica Disorder
    I eat everything. Walls, ceilings, skirting boards... my whole house has gone. I’ve got nothing left. Do I have a problem? Help
    4 February 2019
  • SkinnyRose
    Re: Causes for Eating Disorders in Older People
    I am 69, have difficulty eating for a number of reasons - dental problems, lack of motivation, difficulty…
    23 January 2019
  • Chapis
    Re: Pica Disorder
    When I was younger I use to chew on paper towels and after I would eat a cupcake I would chew on the paper it would taste delicious to me and did that…
    21 January 2019
  • Lola
    Re: Eating by Texture
    I hate slimy foods like over cooked tomatoes and onions or foods like rice when the rice has hard bits into them it makes me gag also over…
    17 January 2019
  • Landi
    Re: Eating by Texture
    I will be 37 in July... Since the age of 3 I've never eaten veggies or meat. It's affected my life and health in a massive way. My problem is…
    12 January 2019
  • Selena
    Re: Pica Disorder
    I been eating towel since god knows when like my mum kind of knows cause I pull the string out of the towels and chew them iv made like a hundred…
    10 January 2019
  • Tapping
    Re: Binge Eating Disorder
    Hi, I want to heal from my binge eating disorder as it has claimed so much of my life. I can only do online due to me living very…
    1 December 2018
  • Ruby
    Re: Pica Disorder
    I chew the paper towel cardboard holder, I don't swallow it I just chew until I can't anymore. Lately I've been having some really bad stomach pain…
    30 November 2018
  • Jazzy
    Re: Pica Disorder
    I've been eating ashes none stop Half my pregnancy I can't stop even thou I try to avoid it I crave all day when my dude buy black milds I smoke them…
    30 November 2018