Real talk: 7 coping mechanisms for disordered eating

Welcome to week 3 of the real talk series! Last week, I wrote about finding a balanced relationship between food and my body. If you missed it and would like to read it, you can find it here. Today I want to talk about 7 coping mechanisms for disordered eating.

Old temptations

Although I’m in a much better place now, there are still times when I feel tempted by my old habits. If I have prolonged weeks of eating foods that are less healthy than others and I feel my clothes tightening, I consider counting calories until they loosen again. When I see a new detox in Holland and Barrett, I hover, reading the labels, curious to know more. When an ad pops up online: “LOSE BELLY FAT IN 7 DAYS” I imagine myself thin and toned, ‘beach body ready’.

I’m strong enough now that when I’m presented with these temptations, they don’t really feel like temptations at all. I laugh at them. I laugh at myself for giving them more than a seconds thought. Once you embrace body positivity, it becomes easier to no longer engage in diet culture. I’m by no means saying its easy – it’s just easier. Here are some habits that I practise to keep disordered eating tendencies at bay.

7 coping mechanisms for disordered eating

  1. I don’t weigh myself anymore.
  2. I set myself goals to add qualities, not take them away. For example, I don’t work out because I want to drop a dress size. I work out because I want to be stronger and increase the weight on the bar.
  3. I listen to myself and my feelings. When social media starts to bother me, I delete the app and take a few days to re-balance.
  4. I understand which foods I can and can’t keep in the house. In an ideal world, no food would be off limits but I’m just not quite there yet. Instead, I go to a coffee shop and buy something in a smaller portion.
  5. I exercise regularly. My entire mood will plummet if I go too many days without active movement. Recently, my yoga challenge has really improved how my body feels during the day, regardless of whether or not I’ve done high intensity exercise.
  6. I embrace the ‘bopo’ movement. Body positivity is for everyone and really helps you to appreciate yourself and your worth.
  7. I allow myself to over-indulge from time to time and I try not to shame myself afterwards. If I’m craving biscuits, I’ll allow myself to buy biscuits. I make sure its my favourite flavour and I enjoy every mouthful. As usual, I feel sick afterwards from all the sugar but I just try to drink lots of water and move on.

I’ve shared these habits and behaviours with you not because I’m preaching them as a fool proof way of fixing yourself, but because maybe there is something there that you haven’t tried yet. Maybe just one of these 7 coping mechanisms for disordered eating might improve your lifestyle even just a tiny bit. If I could help at all, it would make me very happy.

In next week’s edition of the real talk series, I’m going to be talking about how diet culture is the problem, not you.

If you’re struggling with your relationship with food, contact BEAT Eating Disorders service for support.

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  1. This is honestly a great list which I am going to print out. I’d just started the deleting apps when I feel bad and it’s really helped. It’s nice to come back when you’re in a better mindset.

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