While getting professional help is typically critical to recovery for those suffering from an eating disorder, there are also a number of steps people can take to help themselves cope. It is very important to develop a network of supportive people that can help one deal with the disorder. Finding ways to develop and focus on a positive body image can make a difference. Eating disorder self-help should also typically include developing a healthy eating plan and sticking to it. Participating in pleasant activities that make the person feel good and also avoiding known triggers can help patients stick to their treatment plan.
One important strategy to use for eating disorder self-help is building a support system. Having trusted friends, family, and other supportive people available that will encourage the person and help him or her deal with hurdles in treatment is typically much easier than trying to do it alone. These people should also be willing to give honest feedback and help the sufferer focus on staying positive and healthy.
Another good tip for eating disorder self-help is developing strategies that help promote a positive body image. Most people with eating disorders are focused on what is wrong with their weight and appearance, with societal standards of beauty often exacerbating the problem. Therefore, it may be helpful for them to focus on their own positive qualities by listing them out, wearing clothes that make them feel good about their bodies, and recognizing when they are thinking negatively and questioning it. They should also typically avoid weighing themselves or looking at magazines and other media that promote unrealistic body images.
Healthy eating is a critical part of eating disorder self-help. It is important to develop good eating habits, without dieting, and a schedule that one can stick with. This will not only help the person get to and maintain a healthy weight, but will also help to keep him or her from going back to previous negative eating behaviors.
As too much focus on negativity can encourage a sufferer to resort to disordered eating, he or she should find ways to stay positive. Engaging in activities that make him or her happy, such as participating in an enjoyable hobby, exercising, or reading a book, not only helps keep a positive outlook but also helps limit free time, which might lead to a relapse. One should also strive to avoid people or situations that are known to trigger disordered eating.