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How to Cope if You Want to Become Anorexic
Anorexia Nervosa is a serious eating disorder that can kill you. If you are trying to cope with the onset of anorexia, then seek help from a mental health professional such as a therapist. As you seek help, there are several things that you can do to cope with your feelings.
Improving Your Body Image
Recognize that anorexia is often the result of other negative emotions.The desire to be thin may be a result of anxiety and destructive thinking. It sometimes is hereditary, but it's important to recognize that these thoughts will damage your body image and your body.
- Negative emotions that you might experience may include sadness, anger, nervousness, insecurity, and others.
- You might have noticed that you have an intense fear of gaining weight and an intense desire to lose weight. These feelings are symptoms of anorexia. Try to remind yourself that these thoughts are from the disease.
Stop yourself from comparing your body to other people’s bodies.When you find yourself admiring other people’s bodies and comparing their bodies to yours, try to stop and think about what you’re doing. By doing this, you are acting on an impulse driven by insecurity and anxiety, an impulse that’s produced by anorexia. Recognize it for what it is--disrupted thoughts and feelings fueled by an anorexic thought process.
- When you catch yourself judging other people’s bodies or comparing your body to theirs, force yourself to stop. Instead remind yourself you should accept others, no matter what their body type, and to accept yourself as you are.
- Think about your friends and family. They come in all shapes and sizes and you love and care about them all. Your love for them does not have anything to do with their size and neither does their love for you.
Steer clear of pro-anorexia websites and other unhealthy internet content.The internet can be an excellent source of accurate information, resources, and support for those with eating disorders. But it also contains unhealthy, damaging, and triggering content that can reinforce poor body image and drive unrealistic expectations. Avoid these unhealthy sources to help yourself cope with your feelings.
- Even your social media outlets may contribute to your feelings. You may want to reduce your exposure or avoid social media altogether for a while.
- You may also want to avoid visiting fitness websites and applications because these can also be triggers for some people.
Identify the things that are making you want to become anorexic.You may be tempted to become anorexic or engage in behaviors that lead to anorexia because of unhealthy images of body types, eating habits, and situations that promote extreme thinness. Learning what makes you want to become anorexic is essential to learning which situations you need to avoid.Some questions that may help you figure out what is causing you to want to become anorexic include:
- Do you have a group of friends who obsess over how many calories they consume? If so, these friends may be influencing you. Try to spend less time with them or ask them not to talk about calories so much.
- Does a family member often make comments about your body or your weight? Or did they make comments to you while you were growing up? Comments like these and any bullying you experienced is important to identify and discuss with a counselor. You may also want to talk to them about it and explain how it makes/made you feel. You should also let another family member know about this so you have someone on your side.
- Are you constantly reading fashion magazines or watching shows that focus on thinness? If so, take a break from these images for a while. Keep in mind that these images have been Photoshopped and these girls donotlook like that in real life.
Seek out friends with a healthy body image and diet.Your friends’ attitudes toward food and their bodies can impact your own eating habits and body image. Try to find people who have positive self-images and healthy attitudes toward food and weight and spend more time with them.
- Loved ones can also be helpful in reframing your attitudes about food and your body. If a loved one voices a concern that you are too thin or unhealthy-looking, then you should listen and take it seriously.
Try to avoid situations that trigger your urges.Try to limit your exposure to unhealthy situations, and think about how you can spend your newfound time. If you are involved in a hobby or exposed to an environment that is making your anorexic behaviors worse, then it might be time for a change.Choose to do something that is positive for you instead.
Relax.If you have anorexic tendencies, then you probably have a high level of cortisol, which is a stress hormone.When you are anorexic, you may be obsessed with being perfect, having control, or hiding insecurities. Being obsessed with these things causes significant amounts of stress. To help counteract stress, take some time to relax every day.
- Pamper yourself. Get a manicure and pedicure, go for a massage, or spend a spa night at home.
- Try yoga or meditation. Both of these activities have shown to reduce stress.
Changing Your Thinking
Realize that "fat" is not a feeling.When you feel “fat,” you may be dealing with another emotion that you have associated with feeling fat. It'sthatemotion that you need to tune into.
- The next time you get that “fat feeling” for no good reason, take a step back. What emotions are you feeling? What situation made you feel this negative way? Who were you with? Try writing out your answers to these questions as often as possible to look for patterns.
- For example, you might notice this feeling whenever you spend time with a certain person or when you are having a bad day. Use this information to change your environment and see if that helps you feel better about yourself.
Remember that no diet can control your emotions.Anorexia isn't just a severely restricted diet. It's an attempt to combat a larger problem. Following a strict diet may make you feel like you are more in control and this may give you a sense of accomplishment.But any happiness you feel by limiting your food intake is masking a deeper problem.
- Look for more constructive ways to gain control of your life. For example, you can cut back on stressful activities or responsibilities, work on managing your time in a more efficient way, and get help for things you don't understand.
- Try to find other ways to feel happy. Do things that make you happy such as engaging in your hobbies and spending time with friends.
- Try to look in the mirror and give yourself a compliment every day. For example, you could look at yourself in the mirror and say something like, “Your hair looks really pretty today.”
Challenge your negative thoughts.Get into the habit of replacing negative thoughts with a positive ones. Every time you notice that you are thinking something negative about yourself, try to turn it into something positive. For example, if you notice that you are having negative thoughts about the way that you look, think about something you are grateful for. This can be as simple as being grateful to be alive, having a place to call home, or being loved by your family and friends.
- You can also make a list of your good qualities. Include as many items as you can think of, such as your talents, skills, achievements, and your unique interests.
Be realistic about what anorexia will do to your body.Another way to get your mind off of wanting to become anorexic is to take a look at what happens to people who become anorexic. Between 5% and 20% of people with anorexia die.If you become significantly underweight, you may:
- develop osteoporosis (brittle bones that break easily)
- be at risk of heart failure due to the damage caused to your heart by anorexia
- be at risk of kidney failure due to dehydration
- experience spells of fainting, fatigue, and weakness
- lose the hair on your head
- have dry skin and hair
- grow an extra layer of hair on your body (to keep warm)
- develop bruises all over your body
Seek help no matter what.Anorexia looks different for different people. You may restrict your calories, purge, or do both. No matter what your anorexia looks like, you will need to get help.
- Even if you just find the idea of anorexia somewhat attractive, seek help now. A physician, psychologist or even a mentor can talk you through this. Anorexia isn't healthy or at all desirable.
- If you are suffering from anorexia, seek hospitalization or therapy. You'll get professional help to get over this and make it through.
Talk to a role model.Although you might be tempted to keep your attraction to anorexia or anorexic behavior secret, it is essential that you tell a trusted friend or family member, preferably someone older. Turn to someone in your personal circle who does not criticize his or her body and does not follow a strict diet. Sometimes an outside perspective can make all the difference.
- Discussing your concerns about your own body weight and self-image with a loved one can help you work toward improving your expectations for a healthy body and weight. This makes your battle less isolating and keeps you committed to making progress against anorexic tendencies.
Discuss your concerns with a health professional.Request a physical or ask to discuss your weight and body image with a doctor or nurse practitioner. Inform him or her of your intense thoughts about restricting food intake and losing weight and ask for advice and help.
- Select a practitioner who is committed to helping you avoid or beat anorexia. If your first attempt at finding a helpful practitioner fails, search for someone who will remain involved and help you develop a treatment plan.
- In some cases, dietitians may be excellent resources and may have more time to discuss your progress than regular physicians.
- Stick to your treatment plan and track your progress and discuss any deviations you may make from the treatment with your healthcare provider.
Ask about therapeutic methods to avoid behavior that leads to anorexia.If you have already begun eating habits that lead to anorexia, you may require vitamin and mineral supplementation or intravenous nutrition. Discuss counseling, support groups, exercise and anti-anxiety strategies, and proper meal planning with your healthcare provider.
- A mental health professional can be good for this, too. Not only will they be able to talk you through what you're going through now, but they can help you fight the reasons for the urges in the first place. They may also be able to prescribe medication.
- Discuss an appropriate weight range for your age, sex, and height. Everyone is unique, but your healthcare provider can offer advice for a healthy and realistic weight range for someone with your characteristics.
Create a structured plan to avoid anorexia and build a better body image.Your doctor or psychologist can help with this, too. Consider taking up art, journaling, yoga, meditation, nature photography, volunteering, or another daily activity to regularly commit to focusing less on food or losing weight and more on well-rounded health.
- Try choosing a mantra that reinforces a healthy body image and realistic expectations based on your size and body type. Write this mantra in your journal and recite it to yourself every morning. For example, you may want to choose something like “Food nourishes my body and makes me strong.”
- Commit to an eating plan, too. Promise yourself (and your doctor) that you'll eat three healthy meals a day. If you don't do this, you'll be letting yourself and your doctor down. Have a reward set up for yourself when you eat right.You may also want to always plan to eat with someone and have a conversation with them during your meal to distract you and help to reduce your anxiety.
- Track your progress and get regular support or feedback. Take note of the success you achieve in learning new things, trying new activities, overcoming your negative self-image and learning to appreciate and recognize healthy body types.
Call an eating disorder hotline.If you do not have access to a health professional or if you prefer to first discuss your concerns over the phone, contact a national helpline. Here are a few useful numbers that can put you into contact with someone who can help:
- KidsHealth for Parents, Children, and Teens: www.kidshealth.org or (+1) (904) 697-4100
- Mental Health America: www.mentalhealthamerica.net or 1-800-969-6642
- National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders: www.anad.org or (+1) (630) 577-1330
- National Eating Disorders Association: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org or 1-800-931-2237
- Beat - Beating Eating Disorders: www.b-eat.co.uk or 0845 634 1414
QuestionCan I call an eating disorder hotline even though I haven't been diagnosed?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you can. Eating disorder hotlines do prefer to have the medical advice of a doctor, but you can talk with advisers without the information.Thanks!
QuestionCan someone still be anorexic without appearing as thin?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, they can. Eating disorders are probably 90% mental. If you feel you are obsessed with food, body image, losing weight or anything having to do with weight, diet, and exercise, you may have an eating disorder. Anorexia is a mental illness that usually drives people to severely restrict their caloric intake, usually only allowing low-fat, low-sugar, and low-calorie foods. This can be extremely damaging long-term and is very unhealthy. This can lead to weight loss (usually very rapid and unhealthy) and in some cases, people will die from this. It is not good.Thanks!
QuestionI'm obsessed with food, yet I try not to eat. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is common for anorexics to be obsessed with food. If you deny yourself something, it's all you can think about. You have to eat. There are serious health consequences at stake. I would advise you to talk to your doctor or a counselor about this issue. It is a mental health problem and should be dealt with as such. It may not seem that serious to you now, but if you don't get help, chances are it will get worse. In the meantime, try eating several small meals throughout the day if you can't force yourself to eat a lot at one time. Stick with healthy foods that will give you energy, like protein, whole grains, etc.Thanks!
QuestionCan overweight people have anorexia? If they can, is it still as dangerous for overweight people?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, it will just take them far longer to get to the outwardly obvious physical appearance of anorexia. It is just about as dangerous - the mental disorder and emotional suffering is the same, and the malnutrition from starving yourself is the same. The only thing that's not the same is that you aren't dangerously underweight, yet.Thanks!
QuestionI'm 15 and I weigh 73 pounds. I get bullied at home and school because of it, and I have asthma. Whatever I eat irritates my body and I puke. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerVisit a doctor and check for allergies. Your weight is nothing to be ashamed of, but failing to take care of your body is.Thanks!
QuestionIf I go to a doctor and he says I don't have anorexia, what should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAnorexia is not only about the way your body looks, but is also something mental. You can be overweight and have an eating disorder like anorexia. The doctor should help you, or at least refer you to a mental health professional, even if you don't look anorexic.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I do if no one thinks my anorexia is serious?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerKeep looking for help. Go to a psychiatrist or counselor and talk about your problems. When it comes to your mental health, no issue is trivial.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do if I always feel fat, even when I'm not?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI feel the same way. You are not alone. When I feel sad or insecure, I feel "fat," it's just an association and how you process that emotion. Try to tell yourself, "I'm not fat, I'm feeling..." and then name the emotion you're feeling. Consider keeping a journal about your feelings or, even better, talk to a mental health professional about your feelings and some effective techniques for changing these thought patterns.Thanks!
QuestionI'm pretty sure I'm not anorexic, but about twice a week I won't eat. Am I anorexic or not?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDo you feel compelled to skip eating on those days? Do you feel like if you don't skip meals on those days that you'll get fat? Or is it more like you forget to eat because you're busy? It all depends on your intentions. If you feel like you NEED to refrain from eating twice a week, you could definitely be on the road to an eating disorder.Thanks!
QuestionIs there a way to be skinny like an anorexic but not have the other side effects of anorexia?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHealthy eating and cardio helps burn extra fat. But realize that some fat is important for having a healthy body, especially for girls. Also realize that wanting to look anorexic can suggest an unhealthy perspective and place you at risk for developing anorexia. Speak to your doctor or dietician about developing a healthy lifestyle diet plan.Thanks!
- Learning to hold realistic expectations for body size and learning how to construct a healthy, balanced meal plan can be essential to avoiding anorexia and embracing a positive lifestyle.
- Other consequences include tiredness, emotional turmoil, depression, and infertility. Infertility can last for a year or it can last forever. It also stops you doing things you love eg. trips and sports. Talk to someone you know you can talk to. The voice in your head is lying to you and you need to break free of its hurtful words. Remember size doesn't matter and no matter what people love you because of who you are, not what you look like.
- If you believe a friend or loved one has symptoms of anorexia or another eating disorder, encourage him or her to visit a health professional as soon as possible for an evaluation.
- Anorexia Nervosa can be deadly. If you frequently restrict calories or exercise excessively or if you have unrealistic expectations for your body size, you may need professional help to cope with this illness.
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