Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

When you have an eating disorder, taking care of yourself can help you feel better during and after treatment and help maintain your overall health.

Try to make these steps a part of your daily routine:

  • Stick to your treatment plan — don't skip therapy sessions and try not to stray from meal plans.
  • Talk to your doctor about appropriate vitamin and mineral supplements to make sure you're getting all the essential nutrients.
  • Don't isolate yourself from caring family members and friends who want to see you get healthy and have your best interests at heart.
  • Talk to your health care providers about what kind of exercise, if any, is appropriate for you.
  • Read self-help books that offer sound, practical advice. Your health care provider may recommend some helpful resources.
  • Resist urges to weigh yourself or check yourself in the mirror frequently. This may simply fuel your drive to maintain unhealthy habits.

Coping and support

It's difficult to cope with an eating disorder when you're hit with mixed messages by the media, culture, and perhaps your own family or friends. Whether you or your loved one has an eating disorder, ask your doctor or therapist for advice on coping and emotional support.

Learning effective coping strategies and getting the support you need from family and friends are vital to successful treatment.

Prevention

Although there's no sure way to prevent eating disorders, here are some strategies to help your child develop healthy-eating behaviors:

  • Encourage healthy-eating habits and avoid dieting around your children. Family dining habits may influence the relationships children develop with food. Eating meals together gives you an opportunity to teach children about the pitfalls of dieting and encourages eating a balanced diet in reasonable portions.
  • Talk to your child. Because there are numerous websites that promote anorexia as a lifestyle choice rather than an eating disorder, it's important to talk to your child about the risks of unhealthy eating choices.
  • Cultivate and reinforce a healthy body image in your children, whatever their shape or size. Talk to them about their self-image and offer reassurance that body shapes can vary. Don't criticize your own body in front of your children. Messages of acceptance and respect can help build healthy self-esteem and resilience that will carry children through the rocky periods of the teen years.
  • Enlist the help of your child's doctor. At well-child visits, doctors may be in a good position to identify early indicators of an eating disorder. They can ask children questions about their eating habits and satisfaction with their appearance during routine medical appointments, for instance. These visits should include checks of height and weight percentiles and body mass index, which can alert you and your child's doctor to any significant changes.

If you notice a family member or friend with low self-esteem, severe dieting, frequent overeating or dissatisfaction with appearance, consider talking to him or her about these issues. Although you may not be able to prevent an eating disorder from developing, reaching out with compassion may encourage the person to seek treatment.

Feb. 12, 2016
References
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