Anorexia (“Anorexia nervosa”) is a an eating disorder which should be taken seriously, because its long-term consequences are very undesirable for the individual living with it. As such, the advice presented below should by no means be taken as a medical or scientific solution to the problem and should not substitute seeking the help of a professional.
This article just tries to present a few suggestions to deal with anorexia that have worked for others struggling with it. The important thing that should be mentioned is that these suggestions come from other anorexia sufferers themselves, so perhaps their insight and past experiences will help, if not as a singular solution, at least as a complementary aid to other efforts.
1. Change your environment
Many past or recovering anorexics say that moving to another residence, city or even country has helped them greatly in dealing with their eating disorder. And changing your environment is not only about the location. It’s wider in scope, like changing or enlarging your circle of friends and acquaintances, picking up a new hobby (and sticking with it!) to even apparently small changes like a new and different than usual set of clothes. The idea behind this advice is that by making these changes you can maybe break the negative pattern and routine that brings you back to your old habits of not eating and worrying about your weight. And trying to adapt to a different environment also requires pouring your time, energy and focus into that instead of self-analyzing.
2. Socialize away your meals
One component of anorexia is often a form of fear of food and/or eating so as to not become “fat”, despite the fact that this fear of gaining weight is totally unfounded, since the person in question is clearly underweight. As this contradiction and irrational assessment of reality lies exclusively in the anorexic’s mind, he/she is greatly challenged in seeing things as they really are and therefore cannot even begin to fight back, let alone fight effectively. The solution? Bypass the lonely battle altogether by calling your friends as allies. If you choose to eat out, among people who make you feel comfortable and good, you will focus less (or preferably not at all) on the daunting task of eating and the associated concerns and just… eat while simultaneously enjoying a night out with friends and their jokes, interesting subjects etc.
3. Get a pet
Taking care of a living, growing being just like you, but one that has a raw connection with the animal needs of the body is a great way of helping yourself deal with the needs that your body has, and which surprise, surprise, are also derived from the animal foundation that supports your complex human self. That is because a dog or a cat will inform you (insistently!) when it is hungry and they won’t psychoanalyze this need. Their insistence will also be regular through the days, which might force you to adjust your own need for food to a rigorous, routine schedule and understand it better.
4. Physical exercise
One of the best things that you can do, according to many who have been in the same place as you, is to start exercising your body regularly. Pick a sport or some form of activity that involves regular, consistent movement and effort for prolonged periods (anything from yoga to yard work…). There are many reasons why this is important, as scientific journals have confirmed and keep regularly confirming that exercise brings a wealth of advantages for the body. But the most important in the case of anorexia are that: 1. it will release endorphins, which make you feel good, which in turn should relax you and calm your over-analyzing brain; 2. achieving goals (no matter how small or how gradual) will boost your confidence, which you could translate to gradually achieving your victory against anorexia in a similar fashion with set, achievable objectives; 3. working out has been shown to make the body start balancing out its internal mechanisms ranging from the circadian rhythm to the release of the hunger hormone; 4. the effort you spend during your work-outs will most probably make you feel hungry enough (yet content with the results) to finally eat and enjoy it and as your strength and mobility grow you might find this pleasing and want more.
However, as anorexia has associated health problems, you should consult a doctor before embarking on this prolonged exercise journey and at each work-out/training you should definitely NOT push too hard. Take it easy and very gradually, there’s no one pressuring you and no time attack.
5. Iron will
Probably most important, don’t give up when you encounter obstacles or even face a set-back. They are natural in absolutely every domain from artistic performance to pure theoretical mathematics. The reason why we, as a species, admire individuals who excel at something is because we see not only the brilliant and amazing end result but also the steep and arduous climb to that spot. Punctuated by plenty of falls, dusting-offs and continuation of the climb. As well as plain old stagnation on a ledge where no more progress seemed to be possible. It’s the perseverance and dogged determination that we find inspiring. The awesome result is just a side-effect of this iron will. Which is what will take you from where you are now to where you want and can most certainly be.