Eating disorders are something that is very common with a lot of people, even though they may not seem to be. But, they’re something that should definitely be taken seriously and it’s vital that you never feel ashamed to reach out if you’re suffering from one. As for those who think they know someone who could be, it’s important you never pressure them and you support them through the process.  

During the lockdown, this can be something that is even more difficult to go through and you shouldn’t have to face it alone. Always make sure that you reach out for help when you need it, it can be difficult having to be in this bubble during the lockdown and having to stay inside. Meaning you’re very focused on your eating disorder and the stress that comes with it and there isn’t really any distractions which makes it so much harder. As well, as the fact that those you live with might not be supportive, which is why if this is the case you reach out to a professional, remember there is always someone who will listen. 

Most common types of eating disorders: 

  • Anorexia- This can be to do with controlling your weight by not eating enough food, exercising far too much or doing both.
  • Bulimia- This is to do with losing control over how much you eat and then taking action to not put on any weight.
  • Binge-eating disorder (BED)- This is to do with eating large amounts of food until you feel uncomfortably full.

For other types of eating disorder, click here. 

silver fork and knife on plate

Symptoms: 

  • Anorexia- Missing meals, this can be eating far too little, exercising excessively, making yourself sick, lying about what you’re eating and how much you weight, have a very intense fear of gaining weight, not being able to admit your weight loss is serious, really strict when it comes to eating, depression/anxiety, seeing weight loss as something that’s positive.
  • Physical: Could have a low BMI, periods stopping, bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, headaches, problems sleeping, feeling very cold, dizzy and extremely tired, dry skin, hair loss and poor circulation.
  • Bulimia: Eating a lot of food in a short time, which is known as binge eating, making yourself vomit, using laxatives, exercising after you’ve binged, mood changes, very critical about your body and fear of putting on weight, depression/anxiety.
  • Physical: Faint, tooth decay, obsession overweight, red eyes, compulsive exercise, very dry skin and throat swelling.
  • BED- Eating even if you’re not feeling hungry, you might eat very fast during a binge episode, you feel more comfortable eating alone or in secret, feeling very depressed or guilty.
  • Physical: Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, muscle and joint pain, insomnia, gastrointestinal difficulties. ,

Some common signs for others to look out for, if you feel someone you know may have an eating disorder: 

  • A massive amount of weight loss
  • Eating a lot of food very fast
  • Avoiding eating with others
  • They might tend to wear more loose fitted clothing
  • Exercising way too much
  • Cutting food into tiny pieces
  • Eating very slowly
  • BED- eating food to quickly, store up supplies of food, put on a lot of weight

These are just a few common signs to look out for if you fear someone you know may have an eating disorder. It can be very difficult to know what to do and what the next step is if you’re worried someone you know might have one. The thing is they may not even realise they have it, or they might deny they have it which can make it very difficult. Don’t ever pressure them into telling you because this can make them feel a lot worse, understand they’re going through a lot and they’re struggling. Be gentle with them, let them know you’re there for them and that they can trust you and you’ll be there for them. If you do mention it, don’t be harsh about it, just let them know you’re slightly worried and that you’ll be there if they need to go and get help.

Make sure to think about what you say and make sure you’re fully informed about what you’re talking about. Be sure to talk to them in a place where you both feel safe and you won’t be disturbed, don’t make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t ever talk about it if either of you is feeling angry or upset, mention what is concerning you, try not to be angry at their answers. If they acknowledge they actually need to get help, then make sure you encourage them to do that, but never pressure them.

Here is a bit more information on the support side for eating disorders from BEAT.

person holding heart shaped red balloon

Self-help tips 

With the current state of the world, we’re still very much in a really uncertain time, we’re going through a lot of tough times and still see ourselves in lockdown. Fingers crossed, it won’t be for much longer and we’ll be able to go back to somewhat normality. But, there is definitely something that many have been struggling with throughout lockdown and that is suffering from an eating disorder. Which affects way more people then some might think, it can be extremely difficult to cope with an eating disorder. But, what can make it a lot harder is having to cope with one in lockdown, because unfortunately we’re all stuck in one place and you’re having to spend every day with the people you live with or perhaps you live on your own.

It can be such a tough time for anyone that suffers from one and it really does take strength to be able to pluck up the courage to be able to get help. It’s also important that if you’re living with someone who you feel might be suffering from an eating disorder, that you look out for them. Whilst, recovery is obviously the most important step and actually reaching out to get that help. There are some ways in which you can help yourself, ones that can be done whether we’re in a lockdown or not. But, of course, getting help is the most important aspect, you can keep talking about your problem with the people that love and support you, even though it may be very difficult. You could also surround yourself with people that support you and bring positivity to your life. Those that want to see you happy.

Joining an eating disorder support group can be really beneficial, especially as we’re in lockdown as they will most likely be taking it online and you can still get the help you need. They provide a safe environment for those who are suffering and give you a space to be able to talk freely, get advice and support from people who know what you’re going through. When it actually comes to getting the help you need, be sure to make sure to stick to what the professional says, stick with the eating disorder treatment plan and follow what they say. Make sure to do everything you can to be able to ensure your brain and your body are getting the regular nutrition they need to be able to recover.

Another tip would be to work out your triggers, sometimes in your life could be extremely tough and it’s important to realise what triggers you. It could be that you feel a lot more anxious about going out to eat with others. Avoid anyone that drains your energy, that tells you, you’re looking for attention, that doesn’t support you and belittles you, you don’t need that negative energy. But, sometimes you can’t always avoid them, so come up with a plan with your therapist or another health care professional to be able to think of a way you can protect yourself. Fill your days with activities that put a smile on your face, that makes you feel good, that distract you for a little while.

Learn to not beat yourself up, being self-critical is harsh on your mental and physical health as it is, it won’t help motivate you into recovery. It can increase feelings of shame and negativity and that’s not what you want. Make sure you’re putting your needs before others, you’re important too, you’re suffering and it’s important you don’t ignore how you’re feeling. It’s not selfish to do that at all and it’s important to remember that. Never be afraid to ask for help, because there is always someone out there who will help you through it. Plenty of self-care is important, make sure that you’re taking care of your mental health because this is vital. When recovery begins, you can work on ways that you can improve your physical health. Just remember that recovery is possible, believe in yourself and believe that things will get better.

For more on eating disorder treatment, click here. 

Call Beat on helpline: 0808 801 0677 or email Youthline for under 18’s: 0808 801 0711 or email on help@beateatingdisorders.org.ukStudentline: 0808 801 0811.

MGEDT (Men get Eating Disorders Too)  email MGEDT2018@gmail.com.

Call Eating Recovery Centre on 877-711-1690

ONLINE COUNSELLING IS AVAILABLE CALL 07510495791 OR EMAIL BECKYWHOCARES1@OUTLOOK.COM

If you’re looking for any online counselling or walk and talk therapy whether you’re a parent and you’re looking for your children. You yourself need it or you’re a student or anyone that is struggling at this time, then please do not hesitate to contact Becky. You can access contact details here. Check out the website for more information.

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