Anorexic people have a wrong image of their body. Even though they restrict their food intake to the point of disease or malnutrition, they still look very fat. Preventing anorexia can be a constant struggle for someone at risk of developing this eating disorder. People at risk might have a close family member (such as a mother, sister, or brother) who has suffered from anorexia. It is also a common problem in those who manifest perfectionist tendencies. To avoid this disorder, it is important to improve the vision you have of your body and establish a healthy relationship with food.
Develop a positive image of your body
Focus on yourself. Society tends to give great importance to appearance, to the point of neglecting the other qualities of a person. A great way to build your self-esteem is to think about all of your strengths. Make a list of all the qualities that describe you as a person. Also remind yourself of how others have praised your personal traits in the past. Don’t forget to include these compliments on the list.
Post the list on the bathroom mirror so that every time you start to criticize your physical appearance, you can immediately correct this behavior by focusing on the qualities you have in other areas of your life.
Highlight the positive features of your body. It’s not about pointing out specific aspects of your appearance like having a thin nose or firm thighs, but rather drawing your attention to how amazing the human body is regardless of appearance. For example, you can identify the amazing abilities and functions that you can perform thanks to your body.
Every time you find yourself criticizing perceived physical flaws in yourself, try to correct yourself and say positive phrases like “My legs and arms allow me to do somersaults”, “My heart is so strong that it supplies blood to everything my body” or “My nose allows me to smell the beautiful flowers”.
Your body image of yourself will always be bad if you only focus on what you think you lack. Instead, you will build your confidence and self-esteem if you learn to appreciate the wonders your body allows you to do.
Be critical of the way the media portrays the body. Sociocultural factors present, through the media, what is considered in the West as the ideal beauty. In addition, opinions formed in local communities or cultures exert a strong influence on young people who develop negative views of their bodies.
Rebel and reject images on television, the internet, or magazines that show very underweight women and men idolized as having the perfect muscular body. Remember that these images are not true representations of the variety of human bodies that exist.
Don’t let your friends or family talk bad about their bodies. When you hear your mother, sisters, brothers or friends say that certain parts of their bodies are too big or not good enough, don’t let them continue. Tell them that talking bad about their looks is harmful behavior, and compliment them on something unrelated to appearance. For example, congratulate them on their amazing skills in a sport or for having the highest GPA in their class.
Dissatisfaction with your physical appearance is a warning sign of anorexia and other eating disorders. Reminding your loved ones of this will help them become aware of the problem and help reinforce a more positive view of your body.
Remind yourself that a certain body weight will not bring you happiness. If you spend a lot of time idealizing a certain body weight, you will begin to see it as the key to happiness and feeling good about yourself. This is an unhealthy point of view and can lead to anorexia.
Despite what the media highlights, there are no such thing as ideal body types . Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Also, no change or loss of weight will suddenly make your life more exciting or enjoyable.
If you think happiness is related to physical appearance, you might want to see a therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. This treatment is of great help to people who are at risk of developing eating disorders because it allows them to identify and modify irrational or inaccurate thoughts and beliefs.
Say goodbye to perfectionism. Researchers have discovered that there is a relationship between perfectionism and body dissatisfaction, a common problem in people with eating disorders. Consequently, you must get rid of perfectionistic tendencies and your need to control every situation if you want to avoid anorexia.
Perfectionism occurs when most of the time you are not satisfied with anything. You are very critical of yourself and your abilities. You put off tasks or do them over and over again until they meet your demands.
You can see a therapist to help overcome perfectionism. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps identify perfectionistic behaviors and find ways to develop healthier expectations of yourself.
Develop a healthy relationship with food
Stop demonizing certain foods. This may surprise you, but no food is bad . That’s right, there are foods that nourish the body with their supply of essential vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, there are foods that only give you empty calories and tend to be high in carbohydrates, fat and sugar. However, labeling them as bad can lead young people to deprive themselves of the tasty foods they enjoy and makes them more likely to overeat later.
All carbohydrates are not bad as many fad diets claim. These constitute an essential macronutrient for the body. In fact, complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains offer a lot of energy and fiber without the extra calories. Simple carbs like white bread, rice, and potatoes are processed in your body faster, giving you cravings for sweets soon after. That’s why you should only enjoy them in moderation.
When you deprive yourself of something, you deplete your willpower, which is a limited resource. And over time, it becomes difficult to stay away from the things you’ve forbidden yourself. The key to curbing endless cravings without breaking your healthy eating plan is to allow yourself a small amount of the foods you consider to be off limits. This will prevent you from overeating them later.
Anorexia that presents with binge eating followed by vomiting is a less common form of this disease. People who have it restrict their eating habits to the extreme and eat only very small portions of food at a time. After several bouts of deprivation, they may give in to a small slice of cake, a regular-sized meal, or a complete binge. But right away, they punish themselves by exercising hard or throwing up what they’ve eaten. The most common form of this disorder manifests itself through extreme food restriction without purging or binge eating.
Stay away from “diets”. Only 10-15% of people with eating disorders are men. Instead, the number of affected women is overwhelming. Women are also the ones who go on diets the most. Dieting can be dangerous, affect mental health and ultimately lead to an eating disorder like anorexia. So stay away from diets.
The bad news is that diets are rarely effective. Excluding certain food groups and eating a diet below the nutritional recommendations can cause various health problems. Statistics indicate that 95% of dieters regain their lost weight within 1-5 years.
As stated above, the two main reasons for diet failure are excessive restriction of calorie intake over a long period of time or deprivation of foods that you really like. Then, when you go back to your normal diet, you gain back all the weight you lost.
Consistent dieters are at risk for decreased muscle mass, bone deficiencies, heart disease, and a negative impact on metabolism.
Go to a registered nutritionist to learn how to follow a healthy and balanced eating plan. Wondering how you’re going to maintain a healthy weight without going on a diet? Consult a professional to help you design an eating plan based on your lifestyle and focused on your health, not your weight.
The nutritionist will determine your dietary needs based on your medical history and allergies. In general, you should eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins (such as poultry, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts), low-fat or nonfat dairy products, and whole grains.
It is also possible that the nutritionist will suggest that you consult with your family doctor to establish a regular exercise plan. In addition to eating a balanced diet, exercising will help you control your weight, prevent illness, improve your mood, and prolong your life.
Reflect on experiences from your childhood that influenced your eating habits. Ancient beliefs about food promoted poor eating habits. Think back to your childhood and try to remember the rules you followed regarding food. For example, maybe you used to be rewarded with sweets, and now you see these types of foods as ways to make yourself feel better. It’s likely that some of these rules have become ingrained in you and have affected your current perspective on food.
See a therapist about disordered eating patterns from your childhood that might have influenced your current habits.