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Gaining Perspective When Facing Eating Disorders

Originally written by @SunFern
Edited by @peacefulHug92

(ED = eating disorder)

If we can recognize that we have a particular viewpoint of ourselves and our ED, it is easier to not only see whether its positive, but also change it if it is not. It is so easy to get caught up in our eating disorder, and fall into the cycle of simply listening to all the ED thoughts. Here are some ways to gain a different and more reliable perspective on your ED - to get yourself on the road to recovery.

1. Remind yourself that these thoughts are temporary

When you are able to step back and recognize that your thoughts and feelings are temporary and not going to be as intense as they are right now forever, then suddenly they lose some of their power.

Consider thinking about it this way... have you ever had strong eating disorder thoughts/ urges before and not given into them? If so, did the urge stay strong for hours, days, weeks? I'm guessing not. I'm guessing you found another way to cope and the thoughts and fears decreased.

Why? Because our emotions are temporary and, with time, these eating disorder fears diminish. This brings us to the second tip!


2. Accept thoughts and fears as they are

Can you accept that you are having these thoughts and fears and that it is... ok?

Yes, it is ok.

You don't have to beat them up, run away from them, or push them aside. They can simply be there. Sitting there in your mind. Trying to provoke you to action... but you don't have to get into that war.

Consider this metaphor:

Imagine you are out in the ocean and waves are swelling in front and behind you.

You could lean forward, bury your feet in the sand, and fight the wave. This may result in your being pushed back from your place.


You could allow the wave to swell, lifting you up from the sand and then bringing you back down nearly in the same spot where you were before.

In this way, by not fighting the thoughts, you win the battle.

3. Consider difficulties you have overcame in the past

I have had the privilege of counseling many people in the process of recovering from eating disorders, and I will say, all of them were able to acknowledge that they had overcome difficulties in the past.

As human beings, we encounter troubles, stress, relational problems, and lots of other difficulties. But, it is how you deal with these circumstances, not the circumstances themselves, that make the difference.

If you are currently struggling with strong eating disorder thoughts and urges, consider the fact that you have been able to overcome and cope with other problems in the past. Recognize that you have strength and are capable of getting through this. Use the support system you have in your life (i.e. your treatment team, loved ones, and friends). Use whatever has worked in the past. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, you have already been successful in the past. Apply your strength in your present struggles.


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