Eating disorders often show up in the early to late adolescent years, and you might have been struggling with yours for a long time. Alternatively, you may have recently developed an eating disorder in response to the stress that you deal with as a young adult. Dealing with an eating disorder in your 20s poses a few challenges since there are so many social events that revolve around food, and there’s definitely pressure to always look your best. These tips will help you handle your challenges so that you can regain control over your eating habits.
The guilt and shame that you experience as a result of your eating disorder may cause you to delay seeking help. The most important thing to understand right now is that your eating habits are not your fault. Like other mental health disorders, you might not be able to control your impulses on your own. Whether you are struggling with binge eating disorder or anorexia, stop beating yourself up over your actions. Instead, recognize that you have a challenge to overcome, and be willing to reach out for help.
Enroll in a Treatment Program
Handling an eating disorder often requires professional help. During your inpatient eating disorder treatment, you will meet other people who also struggle with the same relationship with food. Being around people who understand what you are going through helps to lift the clouds of shame so that you can begin to feel free enough to talk about your issues. With intensive counseling, you can uncover some of the reasons why you engage in your eating patterns along with strategies to help.
Learn to Recognize Your Triggers
You might have been able to control your eating disorder for brief periods of time but then fell back into old patterns. This is called a relapse, and they usually occur when you are exposed to something that triggers your eating disorder to fire back up. One of the things that you will work on in treatment is figuring out what your triggers are. For some people, it is stress, and you may need to be extra careful if you have an event coming up that requires you to look a certain way. Others may need to avoid social media. Learning what to avoid or when to seek extra support will help you maintain your healthy eating habits.
Create a Network of Support
You need to have people around you who understand. Identify several people who can help you when you struggle with a trigger. Professional counselors, a support group, and your family are all people who can stand by your side as you navigate through the events that you face in your 20s that affect your eating disorder.
The realization that you need help with an eating disorder may leave you wondering what to do next. Reaching out for help is the best way to get control over your habits so that you can live your best life.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan