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How To Overcome Anorexia: A Survivor's Guide

Updated on August 4, 2014

It's a constant fear of relapse. Watching weight is bittersweet; lower numbers bring contentment and panic. How much is too much? If people are so worried, why do others tell me I look good? It's a lack of control over the mind, body image out of whack.

I previously wrote a Hub about my experience with anorexia when I was a freshman in college. It was a confusing but life-changing event that affected the way I looked at myself, the strength of my relationships with others, and the way I would think about eating for the rest of my life. To say the least, my life wasn't the same afterwards, and I can see that now especially.

I think I had a brief relapse for a bit in the past month. For me, it's very easy because I'm disciplined, competitive, busy, and kind of poor. There were a lot of events that came together and led to that flitting condition.

For one, I am very busy with my current job. Eating well is difficult, and I would rather eat nothing than eat carb-filled junk all day. Certainly I don't mind some cake now and then, but I can't live a whole day on Cheez-Its and graham crackers. Additionally, my job doesn't pay much, and as I am a money-saver, I would prefer to save my money than spend it on expensive food, which is most of what there is around my workplace. Plus I'm going on my first big vacation this summer, and since it was pretty expensive, I'm trying to cut back on going out to eat.

Also, the Bay to Breakers race is coming up in San Francisco. It's one of the biggest races in the nation, with 22,000+ people in attendance. It's supposedly Sports Illustrated's top events for sportsy people to do before they die, and I'm looking forward to it! However, it requires a little bit of practice before just doing 8 miles, and so I've been running a little more than usual. It throws me out of whack because I hate eating at night, but I get really hungry when I exercise more. I don't know if I should eat or not. How pathetic to not know how to eat.

Additionally, my old fraternity is having a formal dance at the end of the month. I'm looking forward to seeing my old friends - and wearing my favorite pink dress. However, I've found that the dress has gotten too big. In fact, when I go shopping for clothes, I find that I'm looking for XS shirts or teeny pants when I used to be Medium. That kind of freaks me out.

However, there's nothing worse for an anorexic than the prospect of having to gain weight.

With all of this said, I'm trying to do what I can to make sure there are no more doctor's visits or emergency eating sessions. It's kind of a weird thing to make a list of tips about, but if anyone out there is struggling, here's what I have to say from my experiences:

  • Just eat. It can suck at times, but it's better to lose a little than to lose a little while you're already skinny.
  • Speak with others. This doesn't mean listen to the people who tell you, "You're looking really good!" Talk with the people who know you the best - a parent, a best friend, a partner - and let them know how you're feeling. It's likely that they will tell you something that you don't want to hear, but really take the time to¬†analyze where they're coming from and what their interests are. It's important to have another point of view.
  • Get the facts. When I first became anorexic, I didn't know much about it - only that it's what people have when they don't want to eat. I didn't know the science behind food and eating, or the psychology around it, or symptoms, and neither did my family or friends. I just stopped eating, which in fact is not the best way to lose weight. I learned more about nutrition, eating, exercise, and more. For instance, it's good to eat a bigger breakfast, smaller lunch, and smallest dinner... eating late is not good. Balanced meals are best, not just fruit and vegetables (remember the food pyramid). Exercise is also best in the morning, not at night; it keeps you awake, and morning exercise allows for a boosted metabolism for the rest of the day.
  • Don't compare yourself to others. Everyone is not you. Others have different constitutions and body types, metabolisms, etc. Just because someone else is skinny doesn't mean that's the way you should be.
  • Don't resent help. Most likely, people are only trying to help. At first, I thought people were saying what they were saying because they were jealous. What a petty thought.

Thanks for dropping by this Hub, and if anyone has any questions, please comment or message me.

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    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR

      glassvisage 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      Sophi, keep educating yourself, but I warn you that I did the same thing about making excuses like "at least I'm not below...". My body ended up getting the best of me and my hunger brought me back to "normal." Please let me know if you have any questions and if you feel like you need help!

    • profile image

      sophi 

      6 years ago

      my mom keeps telling me i should eat... and that i look really good now... i really miss my pudgy belly and being tubby. but i'm really struggling with just eating on my own. i've always had an uneasy relationship with food... things just stop being food for me and i can't even force myself to swallow something that was my favorite food the week before. but recently i've started weighing myself and keep finding easy weight-loss goals in "at least you're not bellow ###" comments. now i'm just starting to educate myself on what's happening to me.

    • profile image

      jasper420 

      6 years ago

      great tips very usefull I have sufferd from this for years I have been in recovery but I recently feel myself slipping back into old habbits that old state of mind Im in my first relashonship since recovery and it hasent been easy your hub has had a seruois impact on me im so glad i took the time to read this thankyou

    • LailaK profile image

      LailaK 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Amazing as always! Thanks for the great advice! You are a life-savior, glassvisage!

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR

      glassvisage 

      7 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you all for your comments! Blue-moon-baby, your blog was wonderful - great information!

    • profile image

      blue-moon-baby 

      7 years ago

      I'm trying to overcome anorexia as we type and it gives me hope to know that people have managed it because sometimes it seems so impossible. I, too, am blogging about my efforts and if it would help anyone else, feel free to check it out at todayiatechristmascake.blogspot.com

    • profile image

      A  

      7 years ago

      I really needed to read that. I think I have anorexia, but I'm not even sure how to start overcoming it. So thank you for posting this.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Excellent info in here. I hope to link this to one of my Hubs. Hope this is fine by you.

      Best Wishes, Elena.

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR

      glassvisage 

      9 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you all for adding to this Hub and helping to help others. Sometimes it's just nice to know that you're not alone :)

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 

      9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I too am a recovering anorexic. During the four years of college I was way too under weight, but today I probably weight more than some people would like. However, I am healthy and happy, so if they do not like the way I look, so be it. I would rather eat and feel alive than starve myself like I did back in the day. My family is great though and they talked me out of this abusive behavior of subsisting on barely any calories.

    • C.S.Alexis profile image

      C.S.Alexis 

      9 years ago from NW Indiana

      This is a really difficult thing for me to imagine since I love to eat so much. it freaks me out to think how dangerous it is for so many. I wish you the best of luck and encourage you to share often. Highest Regards in your courage.

    • DynamicS profile image

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thanks for sharing glassvisage. It sounds like you have the necessary information about anorexia. I suppose that it is very challenging, but keep on doing the things that work. You are worth the effort. My thoughts are with you.

      I have checked out a few of the suggessted links. It is an education for me. About 6 years ago, I suspected that one of my daughter's friend was inducing vomiting. I tried to talk to her about but she denied it and I started crying. I was no good about it; I was too emotional. I saw her last summer and she said that she always remembered how concerned and devastated I was when I thought that she was bulimic. She said she has since sought help and is coping with the disease.

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