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Advise for you, the sufferer

I would like to extend several helping hands to each and every one of you reading this page right now!

As I have been in your shoes for a great part of my life, I can relate extensively to how you are feeling right now!
It’s as if I am walking down this road with you, hand in hand.

Several factors which I found extremely beneficial to me, whilst I was in the midst of my road to
recovery were the following:

  • For once, don’t be concerned about what other people think or how they are going to react – YOU are your most paramount priority right now!
  • Stay clear of needy people. People who drain you from your strength and energy. At this time in your life, YOU need to put yourself and your own individual challenges first and foremost. Surround yourself with people who love you unconditionally. Are there for you if you fall, are supportive of your recovery. People who inspire and encourage you.
  • Stay away from all fashion magazines, as they will only make you feel ugly!.Remember that not even "Cindy Crawford wakes up in the morning looking like Cindy Crawford!" Before magazines are published, celebrities' photographs undergo extensive airbrushing with several professional specialists, to remove all imperfections. e.g. blemishes, cellulite, uneven skin tone, flabby skin, etc, etc. If reading about them causes you to feel inferior, then stop buying the lastest gossip/fashion magazine.
  • Become vigilant of what you watch on TV and monitor how your selected programmes and commercials make you feel.
  • Avoid mirrors.
  • Throw away your bathroom scale, especially if you weigh yourself excessively. (Every day or more) This will break the habit and mindset of becoming obsessive about numbers. Instead gauge your weight by how your clothes fit on your body and how they make you feel)
  • Become aware of your working environment. Is your job, the company or the industry extremely focused on one's physical image and how you look?
  • If the company's vending machine/canteen/school tuckshop are triggers for you. Leave your money at home to avoid temptation and bring a healthy "safe" meal to work/school instead.
  • Purchase a journal which you can write freely in, as and when you feel binging/purging urges
  • Stay clear of fad diets (you need to begin developing a healthy relationship wiht food)
  • Be cautious about being exposed to others' eating disorder stories. As they can sometimes trigger behaviours. (Expose yourself to uplifting, inspiring stories and talk instead)
  • Avoid casual chatter about regarding slimming, toningk smoothing, etc.
  • Shop in retail stores with natural lighting. A store which caters for realistic, real people. (And not size zero!) If retail shopping is too overwhelming for you, consider online shopping or shopping from a catalogue.
  • Get yourself a cuddly toy e.g. teddy bear, which you can snuggle up to when you’re feeling all alone or unloved.
  • Monitor the music you listen to - is it causing unrest and chaos within you? If so, play relaxing, soothing music which soothes and calms you.
  • Be vigilant about your friendships, especially any friends you may have who are presently suffering from an eating disorder themselves. If they assist you with your recovery, that's wonderful! However, if they are having the adverse effect on you whilst healing. (e.g. triggering certain behaviours) Then it's best to part ways, even just for now.
  • Become more in-tune with your inner emotions (regularly check in with yourself and your body, buy asking it “What am I feeling right now?”)
  • Avoid restaurants if eating out causes triggers for you or evokes bouts of panic and anxiety. Avoid buffets meals (i.e. Restaurants where you can eat as much as you like)
  • When attending a cocktail party or a social gathering, eat a healthy "safe" meal/snack prior. This will elimanate the urge to constantly snack on the finger foods available at the party.
  • If crowded environments intimidate you, keep to the outer edges of the group.
  • Wach your alcohol intake, or avoid it completely, if necessary. Eating disorder sufferers do not know how to have anything in "moderation." And you do not want to regret having too many drinks which could result in embarrassing behaviours.
  • Stay away from trigger foods e.g. chocolate; ice-cream; crisps and only have "safe food" at hand
  • Remove yourself from the breakfast/lunch/dinner table, as soon as you have finished enjoying a meal and stay active. E.g. assist in tidying up, take the dishes through to the kitchen, wash up (these types of activities helped distract me from wanting to go to the bathroom and purge straight after a meal)
  • Treat yourself to non-edible incentives for not binging/purging for a determined period of time (incentives which assist in empowering you and increasing your self-esteem. E.g. a new outfit; a facial; new shoes, uplifting CD; etc)
  • Get plenty of "me time!" This is vital for you on a daily basis. Enabling you to reconnect with yourself, "catch your breath" and revitalise.
  • Focus on developing your self confidence levels and self-worth by repeating daily affirmations to yourself. For example:
      • I am perfect exactly as I am right now!
      • My inner and outer selves are radiant and I love myself exactly as I am.
      • I am perfect, whole and complete.
      • Wonderful things happen to me every day.
      • All is well in my world and so it is.
  • Each day, I would make a conscience effort to look at myself in the mirror and give myself a HUGE hug!  Saying out loud how proud I am of myself and just how much I love myself. (It will seem silly and uncomfortable at first. And you’ll probably think that you’ve seriously gone “around the bend!” Still the more and more you show yourself these little acts of love and kindness, the more your own self-love, self-worth and self-appreciation will escalate. Each one of us needs to become our own cheerleaders! as the more we love, praise and acknowledge ourselves, the less reliant we are on others to fill that void for us.

Remember that you have to love YOURSELF first, before you can ever hope of truly loving another, in the way in which they truly deserve.

Office National
The South African Despression and Anxiety Group
Cresent Clinic

Go at least once a year to a place you have never been before

Even the great get greater by doing more of it. We all know the way, few actually walk it. Walk forward and conquer.

Always laugh when you can. It is the cheapest form of medication.

 

BORN TO BE YOU! Inspirational Speaker/Lifestyle Counsellor
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