Question: Eating Disorder Recovery and Weight

“If you are in recovery from an eating disorder and struggled with binging that led you to gain an unhealthy amount of weight, what is the best way to deal with the situation?”

This was a question sent to me as part of Libero Network’s ‘Ask an Expert’ column. It certainly wasn’t an easy one to answer – the topic is complex and the ‘best way to deal’ will be different for everyone. Overall – recovery from an eating disorder is always the focus; weight loss should not be.

See my full response over at Libero Network, here.

You did not fail the diet. The diet failed you.

Let me make this very, very clear: You did not fail the diet. The diet failed you.

The diet industry is big business, making billions of dollars a year. It’s probably the only industry where people continue to buy the product, despite a failure rate greater than 90% (cited as up to 98%).

Such a high failure rate is (oddly) profitable for diet companies. Why? If a diet worked the first time, you’d have no reason to go back and spend more money.

Many diets work for a short period of time. You lose weight, receive loads of compliments, feel great and believe that this diet (finally!) is successful.

However, for over 90% of people, the diet becomes unsustainable. The weight goes back on (usually with extra), the compliments stop (and you become panicked about what people think of you now), and you feel like a failure.

But why do you blame yourself, rather than blaming the diet?
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Be Curious. Not Judgemental.

“Be Curious. Not judgemental.”

I think this is a wonderful statement to be curious about!

Of course, we can apply it to our thoughts about other people and things (although sometimes it’s just none of our business), however it’s also wonderful to apply to yourself.

Rather than making judgements (usually negative) about why you behave in a certain way, be curious. Explore it.

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What a Body Positive Paradigm Means to Me.

I think sometimes people get a little confused about the Health at Every Size or body positive paradigm. It’s not about suggesting everyone eats take-away, never exercises, disregards their health.

The paradigm I work from is about treating people as people, not numbers. First and foremost, that means showing respect for people regardless of their body weight or shape and even regardless of their food and exercise choices.

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Smash the Scale

95% of people regain lost weight within 2 years. 98% have regained it within 5 years. Most will gain extra too. Many people go through cycle after cycle of dieting with weight loss and weight gain.

Those statistics are all based around a number on the scale. It doesn’t tell us what methods were used to lose weight (healthy or unhealthy) nor does it tell us what emotional, social, and possible mental, effects (both good and bad) were experienced during the weight loss and regain.

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Emotional Energy

You have a finite amount of emotional energy. How you choose to use and replenish that energy can have a profound impact on your quality of life. At this time of year, when many people are setting New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or change their body, I wanted to touch on the emotional energy requirements of dieting – because food is about lot more than just the physical.

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