Bad Eating Habits Problems


It might be hard, and you can probably come up with many excuses, but write down a few people in your life you might try reaching out to.


Reaching out can help stop you from engaging in a specific behavior in the moment. If you have done the assignments in this Key, you have listed situations or behaviors where you could use support, come up with arguments to counter why you don’t reach out, and made a list of who you might use as support. It is time to give reaching out in a specific way, for a specific reason, a try.

List four of your current eating disorder behaviors (or certain situations that likely result in your using behaviors), the person you will reach out to, the method you will use to reach out, and what the person can do to help.

Be hav ior/situation Support Person Method of reaching out What I need

Ex. Binging My sister Texting Text me or call me back and talk

Ex. Skipping dinner My best friend asking to eat together Just be there and eat with me

Use your Goals Sheet and target one or two of the behaviors you want to work on for the week. Evaluate how things are going as the week progresses, and make any changes you think could help improve things. You can continue targeting one specific behavior until you feel it has gotten better, you can add other behaviors, or target all eating disorder behaviors as indicators that you need to and will reach out. Eventually, reaching out will become natural and a way you take care of yourself, and you will not need a Goals Sheet to do it or keep track of.

Keep in mind that reaching out before acting out might help you avoid engaging in a behavior, but it might not. Don’t give up. It can take a while to figure out what and who works best for you. Even if it doesn’t work in the beginning or only delays or reduces the time spent, or the intensity of the behavior, that is a start. If you keep at it, it will help. You might find what other clients have to say about this helpful:

Quotes from clients

At first, reaching out was terrifying. I was afraid of what the person would think. I didn’t want to be judged. I didn’t want to seem selfish, and asking for help felt like that. I didn’t want to seem incompetent, and it seemed like reaching out showed that I knew what the right answer was but I couldn’t get myself to do the simplest things. I thought, ‹“If I can text/call/say this, I should be able to do it on my own. ‘ However, I realized I couldn’t do it on my own . because, if I could have, I would have gotten better on my own. So, I tried reaching out first to my therapist and dietitian, then to friends. At first it did not always change my behavior, but somehow as I did it more, became more honest, let people in more, reaching out became a significant aspect in my recovery. ‚

I did not want to ask my husband for help or even tell him I had an eating disorder because I thought could not possibly understand and he would reject me, leave me. I kept my eating disorder hidden from him for years thinking our marriage would be over if I told him. In therapy I had to face the fact that living a daily lie was adding to my feeling of shame and unworthiness and contributing to my inability to get better. If I wanted to change I needed to tell my husband and ask for his support in many areas that could make a difference. However, I also had to accept that he might not be able to handle it and leave me. Of all the many decisions I had to make in order to get better this was one of the hardest.

In the end I decided to tell him. I was finally able to accept that if he left me it would not be any worse than the situation I was in. We were strangers anyway and did not have a real relationship. So . with the help of my therapist, I told him. It was painful and hard and we had a rough time for a while, but we are still together. We made it and I made it but we needed a lot of help along the way. ‚

When I reached out to my mom and told her how I was feeling or that I was too fat, or wanted to get rid of calories, she would break down and cry or get angry and start screaming, so I just stopped. I shut down and decided she was not ever going to be able to help me. My dad had remarried and was not in the picture and I really did not know who else I could turn to for help. So I tried to get better on my own. When I started therapy I did not want my mom to be a part of it. After about 6 or so sessions Carolyn convinced me to bring my mom in even though I was 23 and did not have to get her involved, plus I did not see the use of it. It is hard to describe all the things that happened but being in therapy together helped my mom and I understand each other and how to get along with each other and get out of our old dynamic. My mom came to understand more about eating disorders as an illness and not just me making bad choices. She learned what supported me and what sabotaged me. I also had to learn to accept her feelings and be ok if she cried or was upset. I learned how and when to ask for help or support and not set my mom up for failure or ask for things she could not possibly give. I am a good example that letting other people in and letting them help may seem impossible but with the right guidance it can work and can change everything. ‚

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