Anorexia Nervosa The Wish to Change
How to Change- The 30 Steps part 2- Step 10-15 -How to Stop Losing Weight
I find these steps very helpful. Steps 10-15 are very crucial in recovery. In order to complete the 30 steps, you have to follow steps 10-15, as they deal with ED behaviours. I believe that if we try to follow these steps then we are making some progress in defeating the demon of disorder. Don’t forget recovery is an ongoing journey, No matter how many mistakes you’ve made, you’re ahead of people who aren’t trying. By following these steps, I believe some of us can beat the anorexia easily — and for free — in the dignity of our own home.
Stop and Think
We suggest you take some time now to think about what you have learnt from these steps. You will need eventually to make a decision about where to go from here. Do not rush into attempts to recover unless you have considered the implications and you have the necessary resources around you. Timing is very important. When you feel you are ready to make a decision you have several options. Firstly, if you are still losing weight, you will need to stop doing so. Then you will need to decide whether to try and hold that position temporarily, or to aim for recovery, or to remain an anoretic in a long term. Remember that you are making the decision for the time being- it maybe that you need longer to think about things, or do not have the necessary resources available to you. You can always make a new decision at another time, but it is probably the true that the longer you live within anorexia the harder it is to recover. First of all you may need to learn how to stop losing more weight.
HOW to Stop Losing Weight
Consider your weight. Below 7 stones or thereabouts depending on height, anoretics feel safer but there is no great psychological need to go down very much lower if only you could be confident of steadying your weight at just below this level. Of course this is an unnatural task for your body. The great thrust in it is to grow and to develop, and to develop other impulses than simply one to eat. It is these other potential impulses that are compounding your fear about consuming more fuel and gaining more weight, and lead to your fear of losing control of yourself. They underwrite your sense of incompetence and low self-esteem and feeling that you do not own your body. They may have been reduced to the impulse to eat but will intensify that because it is basically safer. However, if you surrender to it you still get very distressed because you recognise your continuing poor self-control and this is nor declared in terms of your fatness, with its sexual meanings. If you are going to recover from your condition you will need to accept your sexuality and come to feel confident with it, but that can only happen gradually. You will also need to cope with its consequences. This may include the need to learn to separate yourself more from your parents, to work out a new relationship with them and to develop your personal identity. Your anorexia will have been triggered by such challenges in the first instance.
Having got this far perhaps you can now begin to allow yourself to think about your eating in terms of changing it to stabilise your low weight in the first instance.
Some people who have anorexia nervosa simply restrict their diet but others binge as well as cutting down on food. You may do this yourself. (By bingeing we mean consuming large amounts of food, not eating a little more than you had planned, which some anoretics feel is bingeing). Your bingeing is reinforced by your low weight and inadequate and irregular food intake. For instance, your body reacts to starvation with increased preoccupation with food and hunger, and if you cannot resist this, then a binge may follow. You may feel as though your control has snapped, and you then over compensate by eating as much as possible, usually of the foods which you have been avoiding (carbohydrates including sweet foods). You will know how distressing and frightening this experience is and that it is usually followed by vomiting to prevent weight gain. We believe that it is almost impossible to stop bingeing unless you eat regularly throughout the day rather than, say, refrain from eating during the main part of it. Your diet must therefore include some carbohydrates at every meal every day.
So, whether you occasionally binge, or binge and vomit, or mainly restrict your diet, you are more likely to achieve stability of your present weight in the first instance if you eat several times each day and, as has already been said and as we now repeat, you must consume a reasonable number of calories on these occasions. You may well be a great expert in the identification of calories in food. To maintain your present weight you should consume 1000-1600 calories per day depending on your height and maturity. And of course not vomit, use laxatives or exercise endlessly.
If you have been habitually vomiting or using laxatives, you need to wean yourself off this behaviour. People find that different approaches help in different circumstances. Vomiting and using laxatives seriously upset the chemistry in your body and in that sense you will feel somewhat better when you stop. Using laxatives is also a desperate manoeuvre since it mainly gets rid of fluid and renders you unable even to drink water without your body clinging onto it and increasing your weight. Some people can simply stop these behaviours and others tail them off, and now is the time for you to do one or other of these things.
You will also need to tackle the problems of any excessive exercise that you have been taking. A certain amount of exercise is natural for human beings but you will know, if you are honest, with yourself, whether yours is excessive, and if so you should now reduce this to normal levels as best as you can, although we know your starving condition itself will probably be making you relentless.
There are some guidelines which may help you change behaviours such as bingeing, vomiting, laxative abuse and excessive exercise, provided you are simultaneously working through the first nine steps.