You’re here because of two things. First, you might have already completed your primary treatment for your binge eating disorder. For that, you deserve all the love and pat in the back. Good job!
But there’s also the second one: you want to make sure you can avoid a relapse. Here are the tips you need to provide yourself with the right support and guidance:
1. Don’t End Your Treatment Plan
One of the primary reasons for an eating disorder relapse is the lack of compliance and after-care. The recovery process can sometimes take years and doesn’t follow a straight path. Your program, therefore, should not end as soon as you walk out of the facility.
The best binge-eating treatment plan must also include outpatient and after-care services from a team of professionals. These include dietitians and nutritionists, counselors or therapists, and medical specialists.
Depending on your progress, some aspects of the program for weeks or months, like cognitive behavior therapy, group counseling, or family therapy.
2. Expand Your Social Support Network
Often, people recovering from eating disorders limit themselves to family, friends they met before their treatment, and their team of professionals. However, in reality, you don’t exist in small bubbles.
If you’re working, then you’re exposed to colleagues. You are also surrounded by neighbors, clients, and club members, among others.
While social support is incredibly important to sustain your recovery, you also need to expand it. Granted, it’s never easy to open up about your struggles with others, but you’ll never know if they can help you unless you do so.
3. Lower Your Stress Levels
Ideally, stress is good. It’s the reason you can avoid accidents or beat deadlines. However, when you’re chronically stressed, it can affect your body and mind negatively, including your eating habits.
For example, it can alter the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which plays a central role in your stress response. The hypothalamus and the pituitary glands are all parts of the brain, while the adrenal glands are near your kidneys. But they’re all part of the endocrine system, which means they secrete hormones.
They also work in a feedback loop. When the hypothalamus senses that your body has lower cortisol, it releases corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). It then binds to the receptors found in the pituitary gland, which then secretes adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
ACTH then attaches itself to the receptors in the adrenal glands, stimulating the organ to produce cortisol. When the structure is altered, you might have constantly elevated cortisol levels. This hormone can increase your appetite and motivation to eat.
Fortunately, there are many ways to lower your stress levels, such as mindfulness meditation. Yoga can also boost mindfulness while engaging in a low-impact exercise that can help regulate cortisol levels in the long-term.
The journey to healing won’t be easy, and it can be scary. However, you need not go through it alone. Today, you now have access to customized binge eating treatment programs and count on excellent aftercare services. There are platforms and strategies to help you cope with stressors and triggers. Help is available.