People with eating and body concerns often struggle to decide whether or not to get help. Sometimes they think that their problems are not serious enough to deserve help. At ROAR, we know that eating and body concerns are very serious and that help is needed. And we also know that the impact of eating and body concerns goes far beyond the direct effect on eating or body image. As well as distress and discomfort, eating and body concerns are linked to many difficulties in other areas of life. These can cause severe health problems and contribute to the need for eating and body concerns to be taken seriously.
Although it can be a painful process, it is vital that people carefully and honestly recognise their problems and how much they impact their lives. Often this provides a strong push towards seeking help. This “Should I Get Help” page of ROAR will help you see your situation in more depth and prepare you for taking action towards getting help. The “I Want & Need Help” page of ROAR will focus on working through concerns about getting help.
PEOPLE WITH EATING AND BODY CONCERNS:-
NEED facts, information, and the right help; these problems don’t get fixed on their own
DESERVE to receive help, support, and understanding
GET TRAPPED in eating and body image worries; they are not to blame for these problems
DO NOT CHOOSE to have eating and body concerns and become unwell
CAN BE HELPED: treatment does work for eating and body concerns
Thinking about the impact of eating and body concerns can be daunting. It might make you want to try and forget your problems. Or, you might want to try to avoid thinking about how serious they are. It is natural to try and avoid feelings of discomfort, but unfortunately, avoidance is not a solution. Understanding the impact of your eating and body concerns in other parts of your life can help you to find the type of help that will be best suited to your needs.
TAKE SOME TIME TO THINK ABOUT HOW EATING AND BODY CONCERNS AFFECT YOU.
Have you noticed any physical symptoms, like feeling weak, dizzy, or faint?
What about your emotional health? Have you felt distressed, guilty, or ashamed by your eating and body concerns. Have you felt “stuck” in your problems? Or maybe you have felt like you needed alcohol or drugs to cope?
How has your social life and enjoyment of activities been affected? Have you noticed that you feel isolated from friends or family, or find yourself being secretive about what you do to try to control your weight, shape or size? Or are you struggling to be involved with or enjoy important activities and events – like your life is limited by your concerns?
Do eating and body concerns affect your physical health, emotional wellbeing, connection with others, or ability to get the most out of your life?
Support and treatment aims to help people reduce or let go of their eating and body concerns to improve quality of life. Treatment involves working with a health professional to address dieting and restriction, binge eating and overeating, and exercise and other behaviours used to control weight, shape, and size. Help for body image aims to help people accept their body without changing their weight, shape, size, or appearance. It is also important to try to work towards a sense of self-worth that is not caught up in weight, shape, or size, or by the ability to control eating.
Making these changes can make an enormous difference in people’s lives. Many people talk about feeling valuable as a person again, rather than just being identified by their eating and body concerns. They may also experience a sense of freedom in being able to leave their concerns behind, and notice that their concerns no longer dominate their lives.
Positive changes in eating and body concerns tend to flow on to other areas of life. Although support and treatment is usually initially focused directly on eating and body concerns, getting help is also about overall health, wellbeing, and sense of self. Professional help can assist with other issues that are related to, or have been caused by, eating and body concerns. These are things like low self-worth, feelings of depression and anxiety, isolation or difficulties in relationships, and physical health problems. Another benefit of help seeking is gaining new skills and enhancing existing skills to cope with life’s challenges without needing to turn back to eating and body image related behaviours to feel secure or in control.