Healthy You: Healthy Eating in Eating Disorder Recovery

healthy salad

According to ANRED, about 20% of people diagnosed with a serious eating disorder die without treatment, with the proper treatment about 60% of people recover. As an eating disorder progresses, individuals develop unhealthy eating habits. Eating disorders such as anorexia are characterized by self-starvation, and bulimia by overeating and purging. Those patients seeking the proper treatment are taught healthy eating habits and how to view food differently. 

Maintaining a healthy diet after an eating disorder can be challenging. For many suffering from an eating disorder, it is easy to forget how to eat healthy and what it means. Healthy eating is respecting your body and eating when you are hungry, not using food for needs other than nourishment. The following is a list of dietary guidelines set by Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion that focus on helping individuals make choices that promote an overall healthy eating pattern.

1. Follow a healthy eating pattern. A healthy eating pattern will support a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Focus on choosing food from all five food groups – fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, and grain.

2.Focus on a variety of nutrient-dense food. Choose food from each food group such as lettuce, apples, chicken, fish, whole-grain bread, low-fat dairy products, canola oil, and nuts.

3.Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake. Saturated and trans fats can contribute to heart and blood vessel disease.  Eating fewer calories from food high in saturated fat and added sugar can reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Some fat is necessary for health – choose the fats and oils from vegetables, fish and nuts, such as avocado, and olive oil.

4.Make small changes to create a healthy. Start with little changes such as moving to low-fat or fat-free dairy, vary your protein, make half of your grains whole grains.

A healthy eating plan following an eating disorder is important. Think of each change made toward healthy eating as a personal win on your path to a healthier life. Healthy eating can improve your overall physical and mental wellness, and prevent relapse, which can be life-threatening or lead to additional complications, additional eating disorders, or depression

Working with your doctor or dietician will allow you to make the proper choices in your meal plan. They may use various meal plan formats, but food from the vital food groups will be included.  They may also suggest the use of a food journal for tracking intake and relevant comments. A food journal is an easy way to record progress and share details with your doctor. Gradual changes in eating habits will ensure dietary and emotional success.

Maintaining a healthy physical and mental health and is important. Remember you are never alone. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder, Magnolia Creek can offer support services. For more information or to answer questions, please contact our admissions team at 205-409-4220 or fill out our contact form



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