Self-help tips for eating disorders

If you are recovering from an eating disorder it can be helpful to know about things you can do to help yourself. Though it’s really important that you talk to a health professional about what you’re going through, you can also use these tools for eating disorder self-help to assist in your recovery.

This might help if you:

  • Are recovering from an eating disorder
  • Would like to begin recovering from an eating disorder
  • Want some self-help tools for better body image
  • Would like to learn more about tools for eating disorder self-help

Self-help tools

If you are suffering from an eating disorder, it’s important first and foremost that you seek some professional support. In addition to professional help, you might like to consider the following tools for eating disorder self-help which may help in your recovery:

Keep a 'recovery journal'

Fill it with positive and affirming thoughts. Write about why you want to recover, how your eating disorder has impacted your life, where you want to be in 5 or 10 years from now, and anything else that will help to keep you motivated to recover. It’s totally up to you to choose what you write in your journal.

Spend time around supportive people

Try to find people who are comfortable with their bodies and don’t spend all their time talking about dieting and food. These might be people who have qualities that you admire and want to develop within yourself. 

Talk to other people who are recovering/recovered 

Mutual support can be motivating, and seeing someone else make progress or enjoying life might help to keep you inspired, too. Support groups can be a really great way of seeking support from people going through similar things. Check out our fact sheet on where to get help for more information on support groups in your area.

Go on body-positive outings

If body image is something you’re really struggling with, take a trip to the art gallery, and have a look at all the different shapes and sizes that beauty comes in. It sounds a bit lame, but it can be a really uplifting thing to do.

You can also go and hang out around your local shops. Try to notice the diversity of shapes around you, not a certain type of shape. You’ll notice that not one person has the same body shape and that’s ok. 

Read recovery-oriented books

These can help inspire and keep you motivated. Eating Disorders Victoria has some great suggestions for good books to read if you, or someone you know, are experiencing an eating disorder.

Take up a hobby

Try something new, or go back to something you used to love. There are heaps of different hobbies that are fun and interesting. You might find that you’re actually an awesome guitar player, or have a flair for painting. 

Do things that nourish

This could be anything from planting a veggie patch, to climbing a tree, to going sailing, or engaging in voluntary work. It doesn't have to be big; it doesn't have to be expensive, it just has to make you feel good about yourself. Experiment with different things - part of recovery is getting to know yourself all over again (or for the first time!) and you won't necessarily like everything you try.

If it's not working

If you’ve tried these tools for eating disorder self-help and you're still finding your symptoms difficult to manage, it’s a good idea to talk to your health professional. They may be able to work with you to figure out other tools that are better suited to you. It can be hard to know where to find the right support you need. ReachOut NextStep is an anonymous online tool that recommends relevant support options based on what you want help with. Try ReachOut NextStep to learn about the support options available for you.

Recovering from eating disorders is possible, and your health professional can help you do so.

What can I do now?

  • Talk to a doctor or health professional before starting eating disorder self-help.
  • Call the National Support Line for eating disorders 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673) for free, confidential support, help and information.
  • Have a look at the support services in your state.
  • Get personalised support options for eating disorders with the ReachOut NextStep tool.
Last reviewed: 04 May, 2016
Did you find this article helpful?

You have already rated this article

Add a comment

Read the commenting guidelines: keep safe and respectful