How to Practice Mindfulness in Eating Disorder Awareness

Girl struggling with anorexia

When it comes to mindfulness in eating disorder treatment, many people might assume this involves a yoga mat and a funky pose. However, there is much more to this lifestyle approach than meets the eye.

For someone in recovery from an eating disorder, practicing mindfulness can help a person proactively become aware of many different facets of themselves. Mindfulness, in fact is often the antithesis to eating disorder behaviors, which often go against what our bodies naturally crave and desire.

Understanding the Practice of Mindfulness in Eating Disorder Treatment

Mindfulness can be described as a conscious awareness of the present moment without judgment of one’s thoughts, feelings, etc. This therapeutic mindset can be much easier said than done, as it is often difficult to pay attention to our most basic thoughts and feelings in a world that is constantly moving at the speed of light.

In eating disorder recovery, mindfulness can be applied in many different ways. For example, when it comes to eating, mindfulness might involve recognition of one’s basic hunger and fullness eating cues, foods that might be craved, or feelings that are being projected on food.

In another scenario, mindfulness can help with feeling recognition in the face of eating disorder urges. For instance, if an urge is experienced to engage in an eating disorder behavior, such as binging and purging, mindfulness can help identify the feelings that may be present behind these urges.

Learning to Integrate Mindfulness in Eating Disorder Recovery

Girl mindfull of eating disorderAs you recover from an eating disorder, you may learn to practice mindfulness in a variety of ways throughout your treatment and journey.

Many clinicians may integrate forms of mindfulness through various therapeutic techniques, such as cognitive therapy, meditation, and more.

While it may initially be difficult or painful to sit with one’s thoughts or even to fully recognize what one is truly feeling in the moment, this practice can ultimately be helpful in dealing with any potential underlying issues related to the eating disorder.

Ideally, this is something that should be practiced an integrated once an individual in recovery has been re-fed and weight restored for optimal cognitive function.

Crystal Karges photo

About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating.

Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 12, 2016
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