Learning the Nutrition Basics in BED Recovery

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Multiracial Group of Friends with Hands in StackLook anywhere and you can find a plethora of nutrition information in our society today, whether splashed across a magazine, on a mainstream website on the Internet, via a talk show host on the radio, or on a television advertisement commercial.

Many individuals pose as nutrition “experts” in order to sell a product or service, and ultimately this leads to more confusion about food, body and nutrition. With the dieting industry reach over billions of dollars in sales, it is clear that countless individuals are searching for something that will help them somehow in their own life.

For individuals who are struggling with an eating disorder, such as anorexia/bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or other feeding or eating disorders, nutrition misinformation can contribute to the confusion and chaos that is commonly already experienced when it comes to food and body.

Nutrition Basics

Getting back to nutrition basics can help a person in recovery better understand the role of nutrition in their own life as well as have a greater perspective on what is appropriate for themselves and their own health.

Understanding nutrition basics in recovery may go against what is seen on the mainstream, but nonetheless, it is relevant to recovery and provides an essential foundation for life and health.

Young woman on the marketIndividuals who are in recovery from binge eating disorder face their own unique challenges when it comes to this mental illness.

While not true for all people with binge eating disorder, many individuals may struggle with being overweight or obese as a result of repeatedly eating beyond a point of fullness and abnormally large portion sizes.

A natural response to binge eating may be a tendency towards weight loss, but this will not solve any of the issues that may be experienced. Effectively learning and practicing nutrition basics can be an invaluable tool in the recovery process from binge eating disorder.

Nutrition Principles

What are some of these foundational nutritional principles that are applicable towards the individual recovering from binge eating disorder?

The good news is that these principles do not focus of weight loss or dieting but enforce the fact that health can be achieved at any size. Here are some of these nutrition basics:

  • Recognize your own hunger and fullness cues and HONOR them: All of us are born with an innate ability to regulate what we eat naturally. We do not need diet rules to tell us what and how much we can eat. Learning to tune in to your own body and honor your hunger and fullness levels can help you better regulate your intake according to what your body wants and needs.
  • Music, Headphones, Listening.Learn to eat mindfully: When was the last time you gave any attention to how your food tastes, the complex flavors of your meal, or the different textures that may be involved? How does it feel in your body to eat certain foods versus others, and how do you feel after eating a specific type of meal? Paying attention to these details is all part of mindful eating, and learning this approach to food can change your outlook on nutrition entirely. Eating should be a pleasurable and nurturing experience, and tuning in to the various details involved can help you better appreciate what you are putting into your body.
  • Aim for variety and balance: The feeling of deprivation can create a sense of chaos, so it is important to give yourself unconditional permission to eat the foods you enjoy and crave. At the same time, aim for eating a variety of foods to create cohesive and balanced meals.Eating foods from all food groups, such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats can ensure that your body stays adequately nourished and is able to function optimally. Know that there is a place for every kind of food in you diet, and there is no need to restrict yourself from eating the things you enjoy.

These basics are often counter to what is seen in the mainstream when it comes to nutrition, but practicing these principles can be a helpful starting place for any individual recovering from binge eating disorder.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What are some of the nutrition basics that have helped you in your own recovery from binge eating disorder? How are these different from what you may have previously known prior to beginning your recovery journey?

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 October 30, 2015
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com