What to Expect in Therapy

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"I was dieting for over a year, and on the verge of being really sick. The more I dieted\ the more I needed to diet. I kept saying I was losing weight because I wanted to. But actually the restricting was like a demon pushing from inside me...and in all the wrong directions. I guess I was lucky I met a girl at school who'd done the same thing and she helped me realize I couldn't kick it myself She'd been there and encouraged me to go to therapy She was like my guide out of a maze."

Having an eating disorder is like entering a maze without map or compass, uncertain where the exits are or how you'll find them. What's more, an extended struggle with an eating disorder can make you so emotionally and physically exhausted that you don't have enough energy to even look for a way out.

To complicate your dilemma, people outside that metaphorical maze are an added source of confusion. You can't understand why those who profess to love and care about you do and say things that feel neither loving nor caring. You may hear comments that your behavior is "wrong," "dangerous," "crazy," "illogical," "abnormal," "disgusting," "stupid," "incomprehensible." The words hurt and feel like insults or barbs that lodge deep within your emotional core.

So you protect yourself by retreating further into the maze of your disorder.

Meanwhile, these same loved-ones are equally frustrated and angry. Not only are they nervous about your physical and emotional status and fearful you could die, but they can't get you to change. What you're doing scares them and they want it to stop. Maybe you do too.

Perhaps you've tried to overcome your eating disorder on your own, but nothing has worked. You may have relapsed so often that you now assume it will always be the dominant force in your life. This exhausted, depressed resignation is sometimes called "hitting a wall" or "bottoming out." It is a low point that feels so awful that you are willing to see the value of getting some support beyond your immediate friendships and family. You realize that you don't have to be isolated and alone with your illness or in your recovery and that you can ask for and get professional help.

These professional helpers are typically "therapists" who can be objective about you and your situation because they're not emotionally involved the way family members or friends would be. They work with you and for you.

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Find out why long exhausting workouts may do more harm than good. Most of the body-building workout and diet regimens out there are designed for the guys that gain muscle and fat easily. They focus on eating less and working out more in order to cut the excess fat from their bodies while adding needed muscle tone.

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