The “Do I Have a Problem” and “Should I Get Help” pages of ROAR are useful to find out the extent of your eating and body concerns and how much they impact your health and wellbeing. If you have not already looked through those pages it might be worthwhile to go to there first. Questions on the “I Need a Report” page will also help you focus specifically on your own situation.

You may have found that thinking about your eating and body concerns made you feel anxious or upset. This is a very normal reaction. It is often the case that people feel distressed when they become more aware of eating and body concerns and how much they impact physical and emotional health, and their enjoyment and involvement with life. Although this might make you question whether to continue on this pathway to reach out and recover, feelings of distress do start to fade when people seek help and take action to make changes to their eating and body concerns

“THE FIRST STEP IS THE HARDEST, BUT IT’S ALSO WORTH IT”

DON’T WAIT, GET HELP NOW

SEEK HELP EARLY, EVEN AT THE FIRST SIGN OF A PROBLEM

  • This is the best way to get well, but recovery is possible at any stage

SPEAK WITH ONE OR MORE HEALTH PROFESSIONAL

  • Multiple options might work best

BE PERSISTENT WITH HELP SEEKING EFFORTS

  • Finding the right fit is important

I FEEL NERVOUS ABOUT GETTING HELP

Even if you have decided that you want and need help for your eating and body concerns, it is natural to feel hesitant about seeking help. This is especially the case if you do not know what to expect or if you have had some negative experiences in the past.

People may feel hesitant or nervous about getting help for a number of reasons. Some people feel ashamed or embarrassed about their problems. This can understandably make revealing their problems to another person feel really uncomfortable. People may worry about being judged or labelled as having a mental problem. They may also be worried that others will think there is something wrong with them, or odd about them because of their concerns. Some people also feel as though not being able to take care of their own problems and having to seek help is a personal failing or a sign of weakness.

Take a moment to consider whether any of these reasons might be holding you back from seeking help.

“I THOUGHT I COULD “FIX” THINGS MYSELF IF I JUST GAVE MYSELF A BIT MORE TIME.”

It is normal to feel uncomfortable about revealing your concerns to someone else. This is especially the case with eating and body concerns as people often try very hard to cover them up, or keep them a secret. It is really important along the pathway to recovery that you are able to take on the difficult task of facing these uneasy feelings and tell someone what you are going through. Not only is this a key step in getting the right help, but people often report that it can be a real relief to share their concerns.

“IT WAS COMFORTING TO FINALLY TALK ABOUT IT.”

It is normal to feel uncomfortable about revealing your concerns to someone else. This is especially the case with eating and body concerns as people often try very hard to cover them up, or keep them a secret. It is really important along the pathway to recovery that you are able to take on the difficult task of facing these uneasy feelings and tell someone what you are going through. Not only is this a key step in getting the right help, but people often report that it can be a real relief to share their concerns.

If you are worried that a health professional might judge you, you are not alone. Lots of people report this fear. Remember that health professionals have training and experience to understand the problems that you are going through. They know that people with eating and body concerns do not choose to have these problems and are not personally responsible for them. They also do not think less of people with these problems. In fact, they understand that eating and body concerns can occur as a way of coping with other difficulties or stressors in life. Health professionals also know that eating and body concerns are serious health problems that need appropriate attention and treatment.
 

“MY GP WAS WARM AND FRIENDLY AND MOST IMPORTANTLY NON-JUDGEMENTAL WHEN I BROKE DOWN AND REVEALED THE EXTENT OF MY PROBLEMS.”

Rather than being a sign of weakness, seeking help for eating and body concerns is a sign of strength. It can take a lot of courage to confront personal issues. People sometimes think that they should be able to manage on their own, or just “pull themselves together”. But eating and body concerns are serious and complex problems that often require professional help to manage.
POP QUESTION

If you were to seek help for your eating and body concerns, how worried would you be about what the health professional was thinking of you?


CHOOSE OPTIONS:

I DON’T KNOW IF I’M READY TO MAKE CHANGES

Making positive changes to eating and body concerns means reducing dieting and restriction, binge eating and overeating, exercise, and other behaviours used to control weight, shape, and size. It might also mean trying to feel better about your body, without changing how you look, or your weight, shape, or size. Even when people recognise that eating and body concerns are causing a range of problems in their lives - for physical health, emotional wellbeing, relationships and enjoying everyday life – they can still be unsure if they are ready to get help and start making changes.
 

 “DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU THINK YOU ARE READY TO RECOVER. START RECOVERY AS SOON AS YOU CAN” 

It is really common to feel unsure about making changes. On the one hand, eating and body concerns cause a lot of problems for health and wellbeing. On the other hand, eating and body concerns can seem to have a purpose and help people feel secure. When people weigh up their reasons to change against concerns about making change, they can feel stuck and unsure.

The idea of change may also seem unfamiliar and uncertain. Although uncertainty may be unsettling, there is no doubt that going into unfamiliar territory will help you to move towards recovery and reduce the impact of eating and body concerns on your life.

Some people also say that they are fearful of making changes. They worry that they will feel out of control – of their eating, their weight, shape, and size, and of their life in general. It is true that seeking treatment for eating and body concerns may involve feeling frightened and having to let go of behaviours that help you to cope and feel okay about yourself. But is it also true that by getting help you will develop other coping strategies. These strategies will boost, rather than cause, problems for your health and wellbeing.
 

The benefits of making positive change outweigh the uncertainty. Focus on the benefits to motivate you to seek help and kick-start your recovery.
 

I’M UNSURE IF PROFESSIONAL HELP IS RIGHT FOR ME

Choosing to seek professional help for eating and body concerns can be a big decision. Even when people feel like they want and need help, they may be put off from getting help if they think they are unable to make the changes they need. In addition, part of them might feel like they should be able to work out their problems on their own. They might also feel like their concerns are not a “real” health problem or deserving of help. These feelings can prevent people from getting the help they need.

“I FELT EMBARRASSED THAT I COULD NOT HELP MYSELF.”

Eating and body concerns are very real and very serious health problems. People should not be expected to be able to work through these problems on their own. People should also not be expected to know how to deal with their eating and body concerns without help. It is the role of health professionals to assist people to develop the right skills to do this.
There are a range of different things that you can do to get help for your eating and body concerns. There are a lot of different types of “help” out there. It’s not a case of one size fits all. Be persistent to find the right one that works for you. It may also be important to work with more than one health professional to get the help you need. The “Resources” page has more information on different options for getting help.

Treatments can be beneficial for reducing body dissatisfaction and the role weight, shape, and size plays in how people judge their self-worth. Treatments also help to ease fears of gaining weight or fears of becoming less muscular. They can also be successful in helping people to be less reliant on exercise, use of supplements, or other behaviours that they may depend on to feel in control of their bodies or to balance their eating. These changes can seem overwhelming. But treatment also helps people to cope with making changes to their eating and body image behaviours without feeling out of control or constantly fearful.

Treatments are beneficial in reducing body dissatisfaction and the role weight, shape, and size plays in how people judge their self-worth. Treatments also ease fears of gaining weight or fears of becoming less muscular. They are also successful in helping people to be less reliant on exercise, use of supplements, or other behaviours that they may depend on to feel in control of their bodies or to balance their eating. These changes can seem overwhelming. But treatment also helps people to cope with making changes to their eating and body image behaviours without feeling out of control or constantly fearful.

Professional help also provides benefits beyond directly helping with eating problems. The most appropriate approaches will help to address psychological and emotional issues that can be at the core of eating and body concerns. In doing so, the distress that people with eating and body concerns have will reduce dramatically. Most importantly, treatment will help you to get involved with, and enjoy life again.

You will also build your skills to deal with your concerns through different types of treatment. Although ROAR encourages you to seek help and not go it alone, by working with health professionals you will be moving towards developing strategies and strengths that you can draw on to manage your eating and body concerns and live a full and enriching life.
READ HOW TO USE THE ROAR WEBSITE
ARE YOU FEELING UNWELL, NEED HELP NOW?