Self-Care for Anorexia

Medically Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on September 29, 2022

If you have anorexia, it’s understandable if you don’t know how to get better. You might not be eating enough food because you hope you’ll become perfect if you lose weight. But starving yourself can make you very sick. Anorexia is not something you can overcome easily or on your own, always seek professional help.

The first step toward recovery is to set up a treatment plan with your doctor. And even if you’re already seeing a specialist, there are still many things you can do to help yourself. Here are 7 things you can do to start feeling strong and in control again.

1. Set Goals You Can Meet

Your biggest goal is to stick with the treatment plan that you and your doctor create. That means you need to go to all therapy sessions and follow meal plans. Other good things to do are:

  • Write down reasons why it's wrong to think that thinner people are better. Review them regularly.
  • Make a list of things that prove you’re a great person.
  • Find activities you enjoy, including physical activities. Schedule times to do them.
  • Exercise because you love being stronger, not just to lose weight. But talk to your doctor about the exercise plan before you start.
  • Tape a sign on your mirror that says you’re beautiful inside and out.

Don’t set too many goals at once. You could end up frustrated or disappointed if you don’t meet them. If this happens, don’t give up. Just make a new list of goals that are easier.

2. Practice Smart Eating Habits

Focus on eating a diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. When you’re hungry, eat what you want. When you’re full, stop. And ask your doctor if there are any nutritional supplements that you should take. Your body needs to get back the nutrients it has lost.

3. Wear Clothes You Like

Don’t try to hide your body under clothing. Choose comfortable outfits that make you feel good.

4. Pamper Yourself

Reward your body and mind with simple activities, like a long bath or strolling through a garden.

5. Ask for Emotional Support

Other people want to help you feel better. But you need to trust them first. Start by spending more time with family and friends who make you feel good about yourself. When people give you advice, remember they want what’s best for you.

6. Help Others

Worrying about food and weight loss takes a lot of time and energy. Use that energy to help others in need. It will make you feel better about yourself and the world.

7. Give Your Mind a Rest

Some other things to remember that might be helpful:

  • It takes a lot of energy to weigh yourself and constantly check your body in the mirror. When you catch yourself doing it, stop.
  • Get plenty of sleep at night.
  • Take a break from the harmful or unrealistic messages you get from the Internet, TV, and magazines.

Show Sources


Mayo Clinic: “Anorexia Nervosa.”

National Eating Disorders Association: “Anorexia Nervosa,” “Developing and Maintaining Positive Body Image.”

Mount Nittany Health: “Be S.M.A.R.T. to Help Recover From an Eating Disorder.”

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