Eating Disorders and the Importance of Realistic Goals
Success or failure in treating eating disorders depends to a large extent on having realistic goals.
For counselling to be effective with your eating disorder it is important to spend some time initially deciding what it is that you want to achieve.
All too often people embark on their counselling with no more than a vague idea of their aim. The truth is that if your aim is vague, you will not achieve it. You want to lose weight. OK, how much weight? You want to include a wider range of foods into your diet. Fine, what new foods?
Deciding on realistic goals involves concentrating on what and how. First, ask what you really want to achieve. Not what you think you should achieve but what is right for you. Then, with that goal in mind, ask how you are going to get there.
Asking how means looking at the implications of achieving the what. This stage includes working our a timescale, anticipating the problems that are likely to arise, being aware of how changes may affect you and those around you.
It also involves taking account of the physiological effects of losing or gaining weight, the psychological effects of lapsing or relapsing and the emotional effects of stress, loneliness and replacing what you were getting from your disorder.
It often happens that in the course of looking at the how, of working through these implications, the what changes. You may realise that giving up bingeing is more important than losing weight or that losing seven stone is not a realistic goal.
Having a goal does not mean being inflexible. A goal is something to work towards but counselling is about change and it is important to reassess your goal as you work towards it to ensure that it is still right for you.
Realistic goals means two things. It means goals that are realistic in the sense that they are achievable and it also means goals that are your goals. That means that you are happy with your goals and that you are happy that they are your goals.
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- Working therapeutically with obesity
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