Eating Disorders and Exams- Some Useful Tips

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Dear Readers,

Eating Disorder is not a way out of dealing with insoluble and insurmountable problems.

I’ve received many emails from readers, who are going through exam time stress. It’ s very heartbreaking how so many of them spent so much time locked in the limbo of ED and now when they want to pull themselves together and study, the demon of ED won’t let them. So many are locked in this vicious cycle of panic and fear. Many are spending sleepless nights agonizing over upcoming exams and many have simply given into demands of the demon of ED and simply spend time exercising or binging/purging.

 

Mental Stress and Our Body

Mental stresses can bring about real physiological changes in the body in just the same way as a real physical stress. Everybody struggles when exams are around the corner. The only problem here is your illness, that has progressed to such level that it’s now threatening everything. When we are stressed, early signals being sent by the brain cause a change in our body’s physiology. Blood vessels are reduced and less blood supplies reaches parts of the body, such as gut. Our body and mind react adversely when under stress, throw in ED and all its blessings, malnourishment, weak immunity, and tortured mind and you are well onto your way for a disaster.

Few months back, I was an emergency replacement for someone to go and deliver a research paper at the University in Barcelona. I only had few days to write the research paper and I panicked. “I can’t do this was my mantra.” Last academic paper I wrote was last year for University in Sydney.

I thought I would die of a heart attack. I couldn’t sleep and couldn’t eat.  Time was drawing near and before I could go to Barcelona, the paper had to be reviewed and passed by the faculty.

It was then that I devised my own treatment/study/healthy well-being plan. One night I sat down and I made a list of what I was going to do. Past was gone. I didn’t have much time left. All I could do was just give  my 100% and leave rest to God.

I devised a nutrition plan- All Foods were going to boost my Mind, boost my concentration and make me clever.

A  Nourished Healthy Mind= Healthy Me, Positive Me, Powerful Me.

I devised a rest/relaxation ME plan. I was going to simply take breaks and not allow the demon of ED to tempt me into engaging in any of ED behaviors.

I devised a study plan. I was going to break up my studying and writing into parts and try to complete those tasks best to my ability.

I was going to find a study spot, where demon of ED would think twice before entering. Why study spot? The demon attacks you when your alone or by yourself. You fall into this entrapment thinking that your not people’s person, you need your space etc. But let me tell you something , people need people. We need social support, moral support. My study spot someday was Pret A Manger (I know how can anyone study in a coffee shop? it just worked for me) some days a Library and some days my room.

And finally my paper was accepted and then I collapsed with sheer exhaustion (kidding).  That’s all I can say. I’m still recovering from that shock and am considering some deep therapy.

Indeed God is Merciful.

 Take a step toward personal freedom. No one recovers from ED overnight. The sooner you seek the treatment, the better the prognosis, and quicker you’ll be able to recover.

Remember:

There’s a sense of purpose and meaning in life.

A sense of personal Responsibility for One’s health.

Here are Few Steps you Can Take to Manage your Eating Disorder, Your Exam Time Stress and Your Anxiety. Instead of your emotions using you, try to learn to use them.

Step One

Recognize the problem: People with Eating Disorders often do not recognize or admit that they have a problem. Accept your current circumstance as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement.

Eating Disorders need a comprehensive diagnosis. Go and see your GP and push for a referral. Depending on your prognosis, you may require physical, psychological and pharmacological intervention. You then need to see an ED specialist who will help you with:

  • Re-establishing ‘normal’ weight
  • Dealing with maladaptive behaviours
  • Resolving ‘issues’ underlying the disorder.
  • Developing Positive coping mechanisms.

Step 2

Accepting and Acknowledging the Power of Food

The next step to strengthening your mind and preparing yourself for exams is eating regularly and in structured fashion.  You must eat three meals and 2-3 snacks a day. The demon of ED will tell you one thing, ‘if you eat this much, you’ll gain weight and get fat’.

STOP Right There!

Challenge this False Belief and Change this False Belief.

This meal plan is to nourish your mind, nourish your soul, replace the binging and to give you a super powerful mind. If you were binging before, then with this controlled eating, you’ll be eating lot less than before. By eating regular meals, no body becomes fat.

 Step 3

Plan Plan Plan

Get Away from triggering stressful Environment. Sit and Plan your Time:  your meals, snacks, study and relaxation time.

Shop Ahead:  Plan meal ideas and shop ahead for them. This way, it gives you less of an opportunity to panic over what to eat next.

Step 4

Eating Eating Eating

Prepare food ahead. Make goodie bags with cut veggies, apples, grapes, pears, and bananas. Have some nutrition bars on hand or cook/pack your lunch the night before. Mix a salad or make a large pot of soup or hearty chili.

Appetite Loss:

Try eating 5 small meals. Practice good nutrition. One should not view food as an enemy. Eating a balanced, proper diet won’t make you fat. It will make you healthy.

Aromatherapy can help regulate your appetite. Oils such as basil, black pepper, ginger…stimulate appetite.

You Can Beat Bulimia Binge Eating With One Simple Step

With skipping meals and erratic eating patterns, there is Biochemical Imbalance, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, hormonal imbalance and adrenal fatigue. A good way to balance your system by eating 5 small well balanced protein meals a day.I attended  a course at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition in Richmond ‘Management of Eating Disorders and Eating Distress.’ The instructor Jane Nodder said in order to beat bulimia and binge eating, she advises her patients to include 15-20 grams of protein with every meal. This displaces the urge to binge.

 Step 5

Putting a Stop to Purging/ED Behaviors

Believe Believe Believe: Your belief system has everything to do with the mental and spiritual aspects of any eating disorder. Fight anxiety with relaxation exercises rather than food. Utilize meditation, yoga, stretching.

Dealing with After  Meal Purging and Exercise

After a Meal do an activity that you enjoy most.

I always started my meal with supplication, chewed my meal twenty times before I swallowed and took 1 Tbsp of Cod Liver Oil to signify the end of meal. Cod Liver Oil is brilliant.

Most of the days you will have an immediate panic and anxiety about purging. First, Delay the vomiting and exercise by 2 minutes. The next time double the time you delay . Keep doing this so that you are delaying the vomiting and exercise by longer and longer periods of time.

After a Meal, I would pray and sit in meditation/Muraqba for 45 minutes. Some days I would listen to Qur’an.  Listening to Qur’an for 20minutes always relaxed my mind.

Walk Off ED- After 45 minutes of Meditation, if I still had my panic, my emergency plan was to walk it off. I would go and walk and walk. This tip was given to me by a Saudi Poetess, Nimah Nawwab. And Honestly, I would come back home with a fresh mind and a fresh will to hit the books again.

I would Just Walk off my Panic.

I would Just Walk off my Panic.

Healing with Surah Ad Duha

Why Surah Ad Duha? Because

The Beauty of Surah Ad Duha. Whenever you feel disconnected, disheartened or depressed – read Surah Ad Duha and ponder over its meanings – Inshallah it will restore your faith and increase your belief in the greatness and power of Allah.

Release the Knot of Fear

I read this prayer last year when I went to Australia to deliver a research paper at the University.

Prophet Musa Anxiety Prayer

 Step 6

Treat Your Emotions with these Holistic/Natural Remedies/Tips

Eating Disorders are not just about Food. There’s something Deeper there. All emotions have physical results, which is why they can make us ill. Treat your underlying emotions, anxieties with Natural Remedies and some of these tips.

Echinacea- Nature’s Greatest Immune Booster

 

Apart from Echinacea, there are several other botanical extracts that also have a marked effect on the immune system including Ginseng, Valerian and Garlic.

Memory Booster

Honey and Black Seed Oil

Black cumin’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuron-protecting properties are likely responsible for the brain-boosting results.

Black seeds are also rich in essential oils, which have been linked to brain-stimulating benefits, and may put the brakes on the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which medical herbalist Kevin Spelman, PhD, says is a well-established pharmaceutical method for improving memory.

Honey’s natural properties make it a wonderful nourishment, food and nutrient, it replenishes and detoxes; it opens the pores, cleanses phlegm, and aids all inner organs, including stomach, colon, liver, kidney and bladder.

Dosage: 1/2 teaspoon of black seed and 1/2 teaspoon of honey three times a day

Homeopathic Remedies for Exam Stress

Arscenuicum is good for people who feel very anxious, especially after midnight. They may panic and not be able to settle because they feel restless. A runny tummy before the event often accompanies the symptoms.

Gelsemium can help those suffering from performance nerves, who may lack confidence and give up because they feel they may fail. Typically these people want to spend a penny frequently when under stress.

Lycopodium is an excellent remedy for the type of person who is very industrious and tends to over-prepare. Their low self-esteem can show itself by causing them to miss letters and words when reading or speaking. The symptoms are often at their worst between 4pm and 8pm or if they have missed a meal.

Argentum Nitricum is ideal for impulsive people who behave in an irritable way and then they regret it. They often hurry because they are worried about being late or missing deadlines.

If any of the above symptoms describes you, it could be worth giving homeopathic remedies a go.

Using Essential Oils to Boost Concentration

  Essential Oils can help to increase focus and enhance cognitive processing. Buy the oil that suites you the most. Find below a list of oils from Phillipessentials.com

http://i2.wp.com/waragainsteatingdisorder.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/3cf0f-brain-power-essential-oil.jpg?w=702

Cedarwood class

Blue Spruce Class

Citrus Fresh class

Peppermint class

Lavender class

You can purchase these magical oils from: Phillips Essentials

Some Easy Tips

Sleep Zzzzzz- If you are not getting enough sleep, your overall life is compromised. Poor sleep is associated with lower immune function and a slow functioning mind. Try to get 6-8 hours of sleep minimum.

Humor- Take out 5-10 minutes in a day and watch or read something funny. This is natural mind booster.

Keep the Faith- Scientific research shows that if you have a strong faith it will benefit your mind and your health.

Drink Often- Keep your Brain Cells Hydrated. We frequently forget the importance of liquids in our diet. Yet adequate hydration is important to all our body tissues, including our brains. Drinking approximately thirty-six to sixty-four ounces of water daily will help keep those thoughts flowing.

Take a Very Good MultiVitamin- The best multivitamin for memory should include 100percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid (folate) in addition to the minerals zinc and boron. The good news is that most multivitamins from reputable sources already contain adequate levels of these substances.

Exercise and NO Vigorous Exercise– When suffering from ED  A vigorous exercise can suppress the immune system for up to 24 hours. Gentle 20 minute walk or 30 min relaxation yoga or a 30 minute bike ride Once a Day.

 Don’t Forget

  “Regardless of your age, your brain has the ability to make new neurons and construct new neural pathways throughout your life.” Paskinski 

My Study Eating Plan

Please do note this is a plan I devised myself to help me get through my recent exams and assignment. I incorporated foods that were going to boost my mind. I would strongly encourage you to devise your own plan.

 According to Mind UK: It’s best not to skip breakfast, to keep regular meal times, and to choose foods that release energy slowly, such as oats and unrefined wholegrains. It’s also important to eat some protein foods, such as meat, fish, beans, eggs, cheese, nuts or seeds, every day.

According to Victor Marchione, M.D. aka The Food Doctor. There’s an old saying that “you are what you eat.” And that statement couldn’t be more true when it comes to maintaining your brain function and improving memory.

Download this Brilliant Booklet: Food and Your Mood

Five Best Foods for Memory

Tip to Ease Bloating- 3 Cups of Herbal Tea, Green or Peppermint Tea 30 Minutes before Breakfast.

8: 30 am Spinach and Mushroom Omelet with toast, fruit and Green Tea.

9 Breakfasts That Jump-Start Your Brain

9:15- Enter Study area

9:30 am-  Study for 50 minutes

10:20 am- Take 10 Minute Break

Drink A glass of water- stretch your muscles.

10:30am- Study for 50 minutes

11:20am- Take 30 minute break- Have a morning snack, A cup of herbal tea with energy nut bar, Fruit smoothie, Banana, Peanut Butter with Crackers- and then a 15 minute walk. Just move away from study area and relax. Surround yourself with beauty and light.

12:50- Study for 50 minute

1:40pm-  Break For Lunch and Prayer

Lunch Omega 3 Brain Magic- Brown Rice with Salmon with Asparagus. A pot of Fruit Yogurt with handful of berries and herbal tea.

After Lunch Prayer and Meditation- 1 Hr Break.

Recharged

3pm- Study 50 minutes

3.50pm- Take 10 minute Water Break

4 pm- Study 50 Minutes

Take 30 minutes Break- Afternoon Snack. Tea with 2 Biscuits or a Fruit Smoothie or a handful of nuts.

Do This Activity: Brain Workout

Breathe. Inhaling deeply brings a chemical called nitric oxide from the back of your nose and your sinuses into your lungs. This short-lived gas dilates the air passages in your lungs and does the same to the blood vessels surrounding them so you can get more oxygen into your body and brain.

Put away your Books and Now Run and Hide.

Dinner- Mind Boosting Soup with a slice of bread with Olive Oil Drizzle. Dessert Banana with Yogurt.

Other Great Mind Boosting Dinner Ideas

Chicken Soup for the Soul- Boost your Brain Power! You Can Improve and Energize Your Brain at Any Age. And trust me this is so true. According to the author of Chicken Soup for the Soul “is guaranteed to enhance the very structure of your brain, improve your memory, uplift your mood, protect against stroke and decrease your risk of Alzheimerʼs disease.”

Downloads:

Feeding Mind 37 Recipes Booklet

Night time Prayer, Meditation

Sleep Time Zzzzzz with a Cup of Hot Milk- Sleep allows our body to rejuvenate and repair!

Can’t Concentrate? Take A Break with This Healthy Mood Booster Smoothie

Recipe: Tarla Dalal

This juice is perfect for the times when you need to concentrate. This brain-booster will keep your ental faculties in top gear! Beetroots, carrots and spinach contain iron, folic acid and zinc, all of which improve the oxygen-carrying power of blood and thereby increase brainpower, concentration and memory. An all-in-one great drink to increase your vitality.

Makes 2 small glasses (300 ml).

Ingredients
3 medium sized carrots (unpeeled), cut into pieces
1 medium sized apple (unpeeled), cored and cut into pieces
6 to 8 spinach  leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 medium sized beetroot (unpeeled), cut into pieces
crushed ice to serve

Method


    HOPPER / JUICER

    1. Juice all the ingredients.
    2. Add some crushed ice in 2 glasses and pour the juice over it. Serve immediately.


    MIXER / BLENDER

    1. Blend all the ingredients using little water (if required) till smooth.
    2. Strain the juice using a strainer or a muslin cloth.
    3. Add some crushed ice in 2 glasses and pour the juice over it. Serve immediately.

     Demon Having an Upper Hand? Relapse/Slipping/Falling

    If You Slip and Fall, then please don’t fret over what is too late to change. Put it down to experience.

    Forgive yourself- Remember no one recovers from ED over night. Relapse and making mistakes is part of recovery. Allow yourself to be imperfect, let the mistakes go, kick the demon in the back by forgiving yourself and loving yourself.

    Your Exams and your stress over exams show that there’s something in life that you desire more than your ED.

    ED is a poison. The more you give into it, the bigger the demon proportionally becomes in your mind. By confronting it and dealing with it through help, treatment and support groups, it begins to dissolve away.

    Leave Yesterday’s sadness behind you and look forward to next day with renewed hope and positive energy. Have faith in yourself and your abilities.

    Remember that yesterday’s mistake can be tomorrow’s triumph.

    And Try to Let go of What you No Longer Need, ED, Control, False Promises of Demon of ED. Even though You may Still want it, let the demon go and seek help, so that you can be receptive and open to new ideas.

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    About Author

    Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

    3 Comments

    1. Your writing style is so great !! You really know how to keep the reader on your page !! Congratulations for doing this !! Great article !

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