We’re going through unprecedented, uncertain times. When suffering with an eating disorder, often during uncertain times we can search for certainty in things such as food, our weight or body shape.
Paula is our Senior Dietitian at Orri. Here, she shares her top tips for how to keep your recovery on track whilst making the transition to university.
Moving away to University can be an exciting time, but it can also present lots of challenges – especially in the current climate of uncertainty.
Finding yourself in a new environment, with new people and new routines can make managing your eating tricky, especially without the support of those who may have been helping you.
Here are Paula’s top tips…
1) Plan, plan, plan
For those catering for themselves try drawing up your plan in advance. Keep it simple, quick and easy to prepare, and avoid planning to cook things which have long lists of ingredients.
Remember, you have done lots of planning in the past, so there is no need to re-invent the wheel. Pick out what you know works well and focus on that.
2) Scouting for shops
Check out your local shops on arrival to find out what is available and source the best deals. It will be good idea to head off from home with a box of basics to get you started.
In these uncertain times, and with lockdown a reality for many students, make sure you have enough food to last you at least a week. Suss out the possibility of grocery deliveries and remember to book well ahead.
3) Draw up a good old fashioned shopping list
Now for the origami!
1) Fold your paper into 4 and label each section – Protein, Carbohydrates, Fruit & Veg & Dairy
2) Make sure that when you write your list, that there is something in each section
It may sound silly, but it will mean that you don’t return from the shops with a bag full of shopping and nothing for dinner! There will of course be a 5th section of student essentials which you will probably remember without writing down – we will leave that one to you!
4) Work out who is in your support network – and use them!
Align yourself with others who have a healthy and positive attitude to food and try and join in where you can.
This may be parents, friends, and your treatment team. Put in a lot of effort in the first few days and weeks to establish support at uni and stay connected. If things become difficult, be honest – don’t pretend that they are not. It is so important to keep communicating!
5) Save time for yourself
Allow time for yourself and time to eat.
At Orri one of the things many of our clients find useful is journaling. It provides a valuable opportunity to pause and reflect but it will need some dedicated time, as will eating.
Try not to get to into bad habits and don’t let yourself make excuses as to why you can’t do something. You won’t miss out by finding the time and taking a break to eat.
6) Get the day off to a good start
You may meet people who skip breakfast, but will this be a good idea for you? Breakfast is an important meal of the day.
A good bowl of cereal and milk and a piece of toast is cheap, quick and easy to prepare and will get the day off to a good start. I know you will have heard this many times before – but it is true!
7) Drink water to stay hydrated
Dehydration can cause confusion and impair brain function – which is not helpful at university.
A rough guide to how much you need is 1.5 to 2 litres per day which is equivalent to 6 to 8 full glasses or mugs depending on size. A rule of thumb would be one with each of your meals and snacks and 2 extra.