Having An Eating Disorder At University

Having An Eating Disorder At University

How common are eating disorders at university?

It’s hard to say but, in 2013, the eating disorder charity Beat spoke to 200 university students who had eating disorders. The charity found that 32% of the students were diagnosed after moving away to university.

 

What if you already have an eating disorder before going to university?

The transition of moving away and the new independence it gives you can be a struggle – for example, there’s often no one to help you manage your eating habits. This is something that your family, friends or doctors at home may have been helping you with. It’s likely that you’ll be moving away from these established support networks when you start university.

Alongside this, the possible stresses of university, including deadlines and a new social life, could also put a lot of pressure on you.

It can be tricky to find new means of support but this doesn’t have to be the case. Your university should have a student support service where you can seek help with your wellbeing. It’s also worth signing up to your local doctor and making them aware of your situation.

But what about those who were fine before university and now suddenly… aren’t?

Eating disorders often build up slowly and derive from many factors in a person’s life. The most confident person can struggle with their mental health just as much as a self-conscious person.

 

Why might someone develop an eating disorder at uni?

There are many factors that can culminate in an eating disorder. Some may struggle with confidence, self-esteem, pressure or stress and an eating disorder may develop as a coping mechanism.

“There is also the freedom to engage in disordered eating behaviours because you are in control of your cooking and mealtimes,” Una says. “If you are vulnerable to an eating disorder the transition to adult life at university means it can be very easy to spiral.”

 

I think I’m struggling

If you think you’re struggling with your own eating disorder then it’s great that you’re reading this and searching for support. That’s a big first step.

The next step would be to see your GP or, if you don’t feel able to, get in contact with a charity such as Beat who can support you.

Don’t let your eating disorder dictate your future and don’t let it put you off going to university. There is support out there.

 

Someone I know is struggling and I’m far away

The best thing you can do is keep talking to them. Keeping up contact can ensure they know that someone is there for them and could even encourage them to reach out to you.

If you feel able to bring it up with them, do it gently. “They might deny things or get angry at you,” says Una. “This is normal but it’s important not to get angry back at them.”

You could send them links to Beat so they can reach out discreetly in their own time. Ultimately, you can’t fix someone’s eating disorder and you’re not expected to. All you can do is be the best, supportive friend or family member you can be.

 

How could this all be prevented?

Be sure to have support networks in place. Organise weekly (or even daily) catch ups with family and friends, sign up with your local doctor and know where to go within your university for support.

 

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7 Uni Life Hacks

7 Uni Life Hacks

We’re not going to tell you to use a glass as a speaker or to put food colouring in your milk so no one steals it because you either won’t do it because you’re not nuts or you will and you’ll realise it was a bad idea. Here are 7 actually useful life hacks that are perfect for uni!

1. Find your fave Netflix genre in a flash
Seriously, this guide is absolutely awesome. Know that you want to watch a movie about American football or a tear-jerking romance but not sure where to look? Just pop a little code onto the end of your URL and you’re done! This hack only works when you’re using Netflix on a desktop or laptop computer but, you’re at uni, so chances are you will be. All you need to do is put this code after the /browse/genre/ section of the URL. Easy film findin’!

2. Use washi tape as an easy and safe way to decorate
Washi tape doesn’t have the same amount of stickiness as your standard sticky tape does but it holds up paper really easily. This means you can still poster-ize your room without the risk of all of the paint coming off with your posters. Plus, washi tape comes in the cutest designs and colours so it’s all about the personality! Paperchase always have a cool selection will loads of different designs for you to choose from and you can grab 10% off using your UNiDAYS discount!

3. Keep your timetable on your phone
Whether you add recurring events onto your iCal and set reminders or you simply take a photo of your timetable and keep in in your favourite photos, keep your timetable handy. This will make sure that hopefully you don’t miss lectures and seminars by accident!

4. Colour-code everything
Got a tonne of keys that you can’t remember what they’re for? Paint the tips of them with nail varnish or acrylic paint and you’ll learn that green is for the front door and orange is for the patio, etc! The same goes with your different subjects or topics notebooks. Separate things into colours and there’s more chance that you’ll take the right notebook to the right class.

5. Make your own sleep potion
OK, hear me out on this one! Most halls and student flats don’t allow candles and naked flames, cos, danger. So, if you need a little relaxation of an evening, whip yourself up a stress-relieving room spray from essential oils and water.

 

  1. Stains no more!
    Srsly. This will be your go-to pin for the rest of your university life. Hell, probably your adult life too. I still Google “How to get X out of X” probably once a week because I am super clumsy. Guaranteed you’ll get pretty much all of these things on something at some point in your 3-4 years at uni. Stock up on the items that you’ll need to get things out with, chances are you’ll have them in your store cupboards anyway.

 

  1. Re-use candle holders for storage
    This is a hack that’s both useful, recycling friendly and looks damn cute. If you’ve got old candle holders (at home, obv because halls don’t letcha have fire) then bring them to uni with you to store your stuff. This nifty storage trick works with pens, makeup brushes, toothbrushes, mascara and loads more! Plus, it doesn’t have to be just fancy candle jars, you could re-use jam jars and printed coffee tins.