If you’ve been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), you may be worried about the implications that it can have on your long-term health. You might be especially concerned about your weight.
According to a study by Harvard Medical School, people living with Borderline Personality Disorder for 10 years or more had a 23 percent chance of being overweight and about 30 percent were considered obese. If you were already overweight or obese at the time of your BPD diagnosis, you might have a harder time losing weight than the rest of the population.
Causes of Obesity
Obesity is often caused by several factors in your life, including the following:
- Where you live: You may not have access to healthy food options.
- Your schedule: You may not have the time to plan and make healthy meals.
- Your budget: Although you want to eat healthy, sometimes fast food or junk food is more convenient and less expensive.
- Your need for control: As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, you might give in more easily to food binges to control your emotions.
- Your upbringing: You may have grown up in a household with food issues or witnessed poor eating habits as a child.
- Your knowledge about nutrition: You may not know the ins and outs of building a nutrition plan that’s right for you.
What You Can do to Prevent Obesity
Obesity is a very difficult condition to treat. It often means making drastic lifestyle and dietary changes, and results aren’t always immediate. However, there are some things you can do right now to make sure that obesity doesn’t get the best of you while you are managing your Borderline Personality Disorder:
- Talk about your feelings. Rather than “eating your feelings” every time you feel emotionally charged or out of control, write or record your thoughts to review with your therapist the next time you see him or her. Or speak to a trusted friend or family member about your state of mind before heading straight to the refrigerator.
- Count your calories. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to do this every day. Keeping a food diary once a week and adding up the calories can help you be mindful all week long and keep you in balance.
- Find a nutritionist. Based on your own unique physical profile, some foods may be better for you than others. For example, if you have a family history of diabetes, you want to stay away from refined sugar, but maybe fruit or a low-sugar agave-sweetened soda may satisfy your craving for something sweet. A nutritionist can help you feel good without feeling like you’re dieting.
- Get active. Do 10 leg lifts while waiting for the elevator. Park in the farthest parking lot space at the supermarket. Start every day with a quiet walk through your neighborhood. Find pockets of time that you normally spend “idling” and fill it with simple movements and stretches. The gym is not for everyone; be creative.
- Keep track. Most importantly, keep track of your weight (just be careful not to become too obsessive). Once a week should do the trick. For instance, you may want to record your weight and some notes about how you spent your week. This way, you’ll start to see concrete connections between good diet and exercise choices and a healthy weight.
If you are in treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder, you will likely be paired with a nutritionist who can help you learn healthy eating habits so that you can better manage your weight.