How staying at home can be challenging for those battling eating disorders

Eating disorders can be especially challenging to navigate during stay-at-home orders.

The current stay-at-home order is tough on many Minnesotans, but poses some unique challenges for people with eating disorders.

The isolation can create temptation for dangerous habits. While being at home and close to our kitchens can be a benefit for some, it can be a curse for others.

Whether it’s overeating or undereating, the pandemic in ways is a recipe for a relapse.

“A lot of what we are being asked to do right now feels very similar to what I was doing when I was very sick with my eating disorder,” said Rachel Krejci.

Krejci has been battling an eating disorder since she was 12 years old.

In recent years, she finished grad school, adopted her dog Grace and joined a masters swim team, which has all contributed to her health.

With her pool closed and routine completely disrupted, Krejci is relying even more heavily on her weekly check-ins with the clinical director of the Melrose Center, Heather Gallivan.

Gallivan reminded her the stay-at-home order and working from home is a daily struggle for everyone on the spectrum of eating disorders, from anorexia to binge eating.

“For a lot of people who struggle with binge eating or emotional over-eating, they use food and eating as a way to cope and stress anxiety,” Gallivan said. “So, when it’s readily available it can make it even more difficult to manage those behaviors.”

She suggests continuing to check in on friends and family with issues surrounding food. She also said to offer to grocery shop, have virtual dinner dates and keep the conversations going and keep isolation at a minimum.

Counseling, while not in person, is available, too.

Krejci is taking all the advice and says it’s helping.

“It would be very, very difficult to be in the middle of this and not have that connection continue,” she said.