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Eating Disorder Online Support Group for Those Struggling

Establishing a healthy connection with food can be challenging, especially for people dealing with or recovering from disordered eating. It can't simply be resolved by talking to friends about it or perusing online resources for knowledge and information.

However, we live in an age where technology can aid in recovery from eating disorders as a supplement to medical care. You can learn how to track your habits, enhance your mental health, learn coping skills, and take proactive measures to build a healthier mind and body. 

Support groups are often one of the first steps for people struggling with an eating disorder or body image issues. They are also amazing, safe spaces for those committed to continuing a healthy recovery journey and maintaining connections with other like-minded people. 

Many people have never even met another person in eating disorder treatment, and it can feel incredibly isolating to be alone on an eating disorder recovery journey. Friends and family members mean well but don’t always know how to best support those struggling and may not understand on a personal level.

At Relay, our focus is on connection. When you join us, you are part of more than just an online eating disorder support group; you are part of a team. 

What Is Disordered Eating?

If this is step one of your journey, you should be proud to seek help in whatever form you choose to do so. Disordered eating can take on several different forms. Here are some of the most common eating disorders:

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa, commonly known as anorexia, involves food restriction. Those struggling with anorexia will often restrict certain foods or have a predetermined number of calories, usually far below what is healthy, that they will not go over in a day.

Bulimia Nervosa

Commonly known as bulimia, people with this eating disorder tend to binge food, eat to the point of discomfort, and then purge that food later. Common purging methods include vomiting, laxatives, diuretics, or excessive exercise. 

Binge Eating Disorder

Like bulimia, binge eating disorder involves binging excessive amounts of food far beyond one’s typical caloric requirements. However, in binge eating disorder, the person does not purge the food. It is common for those with binge eating disorder to eat in secret, rapidly, and until full to the point of discomfort. 

Binging will happen whether or not the person is hungry. People with this disorder often struggle with extreme weight gain and suffer much more stigma than those with other eating disorders because it is more socially acceptable to be thin than overweight. 

Pica

Less known than the eating disorders above, pica occurs when the person desires to eat materials that are not food. Pica can be incredibly dangerous since the cravings may be for items that can be hazardous to one’s health. Common pica cravings include chalk, dirt, laundry detergent, cloth, and more. 

What We Do

Our main priority is providing a pathway from eating disorders to a happy and healthy lifestyle. Based on research, we learned that one of the most significant obstacles for those seeking recovery was a lack of connection with others who faced the same challenges.

What is our solution? We set you up with a team of approximately eight to 10 members who know what you are going through, whether allies or others struggling as well. We strive to connect people in similar age groups and walks of life — to connect people who would likely be friends outside the virtual community's constraints.

The experience is completely customizable, allowing you to select your recovery preferences. 

Our Principles: Connection and Accountability

Relay’s approach focuses on two main elements that are key to success in any field: connection and teamwork.

Connection and Teamwork

We want you to overcome your eating disorder and find other people who want to do that too. You don’t have to do this alone. Find your tribe and connect with people who understand your struggles and want to succeed just as much as you do. Think of it like a phone helpline, except not outdated — Relay connects you with someone who truly cares and understands. 

Accountability

Accountability is often the missing piece of the recovery puzzle. Relay offers accountability — without the shame or blame. We all know that together we can accomplish more than we can in isolation. Relay is more than just a place to chat and share your feelings. 

We provide the tools and system for people to work together as a team so everyone can meet their goals. In a tight-knit community environment, effective accountability can be shame-free and supportive. 

Relay: More Than a Support Group

Eating disorder support groups are fantastic. They are time-tested, provide connection, and help people tangibly. However, traditional support groups do have some limitations. 

In our modern world, we just aren’t as comfortable as we used to be with meeting a bunch of strangers to talk about eating disorder recovery. In-person meetings can be awkward, scary, and a big time commitment. 

In the pre-internet age, this type of interaction was already difficult enough. Now that so many of us have become used to online interactions, it can seem impossible to attend a traditional in-person meeting or support group. It takes massive courage.

That’s why we have structured our program to allow you to connect with people who truly understand. And we allow you to do it from the comfort and safety of your home and your comfort zone. Using Relay can cut through the isolation while maintaining the anonymity, comfort, and approachability of a meeting. You can be as anonymous as you choose to be. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and safe. 

What We Offer That Makes a Difference

There are plenty of virtual support groups out there that are available to help you with your recovery. What is the Relay difference? 

We offer many different in-app tools that can help you with your recovery, and they are all based on the science of addiction and recovery. You will find a recovery group to hold you accountable and offer recovery support without stepping foot in a treatment center. 

Relay is more than a once-a-week meeting; it's with you seven days a week. Unlike other internet platforms, Relay is far more than a group chat; we offer science-based, addiction-focused and recovery-focused features.

Accountability Reports

One of our most helpful tools is our daily accountability report. You can assess your recovery and decide whether each day was a “success” or a “setback.” And remember: no one is judging you. Every person you communicate with on our platform is going through the same thing that you are, and you can be completely honest with them.

Reflection

Sometimes simply reflecting and writing about your day can make all the difference. With Relay, you can reflect on what made your day successful or unsuccessful, and you even have the option to write yourself private notes that are not visible to your team members. 

Emotional Awareness Exercises

One reason inpatient treatment programs are so helpful is because patients are constantly checking in with mental health professionals, healthcare providers, facilitators, clinicians, and others who are there to help them. 

With Relay, you can set up scheduled reminders to check in with yourself at various intervals throughout the day. This type of mindfulness plays a unique role in the recovery process, as it forces you to look inward and do the hard work of checking in on your feelings. 

Chats and Messaging

The most community-focused part of Relay’s platform is our Team Chat and the ability to message anyone on your team anytime. This peer support is an absolute lifeline when you are at your lowest and find yourself in a moment of need. 

It can function like social media — the positive aspects, anyways — focusing on vulnerability and group support rather than traditional status updates. 

For someone struggling with bulimia who may be on the verge of a binge and purge cycle, being able to reach out to someone who understands without any shame is vital. It is the missing piece of the puzzle to stopping disordered eating. 

How To Get Started

Checking us out is a great indication that you are ready to make a change or help a loved one recover. Join the movement and find the right team today! 

All you need to do is download our app, take a look, and decide if this is the right choice for you. No matter where you are in your journey, we will be able to help. Everyone needs a helping hand now and again, and your Relay team will be there when you need it most. 

You don’t have to do it alone; you can find the connection you seek without the stress and anxiety of face-to-face meetings. Relay is self-care at its finest, without any isolation or loneliness. 

Unite with a group of people just as invested in their eating disorder recovery as you are, and see how far we can go together. Reach out when you’re ready, and find your team for the journey. 


Sources:

The Potential of Technology-Based Psychological Interventions for Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa: A Systematic Review and Recommendations for Future Research | PubMed

Eating Disorders Helpline | Chat, Call, or Text | NEDA

Social Support networks and eating disorders: an integrative review of the literature | PubMed