My Confusion and Shame around Food

When your eating behaviour spirals out of control or you body is feeling huge and uncomfortable, sometimes you just want to hide away and disappear from the world. What would people think if they knew what really went on behind closed doors? Surely other people don’t use food in this way? Thoughts of others judging you; humiliating you and calling you names, flood your thoughts. However no-one needs to do this for you. You know that you are ‘disgusting, flawed and damaged’. It sometimes feels like an inner badness in the core of your being that never really goes away. It is profoundly confusing and hard to make sense of.

If you relate to this, you might well be experiencing deep feelings of shame. You may not have considered before, that this shame may be linked to your restricting, bingeing, purging or body obsession.

Possibly in your early life, you may have experienced a considerable degree of criticism, judgement and blame. As a child you may have learned to suppress your own feelings and to behave in a certain way to gain acceptance and approval from others. Shame becomes held in the body along with memories, thoughts, feelings and beliefs. These feelings do not evaporate; instead being channelled into ways of coping to manage distress such as bingeing or restricting.  Unconsciously, the eating disorder becomes a way of coping. It helps you dissociate and distract yourself from the painful effects of shame. Externally you may pretend that all is well.

Although initially, you may experience some relief through the eating disorder behaviours in managing your distress; over time they exacerbate the problem further.

You may have tried to tackle your eating problem before focusing more on symptoms and the presenting issue. Possibly, you might realise that a more in depth exploration might be helpful to address the underlying concerns. If you would like to take the first step to exploring this more in a safe and supportive setting, please do come along to our workshop on Saturday 30th May, with Deborah Fields.