What is Disordered Eating?
We all struggle with some form of disordered eating at some point in our lives. Eating because we are stressed, because we are emotional or because we are playing a game with food.
In the moments when we can describe eating as disordered, somehow we have started to distort the way we use food in our lives. Some of us will feel out of control with food, eating large amounts of food, quickly. Others will start restricting food, because they need to feel in control when the world around them feels chaotic.
Stress is a factor for many of us, as we push ourselves hard to get things right, be perfect, please others and hurry up to get things finished. Stress rises inside of us along with anxiety and worry, climaxing with fear of a negative outcome.
Changes in our body chemistry will encourage weight gain and heighten our appetite. High levels of daily stress can easily lead to obesity.
Reaching for food when we are feeling hurt, sad, angry, confused, lonely… and the list goes on… means we are soothing and distracting ourselves from our feelings.
How Disordered Eating Makes us Feel
Emotional eating can make us feel excited and relieved in the short term, but is quickly followed with self-loathing and recrimination.
The games we set up for ourselves with food can be complex. Not eating can be a way of communicating how you feel about someone, while overeating in social situations can be a way of pleasing others, rather than attending to our own needs.
The rollercoaster ride of yo-yo dieting evokes familiar feelings of hope, despair and failiure resulting in cycling bouts of weight loss and weight regain, with the end result of ill health and a progressively heavier weight.
I worked with WM for a time after a severe relapse in my eating disorder. As I began to face the truth of my situation, I was kick-started back in to recovery. For me, it wasn’t really about food or weight; it was about my thoughts and feelings underneath. WM offered me a safe and supportive space where I was able to examine the real problem – control. Together, we began to explore what I was actually running away from. Myself.