Anxiety and Eating Disorders
This brief article will help you to appreciate the connection between anxiety and eating disorders. Eating disorders of any kind,whether binging / overeating, emotional eating, anorexia, bulima, or orthorexia or others all have an underlying root of anxiety that is triggered by a combination of painful life experiences and confused thinking.
It is the confused thinking part of the equation that really has the most lingering impact.
Long after the traumatic or unsatisfying event has occurred, the confused thinking will be telling and re-telling us stories of what’s wrong or unacceptable about us that triggered that traumatic event to happen in the first place and how we will always be lacking.
This thinking creates chronic anxiety and insecurity and influences our choices and our interactions with the people in our lives, thus keeping that old trauma and that confused thinking alive and well long after the triggering situation has ended.
Too often we focus on the most obvious issue (the food, what we weigh, how much we’re drinking etc.) and try to make changes to that without understanding that those behaviours are truly just symptoms of the combination of painful past experiences and confused thinking that are triggering anxiety and insecurity that we are then responding to with the food, alcohol, overspending etc.
In other words – when we are stuck in harmful coping patterns we think it looks like this:
Binging makes me feel bad which makes me not like myself and feel insecure and anxious. If I stopped the binging I’d feel less anxious and insecure and things would be better so let’s impose a diet and control my food and it will all work out. Right?
I imagine your life experience is evidence that this is not the case. Mine sure was.
In reality what’s really going on is this:
I have some painful experiences in my past where I felt unsafe or unimportant or unloved. I interpreted these events as being about something wrong or lacking in me. This made me feel anxious and insecure. This led me to interact with others in ways that made things awkward because I didn’t feel safe sharing myself fully with others. This led me to assume that I was right and that there was something wrong with me which made me feel more anxious and insecure etc. etc. etc. The side-effect of me feeling so anxious was that I reached for food (or drugs, alcohol, internet etc) to cope with my anxiety and to numb and soothe myself.
Because the thinking and anxiety have been a part of my brain and body for so long they didn’t stand out as the root of the issue – it is the behaviour that is more obvious and the consequence of being overweight or intoxicated that stands out and so I assume it is the problem.
In reality, my thinking and the emotions that those thoughts trigger is my real problem. And if I really want to change my food/drinking etc. I need to learn the tools I need to change how I think.
If you’re ready to learn how to change the way you think and therefore change how anxious and insecure you feel and naturally change the grip food has on you, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our web program or products pages and get started learning the tools that will change your life for good, today.