Archive for Relationship with Food
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 email@example.com or visit our web program or products pages and get started learning the tools that will change your life for good, today.
Feeling Safe is The Key to Eating Disorder Recovery
It is a fact that feeling safe is the key to eating disorder recovery. And the key to feeling safe is to have a way of trusting that you are thinking clearly, seeing the situation / person at hand clearly; that you have a set of values that are reasonable and principles that make sense that guide your actions towards yourself and others and which you see yourself turning to whenever you feel anxious or unsettled or have sensitive decisions to make.
If you don’t have that package of trust in your clear thinking and values that ground you you will continue to feel insecure and anxious in the world and in your relationships with others and you will continue to lean on coping strategies – confused stress management tools like eating disorders, binging, dieting, drinking, isolating and procrastination to try to numb and soothe yourself.
Invite yourself, if you feel up to it to ask yourself what you remember about your younger years (childhood, adolescence, young adulthood). Who were your primary role models for relationships? What kinds of things did they do and say to you, themselves, or others when they were angry or sad or scared or wanted you or someone else to do something for them?
How respectful, direct and clear were they?
And how did they respond to requests from you? Did they shame you, berate you, judge you? Or did they acknowledge your need and discuss the different ways that they would be willing to meet your need, in a respectful, calm manner?
Verbal and physical abuses are traumas.
Most everyone has experienced the humiliation and damaging effects of verbal abuse.
If our ego strength and our sense of esteem are solid when these events occur (ie. we are an adult, solid in ourselves; or a teen with very good support and these events are an extreme exception and not the norm), we can slough it off or work through it with some help.
If we are already feeling a lack of security and acceptance in our world, every experience of verbal abuse, for example: Judgements, name-calling, put-downs, and yelling will constitute a drama.
Physical abuse; slapping, hitting, spanking and outright beatings, or threats of the same, regardless of their purpose in the eyes of the punisher, are traumatic events.
Neglect is trauma. The act of having your needs and your Self ignored or devalued is traumatic.
So, don’t tell yourself that you were never abused or traumatized. Sexual assault or beatings are just the most extreme forms of trauma we experience as young and powerless people. There are many forms of behaviour that will not meet our needs for safety and respect and which will lead us to feel hurt and traumatized.
The more dependent on the person we are, the greater the experience of the trauma and the more our mind will seek to both self-blame (make it about us) and to numb ourselves from the situation (through the use of coping strategies like binging, dieting, eating disorders, drinking etc.).
If you’re stuck still, feeling a lack of confidence in yourself or in relationships that trigger you to feel unsafe or insecure, let me help you step free of that pattern of thinking that is keeping you stuck.
Change can be fast and simple when you have simple tools that work and a skilled guide.
Reach out and let’s get started creating healthy relationships, solid self-esteem and get you trusting yourself to see the world clearly and handle things fairly.
Building A Balanced Life is Key to Recovery
It’s possible that you are feeling anxious and insecure often in your life, or that you hear yourself say things about your frustrationg with certain situations and relationship(s) which are clear indicators of unmet needs, and yet you are still ignoring those emotional cues of unmet needs which leads you to feel overrun, unbalanced, and to use food or other substances to cope. If you’d like to stop binging or struggling with diets and weight loss, or drinking, or any other harmful coping strategy then it’s important that you know that building a balanced life is key to recovery.
It’s a simple fact, like it or lump it, that as long as any aspect of your life remains unbalanced or your needs are unmet in certain areas, you will use your coping strategies.
For example. Those of you who have a disordered relationship with food, unconsciously use thoughts about eating or about what you weigh, and the act of eating or of restricting (and possibly purging through extreme diets, laxatives, exercise or vomiting) as a means of self-medicating and self-soothing. The chemistry you create in your body with the thoughts, sensations, and behaviours associated with your coping strategy of choice (drinking, binging, purging, drugs, t.v. etc.) raises your dopamine level artificially and temporarily triggers feelings of release, peace, nurturing and comfort.
Only problem is, as you know, that sensation is short-lived and soon you’re needing another fix to numb the negative chatter in your brain and the emotional sensations of anxiety and depression that accompany it.
The key to stepping free for good from any eating disorder or addictive behaviour is to have a 2 pronged approach which teaches you how to relate to your substance/coping strategy of choice is a natural, balanced way while also teaching you how to build solid self-trust and self-esteem.
The solution is simple and can be speedy when you have a skilled guide with simple tools. I can help you step free of the chaos and create balance and passion like you’ve never known.
Reach out and let’s discuss what’s going on in your life now that you’d like to change and how we can make that a reality.
Body Focus Hides Emotional Pain
When we automatically focus on what we are eating or shouldn’t be eating, calorie counting, and losing weight, whenever we start to feel anxious or unsettled about anything we effectively keep ourselves in a state of denial about painful experiences in our lives. Your emphasis on body focus hides emotional pain that you don’t want to feel or aren’t sure how to manage. If you want to stop feeling so anxious, insecure and stressed about your body and food or any other harmful coping strategy like eating disorders, binging, drinking or drugs you’ve got to change the way you’re thinking about yourself and the world around you and not allow your instinctive brain to run free telling you stories of doom and gloom and of what’s wrong with you.
If you’re using any of those coping strategies I mentioned above it means you have a strong need for acceptance from others and will go out of your way to please others, even if it means sacrificing yourself.
This need for acceptance, coupled with feelings of low self-worth, keeps you stuck in a world of perfectionism, where your primary focus is on your body, how unacceptable you perceive it to be, and what life will be like when you finally have the body you desire.
As long as you believe that your body is the source of your unhappiness, you are able to stay in denial about the underlying causes of your distress.
What you fail to understand, because of past life events and your confused interpretation of them, is that you are a capable human being, who can safely be responsible for your emotions and experiences, and who can learn to feel confident and secure in yourself and to show respect for yourself and your needs, without losing the support and respect of others.
Trust this. Just because you haven’t experienced it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or that you can’t create it. You don’t really believe you know everything there is to know do you?
You may be afraid that you can’t change but that fear is very different from an absolute fact and I know from my own experience and 20+ years as a counselling specialist that if you just show up and you’re willing to try something new, you will be amazed with how quickly and simply patterns that may have plagued you for decades change for good.
Reach out and let me show you how.
In exploring your feelings about boundary setting and why you might feel resistant to it, it can be helpful to explore your beliefs too.
Think about a current relationship in your life where you often find yourself feeling anxious, insecure, overrun or resentful and then take a moment to consider your answer to the following questions:
What is it about this person or the relationship you have with them that triggers these feelings?
What would you like to see happening in this relationship that would reduce the anxiety and insecurity etc. that you feel with them?
What commitments would you need to make with yourself about what you will or won’t do in order to lessen those feelings of being overrun or of resentment?
What would you need to ask them for or tell them you will or won’t do in order to make that happen?
What thoughts and feelings surface when you consider setting those boundaries with that person?
Are you fearing judgement, anger, labeling as needy or high maintenance; or maybe you fear that they would reject you?
Why are you settling for patterns in your relationships that don’t feel good to you?
Where did you get the idea that you are not worthy of being treated with dignity and respect? That you are not worthy of getting what you need and desire in your relationships?
And then considering whomever gave you those ideas or treated you that way in your past ask yourself this:
Why am I willing to believe that they were healthy, functional, ‘right’ people?
What do you know now about them and their lives that could, if you allowed it, change the way you interpreted those events? Maybe they were struggling with their own depression and self-esteem. Maybe they were abused as children and lacked the ability to be nurturing and considerate of your feelings.
Allow yourself to see the truth of these relationships. And then think about the present and ask yourself:
If those people who taught me to feel so worthless and afraid we not 100% well or secure in themselves, why am I continuing to live my life as though they were right to treat me badly and as though there really is something wrong with me?
Stop living in the past. Let yourself see the reality of the present and find relationships that will mirror what is true about you – you are worthy of love and acceptance and of peaceful, loving, fun relationships. You are worthy of asking for what you need.
Let’s get started!!!
I’m here to help.