Posts Tagged eating disorder treatment
This week we’re continuing our fantabulous exploration of Natural Eating troubleshooting with an answer to the question:
“How do I “not feel guilty” for eating something when I’ve been telling myself/or others have been telling me for years that certain foods are just plain bad or that they’ll make me fat?”
First of all, when it comes to food, the most important thing we can do is to come back to Natural Eating basics whenever we feel anxious or unsettled around food, or feel drawn to eat when we aren’t hungry.
I hope you enjoyed the first instalment of the Natural Eating Q&A last week. As I mentioned in that article, I’m going to spend the next few weeks answering some questions that I often hear clients asking regarding natural eating.
Continuing on with the list of common questions that I posted in last week’s article, this week I’m going to address the question:
How do I know when I’m full?
For those of you who have been overeating to cope with stressful life situations and anxious thinking or depressed moods, it is quite possible that you have come to associate a feeling of over-full, or absolutely stuffed, with being full. It is important to learn to discern the difference between comfortable, appropriate levels of fullness and downright stuffed.
It’s funny how much correspondence I will get about a general discussion topic but how little I will get from an email article that has anything whatsoever to do with topics like goal setting or learned helplessness. You know what I mean. It’s great to read and get ideas and to feel like someone else knows where you’re at and that there is hope for you to heal and be completely free of food and body image stress; the coping strategies of emotional eating, restriction (anorexia), or binging (binge eating disorder), or purging (bulimia) and the underlying co-dependent training and all-or-nothing thinking that trigger you to feel the need to do those things. That’s what we all want: a life that is free from self-harm and self-loathing and chronic anxiety and insecurity. And that’s what you can get from The CEDRIC Method and from working through these articles.
Exercise is often a key component of the cycle of eating disorders and using food to cope. We feel so inherently flawed and unacceptable when we struggle with disordered eating in any way, that our body becomes our worst enemy and therefore, we believe, it is deserving of as much mistreatment verbally and physically as we can dish out.
Thus we may choose to simply abandon our body altogether and not exercise for years and years. Or we may choose to exercise for hours a day regardless of the signals our body is sending us in the form of fatigue or pain. Either way, we’re creating more stress physically and psychologically and we’re nowhere near dealing with the real issue that triggered this behaviour in the first place.
Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa (Physiological)
- Over-excessive concern with body image
- Extreme weight loss due to reduced food intake
- Feelings of being fat in spite of increasing thinness
- Obsessive Behaviour: With food, with dieting, and with exercising
Other physiological symptoms may include: weakness, swelling of the neck, cessation of menstruation, low pulse and blood pressure, ulcers, loss of tooth enamel due to repeated vomiting, thyroid dysfunction, insomnia, hormone and electrolyte imbalances, potassium deficiency, and others.
Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa (Psychological)
- Loss of self-esteem
- Fears of growing up
- Difficult parent/child relationships
- Feelings of inadequacy and inferiority
- Peer and parent pressure
- Deep feelings of guilt and shame
Anorexia is also often accompanied by extreme over-activity, panic, anxiety, and sometimes drug abuse.
“When I use my tools, they work! Things are easier, more peaceful. I just don’t feel the need to use food to cope when I use my tools.” I hear this a lot from clients. And it’s true. However, from clients who are a little new with the process, there is usually a “…but” attached to the end of it and the rest of the statement sounds something like, “…it’s just so hard to use my tools.” Or “….it takes too long and I don’t have the time or energy to do anything other than eat.” Or even “….what if they stop working? I need to hang on to my use of food to cope just in case my new tools stop working.”
Okay, for starters, under what circumstances could increased awareness and compassion for yourself and others ever stop working for anything? They are the key to the happiness in every single happy person.
At The CEDRIC Centre we believe:
- Food is not the problem.
- Food is just a coping strategy; regardless of whether you overeat, under eat, or binge and purge.
- Until you identify and heal the underlying concerns from your past, your present and/or your future that are triggering you to use food to cope you will continue to overeat, restrict or purge.
- Any effort to control your use of food through restriction, without a clear understanding of why you are using food to cope in the first place, can not be successful for any length of time.
- Complete and lasting recovery from restriction, overeating, and bingeing is possible. Regardless of how long this pattern has been a part of your life, you can anticipate achieving complete freedom from the use of food to cope.
- A natural relationship with food means you eat when you are hungry and you stop when you are full. Barring any medical condition, it is impossible to be anything other than a natural and healthy weight for your body if you are eating in response to your body’s natural signals of hunger and fullness.
- Our goal is to support you to achieve a natural relationship with food and to heal the underlying triggers that have led you to use food to cope in the past.
When we focus on calories and losing weight, we keep ourselves in a state of denial about painful experiences in our lives. We have a strong need for acceptance from others and will go out of our way to please others, even if it means sacrificing ourselves. This need for acceptance, coupled with feelings of low self-worth, keeps us stuck in a world of perfectionism, where our primary focus is on our body, how unacceptable we perceive it to be, and what life will be like when we finally have the body we desire.
As long as we believe that our body is the source of our unhappiness, we are able to stay in denial about the underlying causes of our distress with an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa. What we fail to understand is that we are capable human beings, who can safely be responsible for our emotions and experiences, and who can learn to show respect for ourselves and our needs, without losing the support and respect of others.
If we’ve never felt the sense of peace and flow that comes from being completely in the moment through meditation, prayer, or some activity which has captured our full attention, it is likely that we will confuse the sense of connectedness and happiness that we can sometimes feel with friends, family and peers with the sense of oneness and peace that comes from a higher, spiritual connection. It is this confusion that inevitably leads us to believe that in order to be happy and to feel peaceful we need the approval of someone outside of ourselves.
This mindset makes us exceptionally vulnerable. In order for us to feel truly happy and confident and secure in ourselves and in our world, we must come to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are capable of meeting our own needs for connectedness, peace and happiness.