Eating Disorders and Food Addiction
With the right knowledge about Eating Disorders and a sense of healthy self-worth, you can take in the criticism of others without it tearing you down most of the time. Still, we all have to be aware of just how impactful what we say can be. Friends and family have the potential to help you reach your highest highs or to drag you down to your lowest lows.
How Did Eating Disorder Begin?
Unfortunately, it is very often the case that eating disorders begin with a hurtful comment from another person who is close to you. A mother, father, sibling, or friend telling you that you’re fat and need to lose weight. This kind of statement can sometimes trigger you to years of dysfunction.
These problems are preventable, and you are valuable, as you are. Worth comes from within, not a number on a scale.
Much of our media and culture would have you believe that the physical body is what is essential and valuable. It is despicable what has happened in our culture and nation, realize how flawed and wrong these views are.
You Are an Individual
What gives you worth is what is within. What is inside of you is complex, beautiful, and unlike anything that is in the physical world.
Relationships must be founded first and foremost upon emotional connections if they are to be fulfilling, joyous, and whole. Though it can be difficult, you must form habits to focus on people from mental, emotional, and spiritual perspectives. The less you focus on the physical, the happier you will be. (While still taking care of yourself of course) This enables you to treat others with far more kindness, compassion, and value.
You will feel happy and fulfilled yourself, having a depth to your thoughts as well as genuine connections in your interactions.
Anorexia and bulimia, much of the time, continue under the illusion of what is referred to as “body dysmorphia.” This is the view within your mind that you are overweight or out of shape when you are not. For many who struggle with anorexia or bulimia, it does not matter how skinny or how slim they get, they still see themself overweight when they look in the mirror. Body shaming creates desperation to lose weight no matter how many pounds they shed.
This is a psychological phenomenon rooted in what we know as shame. Almost all addictions and disorders find their roots in this deeply painful source, frequently from traumatic events in their life. Shame festers and develops, defining parts of ourselves that we sometimes are not even aware of. Until an individual can work through their trauma and feelings of unworthiness within themselves, they will never feel good about themself. You must change your perspective to what reality is – that you are enough and that you have tremendous value; otherwise, disorders and addictions will rage on. Of course, a shift of perception in this way is easier said than done.
Helping Someone with an Eating Disorder
For those that observe a friend or family member struggling with eating disorders or body dysmorphia, it is essential to understand that this is not something to be taken lightly. The individual struggling with an eating disorder needs to be made aware of their struggle, and then compassionately walk with them on their journey to recovery.
They need to begin to understand their thinking and how they got here and face those pains and fears and replace them. As they face their anxieties and fears, they will develop new ways of thinking about themselves and others. But they should not venture to do this on their own; empathy and love are critical components of this process.
Even if the truth is spoken, it can be challenging for a sufferer of anorexia or bulimia to really see it for themselves. Until they believe it for themselves, it doesn’t matter how many times we tell them the truth. They must be taken through a healing process.
Food Addiction, Really?
In addition to eating disorders of anorexia and bulimia, there is food addiction. According to recent brain studies, it has been revealed that food is addictive, just the same as drugs and pornography. Salt and sugar are the primary triggers in this addiction, but also new chemicals and artificial ingredients have emerged into the food system that creates dependency as well.
The same way that a cocaine user snorts lines to get their fix, a food addict consumes donuts, pizza, and fast food to get theirs.
Something even more challenging about eating disorders is that food is not something you can quit altogether to become sober. However, through new habits and lifestyle choices, a food addict can change their preferences to healthy options, giving their body the nutrients it is craving.
Food addicts genuinely crave sugary and fatty foods.
A food addict genuinely craves sugary and fatty foods, and these cravings can be tough to overcome. Nonetheless, it can be done. It requires dedication and motive. But it also requires daily planning and habit formation, along with a personalized understanding of what the stressors and insecurities are in a person’s life that has led to the addiction in the first place.
Our professionals and staff members here at Utah Family Therapy are experienced in this process. We understand that eating disorders and food addictions can be complicated to work through. Still, with the right approach and a dedicated support team, we believe we can lead you or your loved one to genuine recovery and life-changing self-love.
To help walk with you or a loved along their journey, we have a group resource that meets Friday evening from 4 PM to 5:30 PM. This group is an online group so that you can get the healing you need from the comfort of your home. Here are some more details about this group: Online Eating Disorders Group