What is your relationship with food like?
Do thoughts about food consume your mind? Do you see food as negative or positive? Do you punish yourself with food, by not eating, or by eating until you feel uncomfortably full? On a scale of 0-10 (10 being the most anxious), how anxious do you feel when the topic of food comes up?
Do you ever beat yourself up because eating seems too simple to everyone else but you?
Not everyone that struggles with food meets the diagnosis of an eating disorder, but that doesn't mean that your struggle with food is not important or that it does not need attention.
Though the origin of eating disorders varies, it is common that eating disorders start with untreated distorted habits. Until they begin to interfere with our day-to-day life and eventually interrupt everything we do. Eating distortions make it hard for us to eat in public, go to dinner without the fear of gaining or losing a pound and eventually spill over to control everything we do. Not only do they affect us externally, and relationally, but they also affect our health. Clinicians know that eating disorders are more complicated than most people think, eating disorders can be genetic, triggered by our environment, and prone to develop after a traumatic event.
There is more going on beneath the surface of our battle with food. Did you know that your brain is incredibly amazing in that it is wired to keep you safe and alive? Did you know that your brain has learned to recognize food as something essential for survival? When we starve ourselves, the brain goes on “scarcity” mode and it encourages your brain to binge because it does not know when the next time that food will be available. This is one of the many ways that our unhealthy behaviors around food hijack our brain to believe that we need to go on “protection mode” rather than “at ease” mode. When we take the time to understand how our mind and body are connected, we can initiate the journey to adopt healthy eating habits.
Struggling with food is emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausting. Know that regardless of if you answered 1 or 10 on the level of anxiety question, your struggle is valid and deserves a place to be processed.
I hope that you rally up a team of people that are knowledgeable and can support you on the journey of recovery! If this sounds like you, and you are ready to heal your relationship with food, reach out to us here at Impact! we'd love to join your recovery team.
Angie Hernandez, LPC-A
Supervised by Robin Rice, LPC-S