Or is it disordered eating?
Food is part of our lives whether we like it or not we need food and water in order to survive. It is also a connector of people. Bringing families together to celebrate occasions like birthdays with a special cake or even a simple dinner together as a family. It allows us that time to ask our kids how their day was? To slow down and most importantly, to connect.
As a family we don’t eat together every night, but we do try sit down at the table together a couple of nights a week. In our fast past lifestyles these moments are like gold for me. I try to remember to ask everyone what the best and worst part of their day was and to slow down and savour the moment.
If we need food and it can connect people in such a positive way, then why has eating in general become so stressful? My opinion, in a nutshell, is that we have linked food to our size, we have celebrated weight loss, at times at the expense of an individual’s mental health and become obsessive about it.
Diet culture is everywhere and together with unrealistic beauty standards, we have an incredible amount of pressure on us. We live in a fat-phobic world. One that ensures that if you are in a bigger body, you do not get treated the same as someone in a smaller body. Dr Stefanie Reinold has an amazing podcast that has truly changed my life. She is psychiatrist that specialises in eating disorders. She herself struggled with bulimia for years.
She explains that you do not have to look a certain way to have an eating disorder. So, with that in mind, what is the difference between having an eating disorder and disordered eating?
She says the easiest way to figure this out is with this question ‘Has it taken over your mind? Do you feel like 75% or more of your thoughts are about food and your body?
Is it causing disfunction in your life? Is it effecting your work life? Your love life or even how much you have fun you have? ‘
The answer for me was yes yes yes! She recommended the books Health at every size by Lindo Bacon and Intuitive eating by Evelyn Tribole. My mind was officially blown. I felt like a huge heavy weight was lifted from my shoulders. There is another way! If you are in the same boat, then please go check out Stefanie ‘s podcast. It’s not about the food.
Remember eating disorders are mental health disorders and you need professional help to find recovery.
‘Feeling guilty for eating when you are hungry is like feeling guilty for breathing when your lungs need oxygen. We have been taught to be ashamed of our basic human needs. Refuse to feel shame. You are allowed to eat.’ I love this quote from verywellmind.com
Does any of this sound familiar? Even if you don’t have an eating disorder, you may still struggle with disordered eating. Do you eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full? Or do you eat out of stress or boredom?
‘Disordered eating is the extent to which you move away from listening to what your body is telling you to eat to nourish and care for yourself, both physically and emotionally, says psychologist Margo Maine, Ph.D., author of Pursuing Perfection: Eating Disorders, Body Myths and Women at Midlife and Beyond.
So how do we move forward? I recommend you check out the 10 principles of intuitive eating.
- Rejecting diets! By becoming aware of diet culture diet and actively reject it. Any restriction will lead to feelings of deprivation that can lead to cravings and perhaps even binging. Rather lead how to make peace with food and eat all foods in a mindful way. Educate yourself on how to nourish your body but to also enjoy food again.
- Honour your feelings without food. This step could benefit from a professional like a psychologist to work through past trauma.
- Move your body, find a way to move your body in a way you enjoy. Change your mindset to exercise for health rather than exercising to change your body. Remember over-exercising is a form of disordered behaviour.
- Get body positive, learn to embrace your body. Stop the negative body talk, even in your head. Focus on what your body can do and start to appreciate it. Don’t compare yourself! We are all different and that is what makes us interesting.
And finally throw out that scale, there is no value in obsessing about that number!
You are so much more than a number on a scale!
P.S Need some support getting started? Pop me a mail here email@example.com and I will set up a free coaching session.