Having any kind of challenge around food is really difficult.
We can’t go teetotal on food (not without severe circumstances) so it’s something we tend to struggle with at least three times a day.
This adds to how torturous and endless it feels to have an eating disorder.
When we are experiencing a difficulty with food we usually try and fix it by fixating more on food.
If only we eat less, get to a certain weight, or fit into size 10 jeans then the problem will be fixed.
The issue with this thinking is that on some level it isn’t about food at all, and when we continue to make it about food, we miss what is trying to be expressed.
Food is only the vehicle we have chosen to manage our angst, pain, overwhelm and self-hate; or any feelings that we’ve held inside and have not processed.
The key to working through our issues with food is to find a way to digest these feelings, and to do that we need to move beyond, and deeper than food.
When we do this recovery is possible, and we can even do the unimaginable and find pleasure in food again.
Recovery usually begins with an exploration of what has happened in our lives that has meant that we have felt unseen, unheard, and alone with feelings we have not been able to manage.
It’s like being lost and alone in a thick and endless forest.
We need a guide to show us the way through the forest, whilst making sense of it all.
In order to discover what’s going on it is also useful to look at what kind of eating disorder we have.
(This is a sketch, rather than a finished idea)
Purging is about trying to get all those feelings OUT, thereby finding relief.
Starving is about trying make ourselves feel worthy. We deny ourselves nourishment because we believe we are unworthy. It is then about perfecting and sculpting ourselves so we can feel worthy, and find acceptance.
Overeating is about trying to comfort and nourish ourselves emotionally through the use of food.
When we engage in these behaviours we are attempting to give ourselves some of what we need, and on some level it works so we keep doing it.
The problem is that it also creates a lot of pain. We are then torn between a vicious cycle of feeling relief, then feeling more pain, then needing more relief.
When we are fluent in the language of our psyche then it is possible to give ourselves what we really need. We can then move into a different relationship with ourselves, and a different relationship with food will soon follow.