By Lauren Harding, Eating Recovery Coach
Eating Disorders- about the food or not about the food?
Eating disorders are both about the food and not about the food.
It is about the food. If you do not change your relationship with food you cannot recover. The way you think about food, the way you eat, and the relationship between eating and your body needs to be put back into order regardless of what may have contributed to your disorder in the first place. Learning to respect and nourish your body as well as learning how to cultivate a pleasurable and natural relationship with food is a crucial part of healing. The eating disorder has stolen this cultural and soulful meaning that historically has always been connected to food. Letting go of diet culture, food rules, and building a balanced relationship requires education, practice, and patience. Chances are that the way you deal with food translates into how you deal with people in your life, money, and sex. Developing a natural relationship with food can help to strengthen other aspects of your life.
It is not about the food. Normalizing your eating, being put on a meal plan, stopping behaviors, gaining weight etc., although essential for recovery, will not always be enough to guarantee lasting results. Psychological issues, biological vulnerabilities, relationships and other life experiences can all play a role in the development and continuation of an eating disorder. One can benefit from exploring and discussing the various pieces of the puzzle that contributed to the development of their eating disorder. This can provide additional insight into how to challenge, cope with, and develop safeguards to support you in your recovery. We know that an eating disorder is not caused by any particular food and is not a simple addiction to food. We also know that eating disorders have to do with the biological makeup of you, and not the biological make-up of the food. Eating disorders are not caused by diets or the cultural obsession with appearance but are only fueled by these risk factors. Controlling food and the body masks a greater need for something else in your life that needs attending to.
Knowing HOW to get better is more important than knowing WHY. Dealing directly with your thoughts and feelings and how they affect your behavior can help you to break free from them.
The LESS we turn to monitoring food as a way of regaining control over our lives the MORE we are able to connect with what really matters.