As a coach dedicated to helping women with disordered relationships with food, I speak to a lot of women who tell me they want to change their relationship with food but are reluctant to let go of behaviours they have come to rely on as a comfort.
Often, disordered relationships with food come about as a result of emotional conflict. It might due to poor parental attachment, acute or prolonged trauma, unsupportive friendship group or partner, or an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. When we find ourselves experiences unwanted emotions, it is natural to look for ways to avoid them.
The problem with relying on unhealthy eating habits to deal with our emotions is that we become less and less able to manage our thoughts and feelings. Escaping "real life" using food makes us less and less able to deal with real life let alone enjoy it.
The result however, is that we only get to experience life in black and white. It impedes every element of our lives. Our health, our confidence, our relationships with others. So why is it so hard to invest our time, effort and money into our own recovery? Why do we convince ourselves that we are not deserving of treatment or services? What is it we are scared of?
As a sufferer of anorexia I recall distinctly how it consumed me, my every waking moment. It meant I did not engage with the world around me. My low weight meant my brain did not produce the kind of chemicals that cause emotions so, in essence I was a shell of a person. I was not living, merely existing and frankly I would have not existed for long. Now I look back at that time in my life as though I was someone else.
I see people all around me struggling to manage their relationship with food, trying to go it alone or worse still ignore the problem completely. Often it takes a serious health scare for them to realise their lack of self care is likely to kill them.
So the question I ask them is this. "If you carry on living the way you are now, how will life look in 10 years time?" If the answer is, "dead" or "unbearable" then the answer is clear. Imagine what life could be like in 10 years time if you invested in yourself now. A lifetime of poor eating will take time to unlearn. There is no quick fix. For those of you who have attempted fad diets, surgery, crazy exercise routines and treatments you weren't invested in, you will have already realised this. But, while you are telling yourself you've tried everything and that you are doomed to this perpetual cycle, you are wasting precious time.
I know it can be overcome. I am, after all, proof of that! The thought that I could have missed out on my wonderful life for a mere black and white existence or even death seems unthinkable to me.
If you are ready to invest in a life in full colour, to enjoy health, happiness and healthy relationships then you're time to start that journey is now!
To start ”project me” I suggest the three R’s: Reflect, Reframe, Reform.
Write down your thoughts and feelings about how you came to be at the point you are at now. Reframe some of those negative thoughts so that when they sneak into your mind you can challenge them with your new thought. Start changing today. If you make one small change every day, by this time next year you will have made 365 improvements to your life!
If the idea of going it alone scares you then enlist some support. It can be a friend, colleague, partner, or, a qualified and experienced coach like me. I support women on a 121 and a group basis. Get in touch for a 10 minute freedom call. No obligations and nothing to lose!