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Emotional Eating, Binge Eating and Negative Body Image
Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating are not about the food
Effective Eating Disorder Treatment leads to a deeper connection with Self, with your body and with your true needs and wants. It also leads to a more peaceful relationship with food and intuitive and balanced eating.
Emotional Eating comforts or numbs you with food. This usually takes the form of carbohydrates. Often unconsciously, food quickly and effectively obliterates our ability to feel distressing and/or uncomfortable feelings. Tried and true, this reliable friend requires nothing of us and enables us to “check out.” Entertaining, celebrating and “treating yourself” with food are also signs that you may be an Emotional Eater.
Binge Eating is eating large amounts of food and feeling out of control. If you eat compulsively, or secretly, these are also indications that your relationship with food is out of balance. Eating when not hungry, eating rapidly, eating to the point of physical discomfort can also be signs of Binge Eating. Especially relevant are feelings of shame or guilt that follow a food binge. Often, women with Binge Eating Disorder compensate by later restricting. And restricting, in turn, increases the urge to Binge by triggering the body’s need to compensate for deprivation.
Bulimia is a category of behaviors designed to expel food or calories from the body. This includes self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, diuretic abuse and over-exercising. These behaviors represent an effort to mitigate weight gain, to facilitate weight loss and/or to experience the physical and emotional release often associated with purging. Often, women with Binge Eating Disorder compensate for binging with one or more bulimic behaviors.
Disordered eating behaviors, like other addictions, are efforts to regulate one’s Nervous System and bring the Self back to a tolerate level of activation. Through the work of eliminating former and current Nervous System “triggers,” we can eliminate disordered eating behaviors. At the same time, we create an opportunity to learn and practice new, healthy ways of regulating our emotions. With the reduction/elimination of some triggers and new healthier coping skills, healing from Disordered Eating is possible.
Negative Body Image vs. Body Positivity
Negative Body Image is based in the belief that our body does not conform to externally defined acceptable standards. It is fueled by our culture’s incessant messaging that a body must look and must not look certain ways. An overly fixated focus on body, weight, physical shape, appearance and comparison to others are all typical manifestations of Negative Body Image.
Transient ‘fashion’ and ‘marketers-for-profit’ create and sell the idea that only certain body types and physical traits are fashionable while others ‘are not.’ As a result, we all navigate minefields of conformity and rejection in an effort to minimize our insecurity. Body Positivity, Fat Positivity and Diversity and Inclusion campaigns such as Health at Every Size are healthy options available to us all. But before we can accept these healthy, inclusive options, we must do the deeper work of resolving what prevents us from doing so.
As you likely know by now, it’s not about the food.
Binge Eating Disorder Treatment
I provide online therapy for Disordered Eating, Binge Eating Disorder and Negative Body Image Issues using body-focused trauma resolution methods. Because Eating Disorders and Body Image struggles are symptoms of other issues, it is imperative to address and resolve these underlying sources of distress before it is possible to experience relief.
I look forward to working with you and helping you create a loving, compassionate relationship with your Self.
© melissalesterlcsw.com 2023