Do you have a “little” issue with food, are you “just being healthy?” or is it an eating disorder? Does it really matter what we call it if you don’t have a positive relationship with food or your body image? We are encouraged to have a healthy “diet” and workout often. So what is normal? What does a “borderline” eating disorder look like? Is it a mental illness? Orthorexia? Body Dysmorphia? In my view we as a society are too caught up in extremes and labels, which prevent us from seeking support. If you have anorexia it means you eat nothing and look like skin and bones. What’s the one where you throw up all the time? Oh yeah, bulimia and that means you are underweight right? What about the latest one binge eating disorder? Isn’t everyone thats overweight suffer from that? What about orthorexia, or over-exercising to make up for what you eat? Is it an eating disorder to be “healthy” now? Well heck, doesn’t everyone struggle with body acceptance & weight struggles? Do you not quite meet any of the “eating disorder diagnosis perfectly?” Well… that could be the eating disorder that effects 30% of us, OSFED. How do you know that you or your child is just not a picky eater?
Unfortunately, even professionals in the field, therapist, doctors, dentist, nurses, etc… barely know what to look for to see if someone might benefit from some specialized eating disorder treatment so that they can stop living in this tormented obsessive lifestyle. Please don’t let their lack of awareness invalidate your suffering. For those of you who are on the front lines and want to know more about eating related issues here is a Parent Toolkit, an Educator Toolkit & Coach Toolkit There is hope, you do not have to feel like this and when you have the courage to face your unhealthy relationship with food & your body, and can get past the labels we can really change your life and future girls lives.
I want you to think about all the young girls and boys for that matter, that you interact with. Children are like sponges, and you are modeling to your daughter, sister, & niece how to embrace or reject their body and what a healthy or unhealthy relationship with food looks like by your actions & words. If you are struggling to face this yourself, think about how you would like the women and men and your family and in your friend circles to feel about their body. If you could talk to the 5 year old you, what would you like to say to them about their weight. If you put your life in perspective, how many years has this been a concern for you?
It is never too late, to reframe your relationship with food or your body. Whether you have been on diets most of your life, never at all, or suffer from poor self esteem, I will be talking about skills you can use to work on the things and begin your journey. Depending where you are on the “disordered eat / eating disorder spectrum,” think of this blog as dabbing your toe into self exploration. I will challenge you to think about the core beliefs you have established about your body, so that you can challenge them more effectively.
So today, I would like you to really think about how many of your thoughts are about food, or body image? Do you tolerate your body, but loathe your imperfections? If you over-eat a little do you feel you must compulsively exercise. Do you eat large amounts of food quickly, in secret, and then feel extremely guilty or shameful? Do you ever eat to punish yourself, or restrict “a little” when you feel you are gaining weight? Does the thought of wearing a swimsuit keep you from going to the pool or beach with friends? Do you ever find yourself turning down opportunities to be with family or friends because of the food that might be served? Do you find yourself comparing your body to people on t.v. or magazines & does that influence you behaviors? How often does your mood change based on if you are adhering to your “diet.” Overall, if you took a step back, how much control does food have over your life? Diets have become so normal it is hard to see whats healthy and what is not.
If you answer yes to any of these questions, this blog is for you! Subscribe to my monthly newsletter where I share specific skills to help you be more gentle with yourself, take care of your mind and body, and improve your relationship with food and body image. Research Dr. Marsha Linehan has shown Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, (DBT) Skills to be successful in treating eating disorders. You can learn more about this therapy model here & by following me on social media for #weeklyDBTtips. I have found for myself and my patience with more anxiety incorporating Distress Tolerance skills in your life every week help to stabilize the high energy that can be overwhelming. See if its helpful for you…right now try a #WiseMindACCEPTskill and practice Contributing your family, friends & community.
Top 6 Ways to Contribute
- Find a cause that lights you up and VOLUNTEER
- Surprise a family member and complete their CHORES, observe how choosing this action effect your relationship
- Send SNAIL-MAIL, let your creativity run
- Random Acts of Kindness #OPERATIONBEAUTIFUL, see below
- Connect with ED the Voice & JOIN A MOVEMENT to end the current Body Shaming Culture
- ADVOCATE to your legislator to prevent eating disorder, it takes 1 min, click here to send pre-formatted email
The organization Operation Beautiful puts notes like this in random places, and is also trying to spread the love. I encourage you, right now to get out a post it note, and right down your intention to love and accept you body as it is, and to honor the beauty that others see in you.
Here is a GREAT video that summarizes Wise Mind ACCEPT
I invite you try the idea of considering you may have an ED voice that is interfering with how amazing your life can really be and preventing you from loving your body. So today, just notice if you hear that voice. I can be hard at first to know if it is you or ED (a.k.a you Body Shaming voice). One way to tell the difference is to ask yourself, “Would I say this to a friend, or someone I love?” What kind of thoughts does this bring up for you? What are some ways you like to practice Wise Mind ACCEPT skills?