I don’t stop eating when I’m full. The meal isn’t over when I’m full. It’s over when I hate myself.”—Louis CK, comedian, writer, actor, director
What we eat gives us energy, enjoyment, opportunities to spend time with others, and a wide array of flavors to sample and enjoy. Problems arise, however, when food becomes more of an addiction than a source of sustenance.
When you suffer from an eating disorder, food begins to take away from your wellbeing – through undereating, overeating, or any other unhealthy eating practices. Eating disorders are fairly common, affecting nearly 24 million people. Only 10 percent of that group seeks and receive treatment, however.
Eating Disorders: Types and Definitions — Bulimia
Bulimia — one of the three major types of eating disorders, which also include anorexia nervosa and binge eating — is characterized by repeat instances of overeating followed by overwhelming feelings of guilt or shame and utilizing excess exercise and/or self-induced vomiting to offset potential weight gain.
Key signs and symptoms of bulimia include:
- Frequent bouts of overeating
- Chronic gastric reflux
- Constant fluctuations in weight
- Obsessive attention to external appearance
- Fixation with caloric intake
- Eating until the point of feeling sick
- Dental erosion from vomiting
- Feelings of shame and guilt
- Poor self esteem and depression
When suffering from bulimia, you seek pleasure from food, which only brings you more pain, and your efforts to offset that pain only cause more. The cycle begins again.
Your life does not have to be this way. You can experience victory over this disorder, just as many others have before you, under the care of one of the skilled Detroit counselors or therapists at Thriveworks Birmingham eating disorder therapy.
Eating Disorders: Types and Definitions — Anorexia Nervosa
People suffering from anorexia nervosa attempt to attain an “ideal” physique by engaging in harmful behavior, such as extreme limitation of food intake to the point of starvation and excessive exercise. If left untreated, anorexia nervosa can be fatal.
Key signs and symptoms of anorexia include:
- Unhealthy obsession with body image and calories and fat content in food
- Crippling fear of weight gain
- Dramatic loss of weight
- Compulsive exercising
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Swollen joints
- False perception of physical appearance
- Chronic lethargy
- Mood swings
- For women, an absence of menses
- Heart disease
Eating Disorders: Types and Definitions — Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
Individuals suffering from Binge Eating Disorder (BED) will repeatedly eat more in one sitting than other people in similar circumstances would normally eat. Some people with BED will eat as much as 15,000 calories in one sitting.
Symptoms of binge eating disorder include:
- Over eating at least twice a week for several months
- Stashing food for secret snacking
- Guilt after eating too much
- Eating food as a means to relieve stress
- Eating alone
- Eating to combat depression or boredom
- Feeling nauseated of physically uncomfortable after eating
- Excessive worry over eating habits
What Causes Eating Disorders?
Various factors can contribute to an eating disorder, including:
- Poor body image or self-esteem
- Perceived societal pressures
- Emotional, physical or sexual abuse
- Depression and other emotional disorders
Popular media often presents an unrealistic — or downright fake — image for what the ideal human body looks like. People that feel pressure to look a certain way but simply do not have that shape can feel less valuable or not attractive.
Forget the lies of the advertising industry. Each of us has a unique form with it’s own ideal shape. The important thing is that you are healthy, level-headed and free of self-doubt. Don’t force an impossible ideal on yourself. Accept your body’s natural leanings and seek fitness, not shape.
How can I deal with my eating disorder? Please help.
The struggle going on in the mind of someone suffering from an eating disorder is more complex than a simple lack of information, and is unlikely to be overcome by reading words of encouragement alone.
All the same, we do have a few thoughts on how you can begin working on your issue right away:
1. Eating five to 6 smaller meals throughout the day helps your body stay energized while not overburdening it with one or two calorie-heavy meals.
2. A well-balanced diet is actually quite simple. Shy away from unnecessary snacking and eat only things that provide benefit. So-called “comfort food” usually makes you feel worse, once the initial endorphin rush wears off. Eat for energy.
3. Do a little research and figure out how many ounces of water you should be drinking for your body type. Not only will you stay hydrated, but your appetite will be curbed as well.
4. Try to remove stress from you life. Find ways to actually relax, and stay away from snacks as a means of winding down.
5. Exercise regularly, if not daily. A strong body is a strong mind. Without that balance, it’s difficult to keep a clear head. Exercise not only increases your energy, but improves your mood as well.
6. Identify the activities or things that tend to trigger the disorder. Do fashion magazines give you disillusionments about your own body image? Do food commercials give you the urge to head to the drive-through? Find a positive replacement for these things, like a walk around the block or picking up that novel you’ve been meaning to get to.
7. Contact us at Thriveworks Birmingham eating disorder therapy. Our clinicians will create a custom treatment plan based on your specific struggles, personality and history. We’ve had great success helping people overcome their detrimental relationship with food. Learn how to put eating in it’s proper place.
Sample All the Flavors that Life can Offer
You consume food — it shouldn’t be the other way around. Instead of using food as a means of coping with other issues by over- or underindulgence, reach out to someone who can help equip you to understand what it means to practice healthy eating habits.
It may be frustrating that your friend can seemingly eat and drink whatever he or she wants without any noticeable difference in their physical appearance, but it only means that their bodies are better at masking the internal harm.
When your relationship with food is kept in check, your eating habits can help you achieve your goals, which brings far greater pleasure than a few flavorful-mouthfuls. Let us prove to you that you have what it takes to live a happy, fulfilling, healthy life.
Your eating disorder doesn’t have to control you. Are you in the Detroit area looking for therapy? Contact us today, and begin the journey to change.