Do you turn to food to soothe uncomfortable feelings such as sadness, loneliness, anxiety, or anger?
Do you spend a lot of time thinking about your weight, calories, diets, and body image?
Do you go on eating binges, consuming an unusually large amount of food in a hour or two?
Do you feel shame, remorse, or guilt after such binges?
Do you severely restrict your food intake or exercise excessively after such binges?
Have friends, family members, or health professionals expressed concern about your eating behavior or weight?
Do you rationalize that you can “get away” with compulsive overeating or undereating because your weight falls into the normal range for your height, age, and gender – but you have a nagging feeling that your #1 relationship is with food rather than with other people?
Have other important areas of your life such as relationships, work, career, your physical and emotional health, and sense of purpose been put on a back burner as a result of your preoccupation with food, weight, and body image?
If so, you are not alone.
Most people have had the experience of eating until we’re stuffed (Thanksgiving being a common example). Also, we’ve probably all eaten for emotional reasons – let’s face it, from day one food is connected with love and nurturing (being breast-fed or bottle-fed by our mothers, while being held and cooed over, etc.). It’s natural that when we’re feeling uncomfortable, we might reach for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s for some solace.
However, in some cases people begin to turn to food more and more often, in attempts to manage or get rid of uncomfortable feelings. Gradually, it can get to the point where eating or focusing on food can end up being just about the only tool in one’s life-management toolbox.
In other instances, people meticulously control their food intake, drastically reduce, or obsess about calorie intake. Whether or not you’re aware of it, such preoccupation with food could be an attempt to control your life, when all other aspects of your existence feel out of control.
If your overeating or obsession with food and dieting becomes extreme, your emotional and spiritual development can be impaired or even grind to a halt.
However powerless you may feel about your eating problems, please keep in mind that eating disorders are treatable. With tenacity and a commitment toward your well-being, you can break free from compulsive, emotional, binge, or under eating and develop a healthy relationship with food and yourself.
I help people heal their relationship with food, eating, and body image. I believe that we all have a wise, loving self that is capable of managing and thriving in life. It’s my job and privilege to help you get back in touch with this wisdom and strength within you.
Ultimately, eating disorders are about a lot more than the food. People overeat, obsess about food, or restrict food intake for many reasons, including:
- difficulty tolerating uncomfortable feelings, such as depression, anger, or anxiety
- a need to self-soothe (and not knowing or using other more helpful methods)
- a wish to “check out” of one’s life, for a number of reasons (including loneliness, relationship difficulties, a difficult day at work. being unhappy with one’s career, struggling with school, etc.)
- as a “reward” or to celebrate
- something to look forward to
- hypersensitivity to external and internal triggers – some people’s nervous systems are exquisitely highly tuned, which can be both a blessing and a curse
- a tendency toward perfectionism and black-and-white thinking (“I ate one cookie, so I might as well eat the whole bag”)
- a disconnect from one’s goals and sense of purpose, which can feel terrifying or deadening (or both)
People with disordered eating often find that learning how to manage their emotions and enhance their interpersonal communication skills can help pave the way to a healthy relationship with food, body, and weight. Fulfilling connections with other people can actually be both the sign and the way to recovery.
We can work together to help you learn what you are really hungry for (or afraid to relinquish control over) and how to meet your true needs in constructive ways.
Due to recent advances in neuroscience, we know a lot more than we used to about what can cause our brain to go a bit awry, and how to retrain our brain (and mind, and soul) to attain (or return to) a balanced and optimal state.
Effective treatments have been undergoing rigorous research for the past few decades, with some specific treatment modalities demonstrating effectiveness for binge eating and compulsive eating, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. In my sessions with clients, we use a combination of these approaches, to help you heal not only your relationship with food, but also give you tools to live a happier and more fulfilling life.