“I hate parts of my body, but that’s normal, right?”
“I feel extremely guilty after eating certain foods, but who doesn’t?”
“I know exactly how many calories are in everything I eat and exactly how long I’ll have to work out to get rid of those calories. But that’s healthy, right?”
Our culture has normalized disordered eating behavior to such an extent that NOT demonstrating some disordered eating behavior has become atypical. As women, we are hammered with messages regarding diet and exercise but many of these messages work in the opposite way we want them to. Feeling guilty can produce sadness, obsessiveness can lead to anxiety and none of these lead to a healthy lifestyle.
It’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week, but many people will gloss right over information provided by organizations like the National Eating Disorders Association because they don’t think their habits are a problem. Even if your behaviors haven’t crossed the line from unhealthy to full-fledged eating disorder, you may still be struggling. If you feel sad after eating, avoid eating in front of others, eat certain foods in secret, or become obsessed with calories or minutes on the treadmill, you may be coping with issues with food and your body that you don’t have to face alone. Our habits can lead us to health and wellness or they can move us away from those goals. If your habits are more hurtful than helpful, ask for help. There is hope. You don’t have to live with guilt, shame or fear.
Even if you don’t believe you have an eating disorder, if you are struggling to manage the rules and expectations you have for yourself, reach out to a trained professional and learn about the ways you can live a fuller, healthier life- both physically and emotionally.