Eating disorders - what's that voice in my head saying?
Reviewed By: Jennifer Peacock-Vauthrin R.P.C. M.P.C.C.
Do you have this overwhelming urge to listen to that “eating disorder voice”? “If I eat that sandwich, I’ll need to exercise for 2 plus hours!” or “I love the taste of food so much, that I stuff myself and need to quietly need to get rid of it by throwing up.” What if the voice whispers, “Oh my gosh, this hamburger tastes sooo good, I need another one…or maybe two?” Whether it’s someone who refuses who eat, regurgitates food, loves eating, or influenced by the media about their body image - they all have three things in common: They cannot stop thinking of food, learned unhealthy behaviors, and over time their health will deteriorate.
Now, let us peel back a deeper layer: Do you hide it from friends and family members? What tricks have you learned to hide your secret? Realizing, “wait, do I have an issue with food?”
Eating disorders don’t discriminate between sex or age, although it is more prevalent among young women (3.8%) then men (1.5%) in the US as of 2001-2004 (Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2010). It’s interesting to note that the disorders usually develop during puberty. Then there are psychological, environmental, and social factors that may contribute to the disorder. There are many reasons which are associated with eating disorders.
Some common signs of eating disorders that affect one’s health:
The first step is to acknowledge what is happening to you – mentally and physically.
The next step can seem very difficult: Talking to someone. In some cases, friends or family become concerned and speak with you; and hopefully you are open to truly listen to them. These special people in your life are there to support you, before, during and after receiving professional support.
Depending on the severity of the eating disorder, this is where you can start a dialog and work with your counsellor, doctor or specialist. Most people will begin with a counsellor who is compassionate, understanding, and patient. Personally, I focus on not only the person but ensuring the person feels that they are in a safe place to speak freely. I am unjudgmental and am here to specifically learn about you. By understanding your background, wants and needs, it guides me to ask reflective questions. I can then provide tools to assist you in manage the anxiety, stress, and decrease the negative thoughts. In some cases, people have unconsciously buried things that really affected them that it was just too unbearable to carry with them.
Let’s work together starting today and the life you truly deserve – towards a brighter future!