Disordered Eating is eating when not physically hungry. Everyone does this to some extent but those with disordered eating view food and eating differently. Disordered eating is a reliance on food, or the thoughts of food, weight, diet, or body size as a coping mechanism. Many people feel like they are hard-wired to reach for food when a stressful event happens in their life. They soon become so accustomed to using food that they no longer know when they are hungry or what the triggering event was. Trauma that has not been dealt with can be the underlying reason for turning to food for comfort. Many people I counsel have had severe emotional experiences in childhood or later. People with disordered eating can be of any size and age. Some may be obese, but some may be of a normal size or even under weight. Many people with disordered eating are yo-yo dieting. They go on a diet until they slip, then binge on all the foods they have been depriving themselves of. This can go on for a lifetime and has severe consequences on the body, mind, emotions, and soul.
There is research that tells us that cyclic binging and food deprivation (i.e. yo-yo dieting) may produce alterations in the brain that help perpetuate binging behavior. Thirty-five percent of all people who go on a diet will progress to disordered eating. For healthy eating it is important to create a flexible food plan that does not focus on the numbers on the scale, calories, fat grams, or exchanges. Many people with disordered eating have all or nothing thinking and a change in the numbers is a reason to binge. Healthy eating requires you to get in touch with your internal appetite. It is being in touch with your appetite and making healthy choices to take care of yourself. If you are always occupied with thoughts of what to eat or not eat you are constantly at war with your Self. It makes it hard to enjoy your life and live in the now. Most people with disordered eating can write books about diets and nutrition; they have the knowledge; they just cannot put it in to practice. They are caught in a cycle that needs professional help to identify triggers and heal emotional wounds. If we could do this on our own we already would have. It is worth the effort to get treatment to recover from disordered eating so you can live the life you were meant to live.