How to Overcome Anorexia and Regain a Healthy Relationship With Your Food
By Dr Becky Spelman
Anorexia, at its core is a psychological condition resulting in extreme starvation, due to poor body image. And with the increasing attention given to external beauty, owing to the unrealistic standards portrayed in fashion and media, it’s becoming more of an issue, not only for young women but also men, too. It’s estimated in the US approximately 0.9% of women have been or are affected by the condition in their lifetime with the number at 0.3% for men. However, there is such stigma surrounding eating disorders amongst males that figure could be higher.
Anorexia is sometimes viewed as a contrarian form of mental illness that
isn’t worthy of the coverage it receives – at least in some sections of the
society. But the reality is the figures don’t lie. It is very real. The mortality rate for the condition is higher than any
other psychiatric condition (including depression). It accounts for twelve
times the death rate of all other causes combined in females between 15-24 years
old, and an estimated 20% of cases result in fatalities. These are quite
alarming numbers, which begs the question not only what can be done? But more
importantly, what you do to help yourself? Here are some tips to consider if
you or anyone else you know is struggling with the condition:
Quite simply, first and foremost,
you need to believe you can recover. And one of the most effective ways of
affecting positive change in your life is finding people who’ve done the same
thing you’re trying to do, now. By having these points of reference, those
people can serve as positive examples and help you condition the mind into believing
you can rid yourself of yourillness. Reading other people’s success stories is
a great way to encourage the subconscious mind to accept the pursuit of your
Becoming aware of how your
anorexia functions is one of the biggest tools in your arsenal, but also one of
the biggest hurdles you’ll face. Because not only does it require you to accept
you have an eating disorder, it also
requires you to have the presence of mind to catch these patterns as they’re
occurring. It is only by doing this that you can begin the process of making
choices at the conscious level to bed in new and more positive behavioural
patterns. This is the process any therapist will to encourage you engage with,
but is one you can work on by yourself.
Taming the Negative Self-Talk
When trying to bring a sense of
mindfulness to your process and triggers, the most obvious thing catching your
attention will be the negative self-talk around your food choices. You may
often find yourself tempted to eat a favourite meal you’ve enjoyed for years,
which has now become black-listed by the voice in your head warning you against
it. This is the voice that attempts to justify your stance, encouraging
avoidance, restrictive behaviours and even purging. It is the voice of your
condition – it is not you. And for you to successfully
recovery, it must be tamed and reconditioned with positive thoughts around
Changing Your Attitude Towards Food
Eating is necessary – there’s no
getting around it. We need to ingest a certain amount of nutrient-rich food, so
we can function at our best. Instead of holding the view that food is a form of
punishment or penance that’s going to sabotage the way you look, let go of the
concept of the external you. Re-imagine your food as your fuel for wellness,
and be grateful for the nourishment it provides to sustain you for another day.
You would literally die without it.
Think about the ways (good) food makes you feel instead of how you perceive it
makes you look.
Changing Your Perception of the World
What you see isn’t the truth, only
your truth. Your view of the world is subjective, just as everyone else’s is, and
it’s through the attachment to your truths that your perception of the world
becomes distorted. This is the mindset that leads to the over-identifying with
specific images to which you feel you should conform – those that will make you
happier, more popular and at ease with yourself. This is the ‘perception
deception’ that creates much of the issues with anorexia.
Reconditioning the Mind
When you’re seeing the world
through your ‘perception deception filters,’ it provides a distorted outlook on
life, reinforcing negative self-image, telling you, ‘you’re fat,’ or ‘you’re
ugly.’ That you’re imperfect and need to change. As long as this continues, it
doesn’t matter how much you alter your appearance. The poor self-image will
still be present. To fully rid yourself of the negative conditioning, you need
to replace those programs with ones that promote positive self-worth. What you
believe is what you become, and to overcome your anorexia you have to convince
yourself that you’re not the person who’s stuck in this loop. You’re someone
much stronger, capable and willing to accept themselves for who they are,
regardless of society’s expectations.
***If either you or anyone else you know is exhibiting
any of these signs, and feel as though you would like further advice regarding
Anorexia, one of our specialists would be happy to provide you with a FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULTATION.
How to Overcome Anorexia and Regain a Healthy Relationship With Your Food was last modified: June 13th, 2019 by Dr Becky Spelman
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