Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.
Eating Disorder Therapist
Overcome disordered eating and find peace with food
Uncontrollable life!
Posted on January 12th, 2014

How I wish that life could be more controllable and predictable. When our washing machine broke earlier this week, I noticed the immediate pang of anxiety thinking about the mountains of dirty clothes that were going to build up with a family of 5.  I catastrophised the event and this brought on anxiety and fear (I feel ridiculous writing this now!).
Life throws daily challenges, and for many of us, food is the coping strategy.
For some people, strong anxiety brings on the need to restrict and control food more. ‘Even if life is out of control, well at least I am controlling my weight’.
I know, restricting can feel quite good short-term. You can feel quite ‘buzzy’ with adrenaline; feel a sense of accomplishment and raised self-esteem. BUT as we all know, at some point, hunger kicks in. What happens next depends on your eating style.
The ‘I never get hungry approach’
Ignore the hunger all together. Actually pretend it’s not there. ‘I never feel hungry’. Just get busier, do more, run around, desperately prove that you have it all together.  Again, it may work for a bit, but then you are likely to start feeling cold, tired, irritable, exhausted, detached from people etc....not a happy place.
‘Blow the diet approach’
You might think ‘blow the diet and LIFE; I deserve a treat, I am going to eat’. Because you are hungry, anxious and maybe even a bit annoyed you might eat considerably more than you would normally, possible even a binge. You are likely to then feel bad, guilty, ashamed, etc. Miserable place.
Here are some strategies that have helped me to cope differently

Acknowledge that the above strategies are not working. Please correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t the end point in all of this about having a great and vibrant life with friends, family, fulfilling job, hobbies etc. It is not about being stuck at home either obsessing about food, exercise or weight and being a bit thinner. 

Next time you recognise you are feeling anxious in response to something, firstly take a deep breath.  Stop and stand back. You now have a CHOICE with how you deal with this. 

1. You can use the old strategy and you can restrict your food or over-eat.

2. You could distract yourself eg: phone a friend; read a magazine; go for walk. 

3. You could problem solve the issue. Brainstorm 5 possible solutions – it immediately puts you back in the driving seat of life. You will be amazed of your inner resources – I promise!

4. You could write something down about how you are feeling, to try and process it. This might not solve the problem straight away but it gives you breathing space, options and clarity.

5. Finally, be aware that you are possibly making a catastrophe of the issue. Yes, I did survive without my washing machine for a few days and all is well! 

Doesn’t it feel great to have some choices? And initially you might still want to use food, but at least you are consciously doing this now.
Have a go. All the best. If you feel inspired, let me know how you are getting on.

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Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.