Inspiring you to find peace with food and your body image
Inspiring you to find peace with food and your body image
But who am I without controlling food and my body?
by Harriet Frew on June 1st, 2015

Can't stop thinking about food

As your eyes open and you glimpse the first light of the new day, your first thought is food. What to eat (or not eat) for breakfast? What did you eat last night? Quick calorie count to check everything is in order. Maybe you weigh yourself or look in the mirror to access the sort of day this is going to be and how this might dictate your eating. Perhaps today you are going to eat ‘clean’ or monitor those carbs a bit more carefully. As you start to run the familiar dialogue through your head, a part of you finds this a disheartening and relentless battle that you feel can never be won. But in the same instance, these morning rituals and thought patterns feel like familiar old friends; ones you can rely on; you recognise their responses well.
  • Maybe the pursuit of thin and the smaller body is an all encompassing project that can occupy you for days on end.
  • Maybe you are less body conscious now but you still rely on food to help you de-stress and escape the monotony and pressures of day to day life.
  • Maybe you are always reading up on the latest eating plan in the glossy magazines, hoping for ‘the one’ that is really going to tell you what to eat; get thin and be easy to follow. You are still waiting for this magic combination and remain ever hopeful.
 Who am I?

As much as your ring your hands in despair at this ever encompassing project that never seems to quite achieve its goal, the thought of letting go of all of this feels very daunting. Truth be known, you are not sure anymore who you are without the eating problem.  Who you would be if you weren’t thinking about food all the time? How would you fill the void? Food offers predictability, focus and structure. It creates order, and a sense of accomplishment is achieved when the plan is going ‘to plan’. It is the obvious thing to blame when life has its ups and downs. Naturally, if food and your body were sorted, then happiness surely would follow?
Others validate this too

Your identity around food and your body image might also extend to your social circle and how others perceive you. You might be known for being the ‘one that is funny about food’; the one that people look out for when they are struggling; the one that is always dieting (it has practically become a character trait); you might also have friends who are similar in their outlook and this almost validates this focus. Or it might be something much more personal that you keep to yourself and hide away from others.
When things are going smoothly and possibly also confirmed by the appreciation or comments from others, then self-esteem gets a temporary but welcomed boost. That momentary glimmer is hugely satisfying and makes everything seem worthwhile.
But of course, the cost of all of this is dear. Much time spent focusing on your eating distracts you from living fully and achieving your potential. It stops you feeling your emotions – the highs and lows that make life truly meaningful. It can be a barrier for friendships and social situations can be daunting. It robs you of the present moment as you focus on food and your body, either then, at the next eating episode or now.
5 ways to find yourself again when food and body image have taken over: -
1. This might seem a bit morbid, but think about your 90 year old self looking back on her life. What are the 5 things that are going to have been really important for you to have experienced, lived, shared, enjoyed? The focus on the larger picture of your life can help swing priorities more into the spotlight and enhance motivation for change now. 

2. Get real on what you are losing day to day. Sometimes it is easy to stick your head in the sand and ignore the things that are really important to you personally. A few days or weeks passing now might seem meaningless, but where are you going to be in 2 or 5 years if things don’t change. 

3. If you feel that you have lost yourself and your identity, think back to what you really enjoyed doing around the age of 10 – what was important then?  What did you enjoy? This is often an age when you might have felt free to express your authentic self, before you felt the later pressures to conform. Also, experiment with new ways of being; hobbies, activities – find out what you like. It might not be easy at first as you begin to get to know yourself again. Allow time for this. 

4. Recognise that focusing incessantly on food and your body image is likely a coping strategy for underlying distress. Underneath this, you may well not be feeling that good about yourself. Trust (even if you don’t feel it now) that underneath all this food stuff is a truly worthwhile person just waiting to emerge further and channel her energy and enthusiasm in new directions. 

5. Get some support to learn fresh ways of coping rather than using food. Counselling can be an option that can be really beneficial with this. 

​If you would like to get in touch about working with me to explore some of these issues further, I would love to hear from you. I am passionate about helping you to eat all the foods you love; and feel great about your body without disordered eating or dieting.

Posted in Eating, Giving up dieting, Motivation and change, Self-esteem, Identity, Recovery, Values    Tagged with Eating Disorder, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, identity, motivation, change, values


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Inspiring you to find peace with food and your body image