Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.
Eating Disorder Therapist
Overcome disordered eating and find peace with food
Is trying to be Superwoman wearing you down?
by Harriet Frew on July 14th, 2015

‘Oh the satisfaction gained from multi-tasking’ you think as you cross another item off the ‘to do’ list. It is only 8.45am; you have already cooked tonight’s lasagne; nipped to the local shop for groceries; hung out some washing; organised not just yourself but others around you and with a sigh of relief you are now temporarily sitting down and on your way to work.
Tick, tick, tick; you mentally mark off the initial essential tasks of the day. Then, after a momentary glimpse of satisfaction, you immediately feel overshadowed by the fifty more things you need to try and accomplish over the next few hours, days, or weeks. Your head feels jumbled and stuffed to the brim with endless information as you try and sift through priorities. You feel overwhelmed, weary and worn down as you scrabble to get some mental clarity and focus.
When things are going well, you feel like ‘the Queen of Control and Order’. Others see you as responsible; the organiser; the hands on person; the one to be relied on who is there for others. You are the dependable fire-fighter and problem solver in the home; the pleaser; the fixer; the one in charge. When your juggling act is going smoothly, you feel invincible and secretly proud that you can do it all and possibly accomplish more than most in just one day. People often exclaim ‘how does she do it?’ and you briefly enjoy the acknowledgement and praise for your super coping abilities.
Truth be known, the whole juggling act is a pretty rigorous one to maintain.  Although you have extended periods of running full pelt, you often feel tired, irritable and exhausted.  You resent the piles of chores; requests; work demands and endless jobs. At times, you wish that others would just ‘pull their weight’ and give you more support. But there’s a glitch here that can keep you stuck. You worry, if ‘they’ will actually do it properly? Letting go of control and allowing others to possibly flounder leaves you feeling uneasy. The anxiety rises as you contemplate their possible inefficiency or lackadaisical approach compared to your own high standards. If the truth be known, you are not sure if this is true, as you have rarely ever properly let go in the first place. It has felt too unsafe and risky.
Maybe you also feel a little bit guilty about letting go. How would it be to take life a little slower and more lightly? This might go against your work ethic or closely held values or long-held beliefs. You might feel like a ‘lazy good for nothing’ by resetting your speed dial to a slower pace. It might feel very uncomfortable and unsettling. It might also feel as though you had too much time on your hands. What might happen then? You feel a bit unsure.
Food and eating often become intertwined in all of this. Restricting or bingeing on food can become effective ways to dissociate from these feelings and to distract from the pressures. Food can also become a focus which might feel much safer than acknowledging how you are really feeling emotionally. You may also be scared of letting go of and giving up your Superwoman status. This is who you are and who others expect you to be.
6 ways to let go of being Superwoman and embrace self-care
1. Recognise the cost to yourself of trying to do it all. How are you feeling in your energy levels? How is your mood? How is your health affected? Begin to appreciate that there may be another, kinder and more enjoyable way to live.
2.Lower your standards several notches. There are some things that may be essential for you to be doing or managing, but many things are not. Begin with one life area first and make it a mini change and then you can build on this.
3. Set yourself some boundaries and practise saying no. Read self-help literature on assertiveness or go on a course to help you improve this life skill.
4. Ask for help. You may find that people around you are all too pleased to help, support and take some of the burden off your shoulders. Many people find it hard to ask or accept help; see it as strength to seek support rather than a weakness.
5. Deal with guilt. Where does it come from? Is it really appropriate or rational? Can you change your rules to allow yourself to have more flexibility and then throw out the ones that don’t work for you anymore?
6. See fun, pleasure, spontaneity and self-care as essential for enhancing well-being. Letting go of control and looking after yourself puts you in a place where you are more in touch with your joy and authenticity. Your cup is then overflowing when you choose to give to life rather than feeling drained and empty.

Posted in Anxiety, Eating, Emotions, Identity, Motivation and change, Self-care, Values    Tagged with Control, Bingeing, anorexia, bulimia, Eating Disorder, Perfectionism


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Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.