Why is it, that where eating disorders exist, we drastically reduce our food intake – the very resource our body requires so it can thrive and carry us through our day in style.
When I answered this question, I acknowledged that this was one way in which I could bring some sort of control back into my life. I decided which foods and how much. I decided when I would eat. I gave myself power in an area of my life where no one else could take it. The restriction of food also meant I had control over what I looked like. As I was so very afraid of not being liked, losing weight and achieving the look I thought to be acceptable, seemed a good idea at the time!
You may like to quietly sit for a moment. Clear your mind of thoughts, and ask, “Why am I restricting food?” Be prepared to hear the words that naturally arrive. Do not question them. Write them down. Read them back. As you complete this short exercise, acknowledge your:
Physical Body response
Challenge these words. They are contributing to your eating disorder. Are they actually true? Discuss this with a friend, adult, or someone you trust. Do they believe the thoughts? Why, or why not? Where they do try to discover the difference between how you relate to these words and how they do. Try to identify why they bother you, but do not bother them, and why then are you experiencing an eating disorder and not them? It may be that this is only a small contribution to your eating disorder – but nonetheless very important. This thought may need to find a new, more peaceful, way of existing in your life.
Where the person does not believe these words – discuss them with honesty and see whether you may need to rearrange this for your life. Perhaps the words need to be redefined, or, thrown away!
In my example, where I felt it necessary to lose weight to be accepted, I came to see the folly in this. Losing weight had nothing to do with being liked. I had learned this through the environment I grew up in. I needed to redefine, ‘being liked’. Gradually I understood that being liked relied ONLY upon me being ME. In convincing myself of this, I could let go of the reason I developed this in the first place. As I navigated my way back to me, acceptance turned up…friends arrived!
When you challenge your thoughts in this way and discover they actually are not warranted, they need to be replaced with a different set of words. In my case, instead of the words, “I am not liked because of what I look like”, were redefined to, “I am liked for who I am regardless of my looks”. As I adopted the new thinking I found it was supported by the new friends that entered my life. The true thoughts/words once adopted and believed reflected back to me via this much-desired change.
Having identified that food restriction can really be about fear/control, there is another realisation we need to make when wishing to recover. This realisation can be confronting at first, as the very thing we are doing MUST leave our lives if we are to recover. This is a bit of a two-edged sword. When experiencing an eating disorder food becomes our number one enemy – in healing, food MUST become our number one friend. Food needs to shift from one end of our thinking spectrum to the other – this area is not a choice…The realisation, that to heal, we require all of the wonderful ‘things’ food has to offer is in complete conflict with what we are currently doing and believing.
The human body relies upon us to provide it with the sustenance required so, in return, it can provide us with optimal energy to enjoy our days as we wish. What happens then, when we do not do this? The body begins to fail, to break down, to malfunction. What usually happens next is we go to the doctor, who we hope can give us ‘something’ so we feel better again. In the case of those experiencing eating disorders, finding that ‘something’ does not exist. Our body is crying out for nutrition. The only way we can feel better is to give it what it is asking for – food.
Food is the cornerstone of our healing. Hidden within the cell walls of this wonderful resource are unseen chemicals called nutrients. It is these fabulous chemicals that, when taken into the body, transform themselves into valuable components ready to nourish and nurture us. Knowing this is the case, restricting clearly thwarts this endeavour. So, when healing is the goal, consuming nutritious foods and beverages, in the quantities required, is an absolute MUST.
To learn and understand this important element of your healing, you may wish to undertake the program: Anorexia Unlocked: Nutrition. For the purpose of demonstrating the importance of food as a healing resource, let’s look at a couple of them.
Green Apples supply the body with:
Carbohydrates – energy
Fibre – regulates there body, cleanses the body, assists with nutrient absorption
Protein – bodybuilding and repair
Riboflavin – assists in nutrient breakdown, allows the body to use oxygen
Vitamin A – healthy vision, skin, bones, tissue, fights cell damage
Vitamin B6 – mood stabiliser, brain health, helps hemoglobin production, heart health
Vitamin E – skin, heart, immune, eye health, lowers the risk of cancer
Vitamin K – bone health, wound healing
Magnesium – assists enzyme activity, nerves, immune system, blood pressure
Phosphorus – strong teeth, energy, kidney filtration, growth, and repair
Potassium – regulate fluid balance, protects against strokes, osteoporosis and kidney stones, nerve health, blood pressure
Green Peas give our body:
Vitamin C – maintenance of bones, skin, blood vessels, immune system health, assists iron absorption, wound healing, collagen formation
Thiamine – enables bodies use of carbohydrates, glucose metabolism, nerve, muscle, and heart health
Folate – production of red and white blood cells, energy production, produce DNA and RNA
Manganese – bone health, reduces inflammation, blood sugar regulation, antioxidant properties
Iron – energy, focus, gastrointestinal processes, immune system, regulation of body temperature
What a couple of powerhouses! Remember, nutrients work together. They meet up in our bodies and help each other perform their tasks. With this reliance upon each other, where a nutrient may not be supplied to the body, by us, the opportunity for the body to not be as healthy may eventuate. Too often, when we experience our body not being so healthy, we do not look to our nutrition. Throughout my life, I have learned the importance of addressing this area of our lives whenever our body begins to speak to us via our health beginning to unravel.
Understanding the importance of food in our life is a very good start to healing. See this resource as your best friend, wanting to join your healing journey. Learn about all the varieties available, embrace them, enjoy them, and most of all…acknowledge their power to heal…
In collaboration – identifying the thought processes, emotions, behaviours, and physical responses, along with the need for optimal nutrition – is where we all must go where recovery is the goal.
The power held within food to contribute to healing is to be highlighted, grabbed with two hands, and revelled in …
The Power of Food to Heal must never be underestimated.