Shedding the Skin of Disordered Eating Behaviors/Distortions

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You might be contemplating whether to hold on to a disordered eating cycle of behaviors and thoughts — or — perhaps to find a new way of living, moving, nourishing, relating, dreaming, solving and creating. In other words, you might have some ambivalence or even embarrassment or shame about holding on to some old patterns, habits, rigidity and rituals surrounding food and/or exercise.

I want to tell you a secret: A LOT OF PEOPLE struggle with food, exercise and body image, and A LOT OF PEOPLE do really good jobs of masking, hiding and even touting their pain as health or wellness endeavors. Like alcohol, as this TIME article describes, the dieting crusade is one of the oldest socially acceptable drugs sold to you on a daily basis and/or talked about in peer groups and on the Today Show.

Or maybe you aren’t even sure what you’re dealing with is disordered eating or compulsive exercise. Perhaps you’ve been immersed in culture of wellness and cleaning eating as described in this popular NYTimes article, but it’s beginning to feel stifling, or you’ve sniffed out some BS fads and feel conflicted surrounding some ways of eating or viewing food and your body for a while now. Let’s face it, the latest contradictory and extreme advice about timed eating should be enough to make everyone pause and put on their critical thinking cap (and perhaps make one wonder how to tune into the belly for real hunger cues.)

“The wellness industry is the diet industry, and the diet industry is a function of the patriarchal beauty standard under which women either punish themselves to become smaller or are punished for failing to comply, and the stress of this hurts our health too.”

(And, PS, that quote above goes for men being subject to disordered eating and body image pressures too, so let’s make sure everyone is considered and treated with compassion surrounding how we nourish ourselves and heal from these antiquated, capitalistic beauty standards.)

I’m going to tell you another secret: When you are ready to want to know your truths and become empowered with your innate creativity, dreams and strengths just an ounce more than you give a flip about calories and weight loss, you will begin transformational, liberating work. And, this is where it will feel like shedding skin — not shedding weight so much, but shedding metaphorical skin. You will slowly release old behaviors and thoughts and step into a new way of living. You will face the more challenging but wayyyyyy more possible journeying of defending yourself as a deserving human being (not only to yourself but also to others) and promoting yourself as a worthy change-maker for yourself and possibly others.

This realization and work to discover that you already hold your light is where the power lies in your journey. (Wizard of Oz, anyone?) It’s not in the latest timing of food, or superfood, or exercise combo. It’s about taking off the cloak of deception and lies you’ve been conditioned to wear for various and complex reasons, leading you down a path of lies of what sort of exterior consumption will take you to a happier place. Taking one arm out of the armor, then another arm out of the armor, then letting the rest of the armor slide off your back will offer you that more possible, intuitive, authentic and empowered way of way of living, moving, nourishing, relating, dreaming, solving and creating.

Interested in knowing how this might work for you? Contact me for a 15-minute phone chat about outpatient psychotherapy. We might be a good fit, and/or I can make referrals for other levels of care, dietitians, etc. I’m happy to talk confidentially.

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