Thoughts about food, our bodies, and dieting may take up most of our time. It is the talk among friends, co-workers, social media, and our family. We talk about what we eat, how we aren’t happy with our bodies, about the newest ways to lose weight, the latest fads, and pills, and which movie star has excess weight or the best body.
We also talk about the “newest” fruit, vegetable, or spice that promises miracles. It could be lemons, kale, hemp (cannabis), garlic, grapefruit, olive oil, or avocado, among others. No wonder it can get a little confusing. Also, with all the new diet books coming out every month, they have become responsible for frightening us into not knowing what to eat anymore. We rely on the new trend in diets for our eating. People are avoiding gluten, fearing it can get them fat or sick. Lactose-free dairy is the new kind of dairy. People now avoid eating fish become of their high mercury levels. Eggs have to be free range and organic.
There is also beef and chicken full of hormones and antibiotics that make children reach puberty at a much younger age. With all these side effects, who wouldn’t be worried about what it is we are putting in our mouths. There is actually a new disease called Orthorexia Nervosa, which is an obsession for healthy foods.
There are, in fact, many things we can’t control in our lives. Having enough money, doing what we love, having the perfect mate or family, working at the perfect job, or living in your dream home seem almost too good to be true. At least we see them that way. But there are some things less difficult to control such as our weight and what we eat. Yes, the perfect body myth. the idea that once we achieve the perfect body, we will be happy. We believe that once we achieve the ideal body weight, we will automatically attract true love and our perfect dream life. It seems food and body weight is easier to control in order to get what we aspire to. Is the solution dieting, possibly many times over the course of our life, in order to feel good about ourselves?
Media has also offered us the role of the perfect model body without thinking about the consequences it can cause, especially to young girls. It makes us think that the model gets the perfect car, husband, life and is incredibly happy. But honestly, It is not true. True happiness comes from accepting our bodies the way they are. True happiness comes from within, not from external things. You may look good in a pretty dress, but it won’t guarantee you will have fun at the dance.
Think of the reasons why you want that perfect sized body. Are you want to get healthy, is it the pressure to be perfect, or to find the perfect mate? What is it that you truly and deeply wish for? Maybe you are putting your body through enormous diet stress without really needing to. what is it that you are lacking? Sit with yourself for a while to determine the hidden meaning behind it all. We can probably control our weight and what we eat, but will it make us happy?
There are diseases that involve food and issues like bulimia, anorexia, binge eating, night eating disorder, and rumination. While some involve self-starvation and excessive weight loss, the case with anorexia, others center on binging and/or purging food like bulimia and binge eating. We tend to think they have the same thing in common, to control food or weight, but that’s a mistake. These eating disorders are much more complicated than that. Food and weight issues are symptoms of something deeper like loneliness, lack of self-life, insecurity, the pressure to be someone or something else, or feeling out of control. And no amount of weight loss can cure these emotional issues. The question is, can excessive dieting push us toward an eating disorder?
If you are wondering at which side of the spectrum you are standing, consider these differences between an eating disorder and dieting. Being on a diet, your goal is to lose weight in a healthy way, whereas to someone with an eating disorder, being thin is all that matters, health is not an issue. Self-esteem is based on more than just weight and body image if you are a healthy person on a diet, but to a person with an eating disorder, their self-esteem is based entirely on how thin they are. A dieter views weight loss as a way to improve their health and appearance, but if you have an eating disorder, your view on weight loss is a way to achieve happiness and an attempt to control your life and emotions.
If you recognize any eating disorder symptom in yourself, consider these next steps toward recovery.
- The first step toward recovery is admitting that your weight is out of your control and admitting you have suffered physical and emotional damage.
- Go find help. It is important to know that you are not alone, find a person you can trust that can listen to you. Look for support while you try to get better.
- Stay away from the situation that triggers you to continue down the same path, it could be places, persons, and activities that have to do with weight loss or body weight.
- Find the professional help you need. Professionals can help you view yourself and food in a different manner. They can help you regain your health. You can start by reaching out to the National Eating Disorder Association for professional referrals, information, and advice.
- Count on your family. Support from family members makes a big difference in treatment success. Having a team of trusted family members or loved ones will make recovery easier.