Eating Disorders involve more complex issues and are serious conditions which need expert, specialised professional help. Statistics from the Eating Disorders Association (EDA) show that women of 15-25 are most likely to develop an eating disorder – although sometimes problems can occur in middle age. As the Eating Disorders Association (EDA) states, ‘Eating Disorders are not about food, but about feelings and emotions.’
Anorexia is a way of controlling food intake and a way of coping with life and/or asserting independence– exercising control over food in order to try to control life. Unfortunately restricting food intake often to dangerous levels leads to changes in body chemistry and affects the brain so that thinking becomes disordered and the sufferer is unable to make rational decisions necessary to nourish the body adequately. The sufferer becomes exhausted, malnourished and slowly starves herself unless help is obtained.
Bulimia involves binge eating in order to try and satisfy an emotional hunger. As this hunger is emotional rather than physical, food does not satisfy it. The immediate urge to get rid of the food eaten results in vomiting, purging (with laxatives), starving following a binge or by “working the food off” with exercise.
Binge Eating Disorder
In this condition the sufferer eats uncontrollably but does not purge. It is suggested that binge eating is far more widespread than Anorexia or Bulimia but has only been accepted as a problem or “disorder” since 1992. Binge eating generally leads to obesity.
Compulsive overeating involves eating when not hungry. In spite of seeming a more common condition it is however still considered a serious condition which according to EDA “needs professional support to ensure long term recovery.”
Other Eating Disorders
You may have eating patterns and problems that do not fit into these categories. Eating problems are complex and therefore not all do fit into these patterns. EDA also notes a diagnosis labelled A-Typical Eating Disorder or Eating Disorder Not otherwise Specified (EDNOS). You may for instance have some behaviours or feelings associated with a particular disorder but not others.
An eating disorder or problem is generally due to several factors rather than a single cause. As stated it is normally a way of coping with life: from feelings, events or pressure that someone feels unable to cope with. This may be due to family problems, low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, work or school, college problems, loss (bereavement, divorce), abuse or bullying or traumatic events. Peer or social pressures regarding body image and onset of puberty can also lead to problems with food and weight. Low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy can be “global” (how much you like and approve of yourself as a whole person) or “specific” (liking and approval of one particular part of yourself). Problems with food and weight can therefore be global (“I hate myself”) or specific (“I’m fat” or “I hate my thighs”). Those affected by an eating disorder or compulsive overeating problem often have feelings of shame, despair, and feel out of control with eating habits.
It is however possible to develop a healthier relationship with food and develop a positive relationship to yourself and your body.
Identifying the feelings and the causes that triggered the eating habits along with the feelings, behaviour and thinking patterns that are maintaining the problem will allow you to develop healthier eating patterns and strategies of dealing with emotions or situations that currently trigger the eating behaviours. It is important to work with a professional who understands the complexity of food and eating issues if you feel you have a problem rather than those who see weight loss or over-eating in a more one-dimensional format.
Hypnotherapy for weight control is not about diets – it’s about healing a painful relationship with food and your body-image and developing more positive, fulfilling eating patterns by dealing with the issue behind the eating/weight problem in a more effective way. It’s also about developing a rewarding, comfortable, permissive relationship with food – rather than a love-hate, restrictive one – and changing those thoughts and responses that make you feel guilty and ashamed when you ‘lose control’ or give in to your desire for a favourite or ‘forbidden’ food.
To find out more about how hypnosis and psychotherapy could help you with eating problems contact me now to discuss your situation or arrange your free initial telephone consultation.
NB: If you think you may have an Eating Disorder, such as Anorexia or Bulimia, you should also contact your GP or the Eating disorders Association for expert assistance. Eating disorders are serious conditions and, whilst Hypno-psychotherapy can be beneficial in the treatment of Eating Disorders, it should not be viewed as a replacement for medical assessment or for specialised support, such as is available from the Eating Disorders Association.