Are You Obsessed With Food And/Or Body Image Issues?
Do you emotionally eat when you are anxious or sad? When you were growing up, did you believe that food was associated with your family’s love? Have you experienced trauma and now eat (or don’t eat) to fill a gap or maintain control of your life? Do others often comment on your weight and worry about your health? Perhaps you are often preoccupied with what, when or how much you eat. Or maybe your eating habits have begun to control your decisions and behaviors, emotions or your personality, causing you to drift apart from your loved ones. When you eat, do you often consume a lot of food in one sitting? It’s possible that you perceive your body very differently than others. Perhaps you often criticize your body when you compare it to your peers or images in the media. Do you wish you could maintain healthy eating habits and feel comfortable in your own skin?
No matter if you eat too much or too little, if you’re struggling with an eating disorder, your life may constantly revolve around overwhelming thoughts about food. While it is possible that others may unaware of your eating disorder, your life may be considerably restricted by it. Throughout the day, you may wonder about how to best hide your habits from others. You may avoid activities such as dinner parties because you worry that others may notice that you refuse to eat or eat too much. Your relationships with your family, friends and coworkers may suffer because you fear that if you spend too much time with them, they will judge you for your eating habits. You may be so preoccupied with thoughts about food that you end up spending more time thinking about it than you would preparing and eating it.
Eating Disorders Are More Common Than You May Think
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, about 20 million women and 10 million men in the US suffered from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their lives. Eating disorders are also just as common in adolescents as they are in adults. Many of today’s societal norms may to blame for why so many people struggle with unhealthy obsessions with food. For example, stressful and busy lifestyles force individuals to develop irregular and unhealthy eating patterns, such as skipping breakfast, eating fast food while driving and eating late at night. In addition, the nearly unobtainable body images that permeate the media cause many individuals to worry about their how their bodies appear to others.
Those who have a history of sexual abuse may be especially vulnerable to eating disorders. It is common to try to gain weight in order to appear less attractive – and less susceptible to further abuse.
Develop Healthy Eating Patterns With Eating Disorder Treatment
During safe and compassionate eating disorder treatment sessions, you and one of our expert Personal Growth Counseling therapists will work together to create an individualized plan to help you feel comfortable with your body and learn how to maintain healthy eating habits.
Your therapist will do a comprehensive assessment that includes compiling a complete family, relationship and medical history to understand some of the reasons for your obsession with food. No matter whether your thoughts about food or your eating behaviors are rooted in low self-esteem, childhood conflicts or cultural pressures, your therapist can help you resolve any underlying issues so you can feel resilient in the future.
At Personal Growth Counseling, we use a variety of techniques during eating disorder treatment sessions. Psychoeducation is one of the first and most important steps that can help you understand how your brain works and how it may be contributing to your pain. Once you learn about how your mind works, your therapist will teach you skills that can help you regulate your emotions. An increased awareness around eating disorders and effective tools can empower and encourage you to make the necessary changes to your eating habits.
Your therapist can help you identify and clear through negative thoughts, such as predicting a horrible future, thinking in “all or nothing” terms or minimizing/exaggerating issues. During eating disorder treatment sessions, you can also learn mindfulness practices, which can help you stay comfortable and focused in the present moment. In addition, your therapist may use EMDR or Rapid Resolution Therapy with Clinical Hypnosis to help you clear any past trauma and update thoughts and emotions that may be keeping you stuck.
Throughout eating disorder treatment, you will work with a team – usually consisting of your therapist, a dietitian and your primary care doctor. If you have a child with an eating disorder, you and your partner will also be members of this team to provide your child with support and guidance.
Since 1994, the therapists at Personal Growth Counseling have helped countless adults and adolescents overcome many different types of eating disorders including: Pica-Persistent (eating of non-nutritive food substances), Rumination Disorder (repeated regurgitation of food not associated with a medical condition), Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (apparent lack of interest in eating or food), Anorexia Nervosa (restriction of food leading to an abnormally low body weight) and Bulimia Nervosa (recurrent episodes of binge eating with or without purging).
Even though you may feel like you have lost control of your life because of your obsession with food, there is help available to you. With support and guidance, you can learn how to maintain healthy eating habits and begin feeling good about your body and yourself.
I believe I could benefit from eating disorder treatment, but I still have a few questions and concerns…
Will I need to change my lifestyle in order to lose/gain weight?
If your eating habits are unhealthy to the point where they are restricting your activities and pushing you away from your family and friends, it is important that you seek help as soon as possible. You may think that an instant fix, such as medication or gastric bypass surgery, is your best option, but if you do not address the emotional patterns behind your issues, you may not experience any lasting change. With eating disorder treatment, you have the chance to learn healthy eating practices, feel better and maintain a strong connection with your loved ones.
I feel ashamed for seeking eating disorder treatment.
Just like no one would expect you to be your own dentist, there is no shame in seeking help from an expert in healthy lifestyle choices. Attending eating disorder treatment is a strong and courageous decision – one that can bring you immediate relief and teach you lifelong skills to help you in the future.
I am concerned about the cost of eating disorder treatment.
While eating disorder treatment will cost you some time, money and energy, these investments can pay off both now and in the future. Once you are motivated to positively change your eating habits, your therapist will teach you effective techniques to start feeling calmer and in control as well as long-term strategies to maintain your progress. Your sessions can also help you improve other areas of your life as well, such as increasing your productivity at work and strengthening your connections with your loved ones.
You Can Feel Confident Maintaining Healthy Patterns Of Eating
If you are ready to work with an expert team to overcome an eating disorder, we invite you to call us for a complimentary 20-minute phone consultation to discuss your needs and how eating disorder treatment can help you.