The physical side effects of a dysfunctional relationship with food are not unlike the environmental complications that have arisen from pollution in our world today. You may have trouble imagining your body as polluted, so do the following exercise using graphic pictures that depict the damage pollution is causing to the earth.
- Collect some magazines and make a collage of beautiful pictures of the earth; sky scenes, landscapes, seascapes. If you can’t find appropriate images, draw a picture in your journal of a beautiful world. This world represents the way God intended your body to be.
- After that, find pictures of the ravages of pollution. On the next page in your journal, draw or paste pictures of how pollution has harmed the world. These images represent how your eating behaviors have polluted your body. Be aware of your physical reactions to these different pictures. Does the beautiful scenery make you feel calm and peaceful? Does the polluted world give you feelings of sadness?
- At the bottom of each picture, write a brief description of how you feel about what you’re looking at. Just as the awareness of pollution’s dangers has caused people to repair the damage done to our earth, so also your own awareness of the real toll you are placing on your body can give you added motivation for discovering the source behind the pollution of your eating behaviors and putting an end to them. Looking at the picture of the world (my body) as God intended it makes me feel…. Looking at the picture of the world (my body) as it has been polluted makes me feel… Fill in those blanks and reflect on your feelings.
All your life you’ve heard the expression, “It’s never too late.” You need to believe that now. Yes, there has been damage done to your body, but that damage can be dealt with and, in most cases, reversed.
In the past, you have spent a good deal of time focusing on how your body looks from the outside. Now it’s time to look at your body from the inside. What is happening to you on the inside affects how you look on the outside. Your relationship with food has not brought you to the point of vibrant health. Instead, it is robbing you of your well-being, little by little.
Before, you were concerned only with the end result, attaining some sort of desired result. Now you need to be concerned with the means you are using to that end and the damage it is causing. To be thin is not necessarily to be healthy. To put on weight is not necessarily to be fat. Vibrant health is what you are striving for physically. Proper nutrition can aid your body in regaining the health of its systems.
Learn more about how nutrition can have an impact on your mental health.
If you or a loved one show signs of having an eating disorder, you may benefit from consulting an eating disorder specialist. Our team of eating disorder professionals at The Center • A Place of HOPE focus on whole-person recovery, and take special care to understand the many aspects in a person’s life that may be contributing to their eating disorder. Fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to get more information or to speak with an eating disorder specialist today.
People suffering from an eating disorder often experienced some form of abuse in their lives. Emotional abuse is one such form of abuse that is frequently overlooked. Emotional abuse can either be verbal or nonverbal. Teasing, belittling, sarcasm, and taunting are all forms of verbal emotional abuse. Nonverbal abuse might take the form of expecting more from children than they can reasonably deliver. Conditional love, with its message of “I love you, but…” is also a form of emotional abuse.
Emotional and verbal abuse are easy to deny because the scars are hidden; there are no bruises to heal, no visible wounds to point to. It is harder to say, “Yes, this really happened!” If you have always lived with them, these behaviors might even seem “normal” to you. But for all of their seeming invisibility, they can be very damaging.
It can also be difficult to pinpoint the symptoms of emotional abuse as they happen in a person’s life. They may have grown up with the behavior, believe it to be normal, or worse, believe the abuse to be their fault. Here are thirteen signs a person is being emotionally abusive.
A person is emotionally abusive if they:
- Refuse to consider your opinion then attempt to force their opinion on you without consideration for your point-of-view.
- Always have to be right when there is a disagreement.
- Devalue your feelings with phrases like, “You’re crazy!” or, “How could you think such a thing?”
- Use unrealistic guilt—guilt that is not in line with the situation—to control your behaviors.
- Command instead of ask you to do things.
- Bring up past hurts to harm you.
- Verbalize forgiveness but bring up past issues to prove a point.
- Use threats, physical force, anger, fear, or intimidation to get their way.
- Practice conditional love.
- Display favoritism by comparing siblings.
- Incorporate harsh judgments in their communications, in order to produce feelings of shame.
- Misuse scriptures to get their way.
- Resort to screaming, yelling, and name-calling in any context.
If you or a loved one is struggling from emotional abuse, especially if there are signs of having an eating disorder, you may benefit from consulting an eating disorder specialist. Our team of eating disorder professionals at The Center • A Place of HOPE focus on whole-person recovery, and take special care to understand the many aspects in a person’s life that may be contributing to their eating disorder, including the possibility of emotional abuse. Fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to get more information or to speak with an eating disorder specialist today.
Guest blog post contributed by Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Director @ Eating Disorder Hope, and Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC, President @ Eating Disorder Hope
If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling with an eating disorder, it may be difficult or confusing to understand the many signs and symptoms that may be present. Though there are many stigmas surrounding eating disorders, these diseases should not be taken lightly. Eating disorders are severe mental health illnesses that are caused by complex factors, such as biological, psychological, and environmental reasons.
Many of the misconceptions about eating disorders concern the reasons why eating disorders develop. Unlike a diet fad or the latest dieting trend, eating disorders are mental illnesses characterized by abnormal eating patterns and disturbed eating behaviors. These disorders are not simply an attempt to “lose weight”, or a “disease of vanity”. Whether it is Anorexia, Bulimia, or Binge Eating Disorder, these psychiatric diseases develop and progress over time. To heal from an eating disorder, a professional treatment team is needed to address the many factors involved.
With over 20 million women and 10 million men suffering from eating disorders in the United States, it is important to understand the signs that someone might be at risk for developing an eating disorder. Identifying these diseases as early as possible improves the chances for interventions and treatment outcomes. Thankfully, treatment methods are improving as eating disorders are better understood by researchers and health care professionals. While it may feel daunting to face the fact that you or someone you love has an eating disorder, recognizing what you are struggling with will only help the recovery process.
Given the complexity of eating disorders, it is critical to be aware of the different ways symptoms may appear. Eating disorders impact a person’s physical health, emotional well-being, relationships, finances, and more. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling with an eating disorder, look for these signs and symptoms:
- Abnormal food behaviors, rituals, or eating patterns, such as eating unusual portion sizes, cutting food into tiny pieces, hiding food, or purposely eating alone.
- Fixation with food, weight loss, and/or body image
- Obsession with counting calories, fat grams, nutrient content of foods, etc
- Heighted depression, lethargy, and/or anxiety
- Withdrawal from relationships, social functions, family, and friends
- Severely restricting caloric intake, resulting in unstable weight loss
- Intense fear of eating and/or weight gain
- Episodes of bingeing on a very large amount of food, followed by purging
- Feelings of guilt or shame in regards to eating or body image
- Feeling out of control while eating
While these symptoms may indicate that an eating disorder is developing, it is necessary to see a qualified health professional for a full assessment and diagnosis. If you are struggling with any of the above symptoms, it is important that you seek the help and guidance of a medical professional. Your life is valuable, and recovery from an eating disorder is possible, no matter what has brought you to this point in your journey. Though it may be scary to reach out and ask for the help you need, you are taking the most vital step in reclaiming your life and finding freedom from an eating disorder.