What are Eating Disorders?
Most of us are not aware what type of a relationship we hold with food. As babies, we are born with vital needs, including a need to feel safe, loved, connected and accepted. When there is a disconnect in a child’s provision of his most basic needs, that child starts resorting to inappropriate channels to fulfil them.
It is as early as this stage that we start forming the unhealthy or distorted relationship we hold with food as adults.
Most people are not aware that any type of weight or eating disorder stems from incidents and events that got anchored as beliefs at an early age in life. And depending on how we internalized those events, we formed those beliefs in our subconscious mind.
An eating disorder is a mental illness originating from emotional roots, in the right environmental context and a favorable genetic component. At some point in your life, you started using food in a way that defeats its purpose: you could be using food to manage your feelings, to calm your anger, or to fill out a void. Most of the clients that seek me out for weight-disorders learn to identify, within their rapid transformational therapy (RTT) journey with me, where, when, how and why their beliefs about food were formed.
Anyone can develop an eating disorder. No matter what your age, gender, cultural or racial background is.
In my practice, I see more food-related disorders in modern cities like Dubai or Qatar, where many expats live alone and carry extremely busy schedules, making it impossible for them to stick to healthy routines. The good news with RTT is that, because it uses hypnotherapy as one of the techniques, it works deep enough to make sure your willpower stands strong against your emotions over the long run.
Types of eating disorders
The most common eating disorders include but not limited to:
- Anorexia nervosa – trying to control your weight by not eating enough food, exercising too much, or doing both. In my practice, I have found that a few of the main root causes of anorexia in a person are an overwhelming need for control and a subconscious desire to remain young and not grow up.
- Bulimia – losing control over how much you eat and then taking drastic action to not put on weight. A bulimic person is typically run by her appetite because at some point, it was drastically suppressed. And when you suppress anything so much, it starts to run you, and you start adopting irrational food habits.
- Binge eating disorder (BED) – eating large portions of food until you feel uncomfortably full.
- Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). ARFID involves avoiding certain foods, limiting how much one eats or both. Possible reasons for ARFID include negative feelings over a smell, taste or texture of certain foods, a response to a past experience with food that was upsetting, not actually feeling hungry or just a lack of interest in eating.
- Orthorexia: this one is more of a recent eating disorder and involves being obsessed with clean food, such as organic, free trade, healthy,… basically avoiding modified and processed food. I have found that clients suffering from orthorexia also have control issues.
- Other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED). A person may have an OSFED if their symptoms do not exactly fit the expected symptoms for any specific eating disorders.
What causes eating disorders?
Most specialists believe that eating disorders develop because of a mix of psychological, environmental and genetic factors. Psychological factors could be:
- Being vulnerable to depression and anxiety
- Finding stress hard to handle
- Worrying a lot about the future
- Being a perfectionist
- Controlling your emotions
- Having obsessive or compulsive feelings
- A fear of being fat
Environmental factors may include:
- Pressure at school
- Criticism for your body shape or eating habits
- Having difficult family relationships
- Having a job or hobby where being thin is seen as ideal, such as dancing or athletics.
Genetic factors can include:
- Changes in the brain or hormone levels
- Family history of eating disorders, depression or substance misuse
How are eating disorders treated?
I have learned through my clients to deal with weight disorders as seriously if not more seriously than other challenges, because they are not only deeply rooted, but they result in a poor body image and very low self-esteem. People with eating disorders are at higher risk for suicide and medical complications. That being said, eating disorders can be treated successfully. Early detection and treatment are important for a full recovery.
Typical treatment goals include: `
- Restoring adequate nutrition, by re-learning food and nutrition basics. I have found that weight clients do best in my “Take the Plunge” 90-days’ package that stands for a complete journey that involves inner work as well as learning to become a mindful, selective eater.
- Bringing weight to a healthy level in a realistic and individualized way.
- Reducing excessive exercise, and learning what type of activity fits you most.
- Stopping unbeneficial eating habits such as binge-purge and binge-eating behaviors and replacing them with much better ones. This can be achieved with targeted therapy, including rapid transformational therapy (RTT) and behavior modification. Nowadays, it’s become much easier to seek help through online therapy where a person mentored virtually during a healing journey from the comfort of her own home.
Where can you find help?
If you’re unsure where to get help, your health care provider is a good place to start. He or she can refer you to a qualified mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist who has experience in treating eating disorders. You can contact me @kesrouanicarla to learn more about a typical life-changing journey with me. That will empower you and change the way you see food altogether.