When I found out it was eating disorder awareness week, my first thought was that it should be re branded as “Eating Week” where we can remind ourselves of the benefits of eating, emphasising the healthy rather than the self destructive, the positive body views. Encouraging the realisation that a healthy outlook is a step closer to healthier eating and self love rather than self harm by using food as a weapon towards oneself.
I look back and realise that I went through a tough relationship with food when I was a teenager and hid it well.
For me it was a way of coping with life or maybe having some control on life.
I was 14 when I started being overweight (puppy fat was the phrase used). I was unhappy at school and at home, trying to cope with feelings of failure, embarrassed by the changes to my body which I now know are all normal but at the age of 14 they were magnified by hormonal changes.
I started with throwing my lunch in the bin, skipping breakfast, increasing sport, tennis, swimming, badminton, table tennis and the weight dropped off. Others started noticing and making comments in a good way, so my self esteem went up and it all felt good for a while.
The trouble was, I went too far, but disguised it well.
Thankfully, a chance remark by a boy at youth club who said I was too thin made me look at myself again with different eyes and I managed to pull myself back from a serious path.
I appreciate there are many reasons for eating issues whether it is anxiety, fear, feeling of control over something, shame, believing in the existence of imperfections, competition and pressure, self imposed or not. The striving for the “perfect” body as a solution to solve one’s issues or worries around one’s life.
Nowadays, thankfully, it is realised that this can be an issue for everyone, young and old, no single gender, no one reason and unfortunately there is not one solution that fits all.
Is it an illness? For some? Maybe a state of mind? Where under pressure from elsewhere we can exert some control? Or a passage of life that we all go through where for some it becomes a bigger issue?
I believe reprogramming thought forms, patterns and allowing self love is a good start.
Meditation and other positive approaches can aid you on the journey and I have created Mindful Life Journeys meditations to help everyday people start.