It’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week and the theme is Binge Eating Disorder. For our Senior Dietitian, Paula, thinking about food differently and redefining our relationship with food is an essential piece of work in recovery from Binge Eating Disorder. Here are some ways she supports our clients in treatment…
Binge eating disorder is a complex mental illness, but it is treatable and with the right support, recovery is possible.
There is no “one way” to have BED – one person’s experience of the illness will look different to another’s. Yet there are shared characteristics and one such example is the experience of bingeing. Individuals with BED often described being “trapped” in a cycle of bingeing: feeling great shame or guilt after bingeing, restricting or dieting as a means of compensation, then experiencing an emotional trigger or physical deprivation that can cause them to binge once more. The cycle continues…
Yet BED is not just about food. Rather, food is a symptom of often complex underlying emotional causes that may be compelling someone to cope or self-soothe through food. Treatment at Orri involves looking at the whole person experience of the illness, and one such part of this is someone’s relationship to food and eating.
For our Senior Dietitian, Paula, thinking about food differently and redefining our relationship with food is an essential piece of work in recovery from Binge Eating Disorder. Here are some ways she supports our clients in treatment:
Removing labels around food, such as “good” or “bad”
Diet culture is ubiquitous and has taught us to think of food as either “good” or “bad”. By eating either of these foods, we are either “good” or “bad”. But food has no intrinsic moral value. And we are neither “good” nor “bad” for eating something. These associations or beliefs are merely a product of diet culture and serves to prop up a billion-dollar industry. Finding freedom from these belief systems is crucial to developing a healthy, intuitive relationship to food.
Throwing away the rule book around food
Abiding by strict rules around food can actually make us crave the food even more, thus becoming more tempting when we are in a situation – or experiencing certain emotions – that can trigger a binge. If we allow ourselves to eat more intuitively – without the rules! – we will naturally find a balance that is both satisfying and enjoyable.
We know that this is often an incredibly difficult process, as such, Paula helps educate clients about food, busting myths where needed and offering specialist insight and guidance to ensure that clients feel confident and empowered to make the right decisions for their recovery.
Saying goodbye to guilt
Guilt only serves to compound the ‘voice’ or belief system of the eating disorder. Instead of feeling guilty, we support our clients in developing a compassionate voice in response to challenging situations. You are not your eating disorder, and learning to distinguish between your ‘well’ self and the ‘voice’ of the eating disorder is a really helpful chapter in recovery.
Doing away with counting calories and dieting
Counting calories or engaging in a certain diet will only keep us trapped in the cycle of binge eating. Eating disorders by their very nature are defined by preoccupation with food. We don’t encourage something that could add more fuel to the fire.
Finding joy and comfort in eating again
Paula helps clients to identify the foods they actually enjoy and feel comfortable eating. Eating disorders take away all the pleasure that comes along with food, as well as the joy that comes from eating socially and feeling engaged in “normal” activities around food. Together, we help clients to uncover that joy once more so they can return to a space of comfort and curiosity with food and when eating with others.