Thursday, June 2, 2011

Back Story

It is true that we are bombarded on every side by images of tiny, fit, muscular people. It is true that 2/3 of the ads we are exposed to involve some form of body manipulation (diet, liposuction, botox, etc.). And it is certainly true that as a culture we are obsessed with size. But I don't think that this alone causes disordered eating.

You've heard that when couples argue about money they are rarely arguing simply about money. Right? There is a bigger, deeper problem that needs to be addressed. But for one reason or another the problems manifest in a monetary way. Thus the arguing about money.

I have a theory. I think disordered eating is less about our actual body and more about something deeper. Our deeper issues are likely subconscious. We likely have no idea about them. But our subconscious rebels against these problems and it spills out consciously as food abuse. There we are thinking that what is wrong with us is that we are ugly and fat. If we could just lose that extra weight all our problems would disappear.

But when the weight is gone happiness doesn't just appear. The person may still feel like more weight needs to be gone. Or there will be something else at fault with the person's appearance. The picking will never stop. Acceptance will never happen. And the person will always be unhappy. All because they were never really upset about their body in the first place.

This is tricky business, finding out what is at the root of disordered eating. And there are as many reasons as there are people. Some think they aren't worthy of love. Some wish they were like someone else. Others have a drive for perfection that is stifling. Some people are just longing for freedom. And some people are going through all of those things at the same time.

As I have taken this journey to love myself as I am I have gone through periods of time where I thought I was cured. I had stopped abusing food. Then out of the blue I start bingeing again. And for a while it seemed to me that I wasn't going anywhere. Just when I thought I was better I would end up right back where I was. Well, maybe not right back where I was. But certainly not where I intellectually thought I should be.

So I broke down and went to see someone. I didn't want to. I was even a bit defensive in that first appointment with the psychologist. I basically told her that my doctor thought I should come, but I had it all under control. My doctor also said that he felt everyone should visit with a psychologist. He believes that we can all benefit from a few sessions. And now I can say I whole heartedly agree.

With each session I have been feeling as though the knots that have been keeping me stuck in the same patterns are finally being untied. I feel relief and freedom as I finally see the back story. I don't think I could have untied these knots alone.

I tell you this to illustrate that if you find yourself in this unbreakable pattern it is time to stop blaming yourself for failing. No more guilt. Instead, find help in whatever form you think would be most beneficial. There is a lot more underneath that you need to discover and untie.

You are beautiful. You are wonderful. And you are worth the effort.

*Image Source*