Is Food Running Your Life?
Do you hate what you see in the mirror? Are you binge eating and feeling shameful, guilty or anxious about it? Have you struggled with anorexia or bulimia? Are you excessively concerned with how parts of your body look? Does it seem like you’ve tried every new diet or exercise fad known to humankind and still not experienced any lasting results? Do you think that if you had just a little more willpower your life would be much better?
Most people suffering from eating issues believe that food is the root cause of their problems. That is not the case. There is a reason why all those diets and exercise routines haven’t worked – and it isn’t food or your lack of willpower. Your discontent with your life and yourself, which are causing you to binge eat, exercise incessantly or hate the way you look, are emotionally based. You can diet and exercise nonstop, but until you identify and work through the causes of your pain, you will continue to struggle. Simply, happy people do not binge eat.
Eating Disorders Are Very Common
If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy relationship with food, you are not alone. Food – sugar in particular – may be the most commonly abused “drug” in the U.S. It’s socially accepted and readily available. But, much like someone struggling with alcohol, it can be very difficult to control. Its abuse is an indication that there may be deeper emotional issues at play.
You’ve probably learned from your gazillion attempts at dieting that there is no quick fix. If there were, you likely would have found it already. The good news is, though, that therapy has been proven to be an extremely effective method for treating eating disorders. Even if you’ve been struggling with eating issues for years, a good therapist can help you undergo a dramatic change in your relationship with food and develop an improved sense of self.
Food Can Stop Taking the Center Stage of Your Life
First, change is absolutely possible.
Once you realize that the source of your sadness and discontent isn’t food, it’s important that you start figuring out its true source. With the help of a highly trained and experienced BPS therapist, you’ll begin to identify the root causes of your pain and develop specific tools to deal with your emotions. Binge or emotional eating is a coping mechanism – and one that probably makes you feel worse. In therapy, you’ll develop the ability to deal with difficult emotions in ways that don’t include food. You should be aware that a therapist with no formal background in nutrition should not be making nutrition recommendations. If you’re seeking nutrition recommendations you should make sure that your therapist also has training in this area, or see a nutritionist or dietician separately.
But, you still may have questions or fears…
I’m scared to look at what’s really causing my disordered eating.
Feeling scared is very common and understandable. It’s usually not easy to look at why we feel bad and behave in unhealthy ways. But, change can only occur once you are willing to take the first step. Are you willing to take risks to feel better? Do you want to really love yourself and your life or do you just want to keep going through it? Once you make that commitment to change and to begin therapy, you’ll likely find that it’s not as scary as you now think. And, it’s kind of like working out – the more you do it the easier it becomes. With a sincere commitment on your part and the help of a trained and supportive therapist, living a healthier and happier life is very possible.
I think that I may need some help but I’m not sure that I can afford it.
This is your life and your wellbeing. Your relationship with food affects your mind, body and spirit. Ask yourself how much you really value yourself – if you’re worth it. Are you treating yourself and your body in ways that promote long-term emotional and physical health? If not, investing in therapy is the first step to breaking those patterns. It may be the best and most sustainable decision you ever make.
Many people come to BPS having worked with other therapists who were not trained in treating eating issues or who they couldn’t relate with – which is a waste of time and money. At BPS, we’ll conduct a referral assessment and match you with a therapist who is trained and experienced in treating eating issues and whose personality is a good match with yours. Once you find that good match, making a commitment to yourself is the investment of a lifetime – imagine being much happier and healthier on a regular basis and ask yourself what that is worth.
If money still is an issue, you can talk with your BPS therapist to see if they work on a sliding scale.
I’ve worked hard to keep my eating issues well hidden. I’m afraid that I’ll be judged if I admit that I have a problem.
It is a priority of all BPS therapists to provide all clients with an environment of support and safety. It is not our role to judge, but rather to offer you support and gentle guidance as you work through the sources of your pain and develop healthier ways to handle your emotions and relationship with food. You may have worked hard to keep your issues with eating well hidden, but talking about them is the first step to dealing with them. And, although you may feel embarrassed by some of your thoughts or food behavior, many others have experienced the same feelings and engaged in similar behaviors. Even if you truly believe that your eating behaviors and underlying emotions are highly unusual, in therapy you may discover that they are very common. Sometimes just learning that we are not so different and that change is possible can provide immediate relief.
We encourage you to schedule a referral assessment with a BPS therapist, trained by BPS Director, Dr. Jan Hittelman. We will work with you to determine what your specific issues are and to ensure a good match between you and a BPS therapist in terms of personality, style and expertise.
You can also check out our free, online therapist directory, which will match you with a therapist who has expertise working with eating issues.