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? Do you eat more during times of heightened stress or feel unable to control your food intake or emotional stability? Are you excessively concerned with how parts of your body look? Maybe you’ve tried every new diet or exercise fad known to humankind and still not experienced any lasting results. Do you often think that if you could just find the right diet you would look and feel better? Have you wished for a normal relationship with food? 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.
Many Young Adults Have An Unhealthy Relationship With Food
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 are deeper emotional issues at play.
Many young adults – patricianly young women – have complicated relationships with food and unhealthy perceptions of themselves. While appearance is a common preoccupation for many young adults, it can become an obsession for young adults with eating issues, which may develop during the dating years. When rejection occurs – which is does for almost everyone at some point while dating – people with eating issues may place blame on their physical appearance rather than shrug the incompatibility off and move on. They may eat to comfort themselves and end up feeling even more shameful, guilty, anxious, or depressed.
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 issues. Regardless whether you’ve been struggling with eating issues for years or if an unhealthy relationship with food is a recent issue, a good therapist can help you change how you use 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, you can start figuring out its true source. With the help of a highly trained and experienced BPS therapist, you can 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. Also, it’s not the role of your therapist to also be dietician. You’ll never be told that you cannot eat something. The goal isn’t to take food away. Rather, it’s to add foods that are nutrient-dense while you work on getting both physically and emotionally healthier.
While there is no quick fix to an eating issue, with commitment, a willingness to change and a trained therapist, you can get better in touch with your body and learn how to eat in a way that works for you. Your therapist can give you practical strategies and tools to help handle emotional upsets so that you don’t reach for food as comfort. With the right guidance, it is entirely possible to heal your relationship with food, stop obsessing and find a new sense of freedom.
But, you still may have questions or concerns…
I think that therapy could help, but I’m concerned about costs.
This is your life and wellbeing. Addressing your eating issues now may prevent a host of life-long problems and patterns from occurring as you continue into adulthood. Your relationship with food affects your mind, body and spirit. Ask yourself how much you really value yourself – if you’re worth it. Right now you are likely not treating yourself or your body like you are. Investing in therapy is the first step to breaking that pattern. 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 to work specifically with young adult 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 to work with young adults with eating issues and whose personality is a good match for yours. Once you find that good match, making a commitment to yourself may be one of the most valuable investments there is. Imagine feeling and functioning better on a regular basis – now and in the long-term – and ask yourself what that’s worth.
If money still is an issue, you can talk with your BPS therapist to see if they work on a sliding scale. They may also be able to help you find a resource to help offset cost.
I’m too embarrassed to talk to anyone about this – even a therapist.
While you may be embarrassed, the reality is that therapists who specialize in eating issues have heard it all – even binging on a whole carton of ice cream or 24-pack on Ding Dongs in the middle of the night. The role of your BPS therapist is not to judge you, but rather to help you work through the emotional issues that trigger your compulsive eating. And, you are in control of what you disclose to your therapist. As you develop a trusting relationship, you may find that your level of comfort increases and you feel less embarrassed and more open to getting the help you need to heal.
I should be able to figure this out on my own.
If it were possible to figure this out on your own, you likely would have already found a solution. Our culture continuously promises us that the next diet fad or exercise program will be the quick fix that we’ve been looking for. Most people, however, keep bumping up against the same wall with no results.
Your BPS therapist is trained to work with eating issues and the underlying emotional issues that are tied to unhealthy eating patterns. Your therapist can help you gain clarity about what’s going on for you specifically, and offer strategies and tools that can provide relief. With help, it is possible to experience notable changes and shifts with your relationship to food.
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 ensure a good match between you a BPS therapist in terms of personality, style and expertise.
You can also check out our free, online therapist directory, which will match you and with a therapist who has expertise helping young adults with eating issues.