We always think about anorexia being an eating disorder where you do not eat enough food. But it is way more than the physical aspect, it is a mindset. When you correct the eating portion you can still be dealing with the mental portion that goes a long with it.
There is so much that goes along with this issue. Mentally there are a slew of things going on. We are just going to touch on a few of them.
Not being good enough
When you are dealing with anorexia you can feel like you are never good enough, and this does not only pertain to your weight. It spreads to every aspect of your life. People tend to see the manifestation of feeling the body is not good enough because it is easy for people to see when you are wasting away. But they do not see the rest of it. They do not see the self doubt of every career or hobby you undertake. Even if someone else thinks your good, you do not really believe them. You can see all the other people who are so much better at this job than you are so why should you really bother?
I will be happy when I get X
This is very prevalent in our society with many people not just people suffering from anorexia. People with anorexia just take it to a whole different level. They obsess about it. They just know that when they get to the magical weight they are aiming for, life will be filled with cotton candy clouds and unicorns prancing over rainbows. But it goes right back to the issue we mentioned earlier where it is never enough. You will get to that magical weight and then you want to lose more. This also seeps into the other areas of your life. You could have the perfect relationship, the perfect career, the perfect body, the best of friends and you still would not be satisfied. There will still be more that you need before you can be happy. Because of this happiness is always something you are striving for, and you never take the time to just be happy with what you have where you are.
Feeling guilty about eating food
You feel guilty about what you eat, like it is going to ruin all the hard work you have done. Food becomes the enemy, that thing that is standing between you and the magical happiness you are seeking. And for many people, even when you have finally started eating again, the guilt is still there, the battle continues. You get the feeling of being scared of messing up.
The root cause of a lot of the issues with Anorexia come from emotional issues such as depression, loneliness, perfectionism, insecurity, or the feeling of a lack of control.
How to work with these issues
#1 The best thing you can do is seek professional help. This is not an easy thing to deal with. A therapist can help you get to the root of why you are doing this to yourself. Once you know why, you are better equip to handle the job of starting to treat yourself better.
#2 Build up your self esteem. Yeah, I know easier said than done. Start simply by finding just one thing you do like about yourself. It could be a specific body part or it could simply be your smile, your eyes, your nails, your hair. It does not matter what it is, it only matters that you find one thing you like about yourself. Then whenever you think of all the things you do not like about yourself, think about the one thing or multiple things you do like about yourself.
#3 Find something good to focus your attention on. Like we started to talk about above you need to find something positive to focus your attention on. In the example above we were talking about something about yourself you like but now we are talking about anything you like in general. If you like painting then focus your attention on that. If you love taking pictures do that. Just find something you like and put your attention there.
Sometimes people like focus on helping others. Sometimes when people focus more on helping others it can take the focus off yourself and therefore your obsession with your body. This does not mean that you are neglecting yourself it is simply something better to focus your energy on.
#4 Realize that food is simply an energy system or a fuel system that your body needs to survive. It is interesting how easy it is to think of food as this thing that makes you fat. When it is actually the bodies fuel source. You have to keep putting gas in your car or eventually you will not be going anywhere. Well food is the bodies version of gas, If you stop putting it in, the body will stop working for you. Stop seeing food as the enemy and see it as the fuel to get to where you want to go.
#5 Change the people you spend time with. Be honest with who you are spending time with. Are they people that are lifting you up to make you a better person or are they people who are leading you further down the path of self destruction. You should be around people who love you and want the best for you. If the people you are around constantly stress about their own weight or tell you that you should loose more, then you are around the wrong crowd. You want to be around people who understand that food is something to be enjoyed and not demonized.
#6 Realize that women in the magazines are airbrushed. No one is perfect, even super models can have cellulite. Many women hold themselves up to a ridiculous standard because they are comparing themselves to something that does not exist. When you see women in magazines there is a lot that is changed in these pictures. Things that are changed ranges from, smoothing skin (including cellulite), taking inches off of the body, evening out the eyes, whitening teeth and even altering the hair to be fuller or change the color. They can change anything they want in post production. If you were to see these people without the editing you would see they are normal people they just have very "glamorous" jobs.
#7 Throw your damn scale away. I can not stress this one enough, in fact I wrote a whole article on it. I meet too many women all the time that weigh themselves daily, I used to be one of them. They are measuring their worth and success by what the numbers on the scale tell them. The scale does not tell you how much of that weight is muscle mass, how much is fat and how much is vital organs. The scale does not tell you what is really going on, all it does is play with your head, so just get rid of it.
This is by no means a full in depth look at what Anorexia is or what you can do for it. This is just one snippet of what is going on and a few things you might be able to use to help you with it. Please go see a doctor and get help, you are worth it!
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