If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, you may find that your life revolves around food. Whether you’re obsessing about food, overeating, or avoiding food altogether, controlling what you eat is seen as a way to control your life and find happiness.
Eating disorders refer to a group of conditions defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake, whereby the individual’s physical and mental health is affected. If any of the symptoms or behaviours below are familiar to you, you may either have an eating disorder, or you may have disordered eating habits which could lead to the development of an eating disorder. In either case, if your eating habits are causing you anxiety or are affecting your functioning, it is important to speak to a professional. Early intervention is vital in successfully treating, or otherwise preventing an eating disorder. Alternatively, if you have been diagnosed with an eating disorder in the past and are experiencing a relapse, or still struggle with symptoms of an eating disorder, seek help from a psychologist at VCPS.
Help is available, and a psychologist can help you to break free of the destructive thoughts and behaviours that take over and stop you from living life to its fullest. Don’t let food control your life.
Do you engage in/experience any of the following?
- Constant and repetitive dieting
- Monitoring or recording food intake (counting calories, fasting etc)
- Restricting your diet – e.g. cutting out food groups or limiting the types of food you can eat
- Eating alone or in secret
- Using rituals around eating (e.g. having to use particular cutlery, or eat at a certain time of day)
- Spending excessive time to plan meals or shop for food
- Feeling guilty or anxious after eating
- Fear of gaining weight or being unable to control your weight
- Obsessively checking your body (e.g. standing in front of the mirror or measuring your waist)
- Feel out of control when eating
- Excessive or compulsive exercise – i.e. feeling you have to exercise no matter what
Overcoming an eating disorder involves rediscovering and accepting who you are, beyond what you eat, what your body looks like, and your weight. Therapy is crucial for individuals with an eating disorder, as the disorder often leads to social isolation and prevents friends and family from being able to provide support, leaving you to feel you have to fight the disorder alone. The practitioners at VCPS can provide you with support and treatment through:
- Addressing your negative thoughts and behaviours
- Setting goals for the future
- Helping you to understand what drives your disordered eating
- Developing a reward system where you can reward yourself when you have done something to positively improve your eating behaviour
- Assisting you to uncover of how your lifestyle structure and relationships with others impact your disorder