In describing how to break out of an eating disorder “It is hard because it involves letting go of the hope that you had, that restricting your eating would solve the other problems in your life”. Kate Middleton
A need to escape from pressure, at work, in education, from parents or peers.
Criticism of your appearance from family or friends.
Belittling or bullying by family or bosses or peers.
An unequal relationship with someone who matters.
An Influence from family, social circle, media, work or culture focussing on appearance.
Perfectionism, striving for an ideal.
How does it start?
It may be a diet that got out of hand, it may be the need to feel temporarily in control, to dampen the emotions, numb your feelings, distract from emotional pain. It may be an urge to punish yourself, an expression of disgust like self harm.
Confusing facts with feelings; ‘I feel fat therefore I am fat’, ‘I feel out of control, I am out of control’, ‘I cannot control my eating, I am useless!’, ‘I’ve broken my diet I may as well eat what I like”
95% of people who diet using restrictive methods will put the weight back on and probably more, each time you yo-yo diet the regain will become faster.
Dieting can cause binging, mood swings, irritability and anxiety.
Eating for comfort will only make you feel worse.
You may try to control your weight by vomiting after a binge but only 30-50% of the calories consumed are lost.
Vomiting increases insulin levels, this tells your body that you are hungry.
Overall binging and vomiting will increase your body weight. Vomiting also affects the heart causing palpitations.
Laxatives are almost useless, using them only rids the body of 12% of the calories consumed and regular usage can lead to anal leakage…ugh!
Weight control by excessive exercise can burn off calories but also increases hunger level,s the urge to binge and burn off can become a nasty pattern.
Dental erosion, dehydration and water retention, mood swings, loss of interest in sex, need for secrecy, relationship breakdown, social avoidance, obsession, apathy, irregular heartbeat, loss of periods, IBS.
How to stop?
The road to recovery has started, it started when you recognised that you need help for your problem, there are self help books, I strongly recommend ‘1st steps to recovery’ by Kate Middleton or, there are therapists like myself who will help you to understand how and why it started.
“It is likely that your eating disorder is controlling you and reducing the amount of control you have in other areas of your life”
Once upon a time the eating disorder was a help to you, it gave you the private space in your head that you needed to make you feel safe, we have to go back, to find the you that chose that form of control and what thoughts maintain your behaviour.
We have to identify when you are most vulnerable and develop an alternative healthy coping strategy.
We have to find out what it is you fear may happen if you make that change, and to consider what may happen if you do not make the change.
We will identify goals:
To enjoy eating out socially,
To stop obsessing about food,
To get rid of this guilty secret,
To behave normally around food.
How many sessions?
It depends on trust and honesty, it can be as few as 5 if you can put in the work, if it gets to 10 there is something not happening, we have to review our relationship and methods. I do work in a challenging style; I find it brings success.
This lady had 5 sessions with me and on the 5th we agreed that the goals had been reached; ending the obsession with food, enjoying eating both with family and socially. Success depended on working together with trust and honesty, focus and integrity.
“When I first made contact with Ros I was within total grip of an eating disorder.
Having suffered for nearly 20 years on and off and now with a young family I desperately needed to get this sorted once and for all.
With Ros’s support and light hearted but knowledgeable approach, just a few short weeks on I have been able to reach recovery and amazingly have just enjoyed a family holiday of normal eating, barbeques and finally feel out of the overwhelming crush that is an eating disorder.
I cannot thank Ros enough; she has done nothing less than give me my life back.”