When Eating Disorders first appeared in the behaviours of the masses, in ancient Egypt, then Rome and on down our historical past – (yes that long ago) it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with low sense of self awareness and an internal reference that was easily overwhelmed by external opinion, were easily influenced and overcame the adversity associated with bulimia and heavy restricting. Instead they actively pursued the “thin at any cost” mentality, and eventually made their eating disorder into not just a habit, actually an obsessive and addictive mindset.
Decades of research now point to emotional frailty as being a driving force that sets someone with an eating disorder apart from others. The ability to isolate is a needed factor. The inner mindset is driven and oblivious to all evidence to the contrary while thin is maintained at all costs.
Bulimia results from a heavy restrictive diet, over prolonged periods of time; we know that now. The restricting is “something” that drives the behaviours, regardless of the costs to the body, brain and spirit. It affects how we manage and navigate social complexities, and changes how we make personal decisions to achieve what we want. There’s a belief “I can force this, make it happen and quickly”, leading to a belief “I’m in control”; when in fact, you have no control at all.
Despite the current understandings around these behaviours, bulimia has a pervasive nature which makes it very difficult to know how much you are willing to sacrifice to achieve your end purpose. Even at the cost of your life.
The science/medical/psychology models are really struggling with this anomaly in personality, and while their results indicate they need a lot more study before they claim a victory. Here’s some suggestions that might help you master your emotional challenges with some ideas that may help you step out of your world for just a moment and perhaps see things from a new perspective.
Isolation and fear of judgement
All people experience these feelings, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur. What happens as you take the information from outside and begin to make it yours on the inside: ie: leading questions “do you think I’ve eaten too much?” And the response triggers those old irrational choices and counterproductive actions.
When you take control of the inner voices, you step up and learn to master their controlling and irrelevant data collection. You know the moment you begin to isolate, it’s time to sit with that awareness, and take a different action. Recognize with awareness what you are doing. While many people might describe themselves as simply feeling “bad,” that feeling can and often does take you deeply into the behaviour – instead quickly choosing to plan for an eating fest to distract the negative feelings and seek the self-pleasure of binging & purging instead.
When you start to recognize and pinpoint those feelings, “irritable,” “frustrated,” “overwhelmed,” or “anxious.” you gain a better insight into exactly how you are feeling, what caused it, and what you can do about it. Here’s the deal on this: If you won’t allow your feelings, and stop them off with binging and purging, then you are in fact, installing another pattern to manage your emotional state. You can do something different, and let that old pattern die away, it just doesn’t make any sense.
Get curious about others
Isolating and focus on you gets obsessive and really boring. When you develop a curiosity about others, it takes you into true empathy, one of the most significant gateways to congruence (heart centred awareness – compassion). The more curiosity you have about other people and what they’re going through, the less you will be obsessing and focusing on yourself. Listen to your language patterns: Do they usually start with “Me, My, or I?” That’s a clear sign you need to get out and ask questions of others, about them. Engage the world. Open your heart; be present to others, these kinds of exchanges build our self esteem and self worth.
Yoga is one of the best for this, the gentle yoga that increases flexibility in your muscles and increases a deeper flexibility in you increasing your ability to go with the flow. There is a rigidly in fear it can be paralyzing and a major threat to recovery. Those old fears of how many calories, how many pounds, how many inches… all titrate down to “all about me” again.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Telling yourself, “I should be able to manage this event and my family at the same time”, and yet you know who pushes your buttons and the environments (both situations and people) that trigger a relapse. Often you know your strengths and time to appreciate them. What if you connected with those strengths and that state of being and give yourself permission to take complete care of you, without care for what others think or do not think? Perhaps you would opt for avoiding those family events that just turn into emotional drama and traumatize you. Perhaps you would opt for smaller gatherings and limiting your time with those that cause you to feel overwhelmed, fearful or judged. Yes even if it’s your grandmother or everyone’s “favourite aunt”. Self care is the start of your true recovery.
You are a good judge of others, however, often you don’t listen…to yourself
You have an innate ability to tune into others and know their state, and yet often don’t act on it. Instead you coach yourself to “stay and be supportive, help and assist”, knowing what they’re about, often stops you from really stepping up for yourself. This “empathic nature” is often more available for others than yourself. Over time, this skill makes you an exceptional judge of character. People are no mystery to you and you often feel it’s easy to manipulate or motivate others so they are not so focused on you or your life. What would it look like if you used that masterful skill on yourself and found out what you most need in the moment –?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR of CHASING HUNGER:
Kathy Welter Nichols is the top selling author of the book: Chasing Hunger, and the cofounder of Thought Models, a global leader and provider of NLP Communications Strategies, EQ, and Corporate Culture training. She is the host of Voice America’s “Chasing Hunger” , High Performance Coach, Clinician in Private Practice and facilitator for Meditation Groups. She is the author of several books on Meditation & Mindful Practices.