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Where Does Disordered Eating Come From?

Today, we are getting really vulnerable and honest.

This may be hard to read for some. Please continue with caution and an open mind, and reach out to us if you need a hand to hold.

So let's start from the top. What is disordered eating?

Disordered eating is the state in which someone strictly follows a particular eating pattern, and often experiences fear or discomfort surrounding specific foods. Disordered eating does not always have a physical manifestation.

Disordered eating CAN be present without the existence of an eating disorder, diagnosed or not.

Read that again.

You can have disordered eating habits and not have an eating disorder.

And this, my friend, is likely where you're at today.

About 9% of the United States population has a diagnosed eating disorder.

The rest of us most likely practice some sort of disordered eating pattern. That's BILLIONS of people restricting their eating, not enjoying food, and overthinking their meals every single day.

Keep reading with me if you've ever thought:

"I'm not going to eat today because I know I'll have a big/fattening/carb heavy meal for dinner"

"I'm going to have to do an extra 30 sit ups tomorrow for this glass of wine"

"Ok, I had a carb for lunch- that's it for today"

"I've been so good lately. I deserved to enjoy that entire bag of chips and the ice cream pint, too. And also those Oreos. And the gummy bears."

"I will do so good for so long, then eat everything in sight and feel really guilty, then go right back to being super strict..."

"I've tried EVERYTHING. Every diet, exercise program, shake, weight loss pill, and eating program. I still am just not where I want to be."

Let me stress again- and you're probably catching on- that those statements are not always typical of an eating disorder.

They're pretty average. Not heavily loaded. Something we've all probably said at one point.

They are, however; inaccurate thoughts and could be just as harmful as a full blown eating disorder.

Why are these thoughts bad?
Because they put your current body in a place where it is not good enough.

The body you're in right this second is the one fearfully and wonderfully made for you. It may not be perfect or where you want it to be, but that doesn't mean it isn't worthy of adoration and appreciation. That body has carried you a long way.

Disordered eating thoughts and habits do not help you achieve your physical goals in the long run, and they can detrimentally hinder your mental ability to have a healthy relationship with food.

There are a few things we have to keep at the forefront of our eating patterns, such as:

Respecting Your Body

One way to do this is to stop and write down everything you love about your body. I know it may not be a very long list, but find at least one thing.

If you have a really hard time with this exercise, try finding someone to work with who will honor your body where it's at while also helping you get it to a healthier place. This could start as a friend or significant other, or it could be a nutrition professional.

Asking for help does not mean that your body is less than. It means that you value your life more than you have before. And that's really admirable.

Respecting your body includes honoring it with balance- enjoying foods you love in moderation, committing to movement for 30 minutes a day, watching your favorite TV show before bed, etc.

A combination of things that recharge you and things that challenge you.

Respecting Your Worth

One of the most misunderstood aspects of the wellness industry is that we are all obsessed with making you look a certain way. That's because some "coaches" are.

We are not them. We are obsessed with helping you feel better. Helping you love your body better. Helping you reduce your risk for disease.

One of the worst things you can do for your self esteem and potential for success is enroll in a program run by people who's only goal is to make you thinner. A program run by people who have zero formal training on the human body. People who refuse to admit that they aren't experts.

Sometimes, in order to respect yourself and your space for wellness, you have to respectfully say no to some shiny things that promise the results you've been praying for.

In my professional opinion, most disordered eating habits originated with someone or some group of people sharing false and misinformed information about food. Was it the government? Food companies? Fitness junkies? That's a topic for another day...

Fixing the Root Cause

Each and every diet you see was created by someone. It may have been created with good intention and taken out of context, but someone one day came up with an idea, put it into practice, and it worked- for them.

And so began our long history with disordered eating.

The "it worked for my cousin Sally's friend Mary" thing doesn't work for me as a trained professional. Here's why:

-Sally's friend Mary may have had a medical condition that you don't

-Sally's friend Mary may have a completely different lifestyle + schedule than you do

-There is no way to compare if Sally's friend Mary is anything like you (p.s.- she most likely is not)

Health is individualized. It is uniquely dependent on Y O U. Not someone else's success.

Throwing large groups of people into any one category is not scientifically founded, it is not really helpful, and it is relatively dangerous.

If diets really worked, you wouldn't see any modifications like "dirty keto" or "carb cycling" or "cheat days". If it worked, it would just work.

While I appreciate the thought behind it to make it more individualized, the same negative thinking patterns are still there. The same restrictive pattern is still there. The same thing is going to keep happening over and over and over.

Asking for help

Carbs shouldn't be stuffed in one little box. "Fat bombs" shouldn't have to be kept in the fridge to help you meet a certain number. Calories shouldn't be used as a measure of progress.

Working with ANY nutrition professional (inside or out of clinical nutrition within a hospital,) you will learn these things and so many more.

We went to school for this so that we can educate you on the facts.

Just like your doctor went to school to be able to educate you the facts on how to treat infections.

Just like your algebra teacher went to school to be able to educate you on the facts of math.

You wouldn't ask your math teacher for antibiotics and you wouldn't ask your doctor for help on your homework. So stop asking everyone and their mother on Facebook the best way to "eat healthier."

There are resources all around you if only you look.

We offer free trainings, informational posts, and 1:1 advice to ANYONE who asks for help. You're our people.

But there are also plenty of other nutritionists, dietitians, and nutrition specialists out there sharing free information that we don't cover very often.

You have to make the best choice for YOUR unique body, but I can guarantee you that will NEVER come from following a Pinterest board or drinking three shakes a day.

You get what you invest in- are you confident in the investment you've made in your health so far?

We all get by with a little help from our friends. If you or someone you know is struggling with disordered eating, please

-reach out to them and offer some encouragement,

-reach out to a professional and ask how you can help them,

-share a post or blog from a professional with someone you care about

No one wants to feel attacked. Offer a helping hand and let your friends know you're concerned about them. Give them the tools so that they can make an easier decision to start placing more value on internal health and longevity than a number on a scale.

We are here to help. We're praying for you. We don't want to see you in that 9%. Choose today to put your health first. 💜


Did you learn something new today? Leave us a comment and a like if this post was helpful! Screenshot and post or share this link to your social media and tag us (@bewellhwc) for a chance to be featured AND win a discount code for our services and special courses!

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