Does Your Relationship With Food Feel Out of Control?
Are you constantly preoccupied with or overwhelmed by cravings for food? Perhaps you spend a considerable amount of time and money on activities related to, or to compensate for, unhealthy eating habits, such as consuming fast food, frequent grocery visits or trips to the doctor or the gym. You might harbor shame and worry about your loved ones or coworkers finding out how much or often you eat. You may even go long periods of time without eating because of that shame and then overeat even more due to low blood sugar, hunger and suppressed desire. Are you starting to feel mentally, emotionally or physically unwell and worry that you’re risking your health and wellbeing through your erratic eating patterns? Do you wish you could control urges and foster a healthy relationship with food?
Living with an eating disorder, such as a food addiction, can be a shameful, isolating experience that compromises your health and ability to feel confident and in-control. You may consume what is perceived as normal portions when you’re around other people, but snack heavily in private just to feel full. What starts out as a few chips may turn into a whole bag. And, when you feel ashamed of your caloric intake, you may not eat again for a long period of time or make yourself sick, perpetuating a cycle of binging and purging. Erratic eating patterns might be taking an emotional and physical toll, and you may not be able to fit into old clothes or enjoy activities that you used to. Even if you’re taking active steps to become healthy, such as seeing a personal trainer or a nutritionist, you may find that you’re still unable to stop a cycle that you know is causing havoc in your life.
Overeating is a Common Problem
At times, we all overindulge in things that bring us comfort and pleasure. Occasional over snacking or stress eating, especially during celebrations or around the holidays, is fairly common in our culture. We also live in a society in which foods that have little nutritional value are readily available, not to mention supersized. Grocery stores have entire sections dedicated to cheap junk food. And, while it’s occasionally common to indulge in an excess of calories or in unhealthy food, consequences of compulsive eating can include health problems, such as being overweight, diabetes, blood circulation and heart issues, as well as emotional problems like embarrassment, isolation, depression, low self-esteem and more.
When eating becomes a primary method to cope with stress and sadness or you’ve developed a pattern of over consuming or binging and purging, it’s time to seek help. Therapy for overeating can be very effective and provide you with a much higher level of overall happiness than could be achieved through diet and exercise alone. And, while working with a personal trainer or a nutritionist can help you learn about healthy ways to take care of your body, those professionals aren’t equipped to address the emotional distress that often drives an eating disorder. This is why, even though you may have tried everything you can and have taken the “right” steps to get healthy, you’re still not able to overcome food cravings.
Compulsive Eating Counseling Can Help You Heal
Therapy for eating disorders can help bring awareness to the ways in which food impacts your body, mind, relationships and more. It can also provide you with coping strategies that help you gain better control over cravings and sustain a long-term, healthy relationship with food.
In a safe, compassionate environment, you can openly explore your innermost concerns and desires and find out what it is you’re feeding, which will be a central question during the initial stages of our work. Oftentimes, compulsive eating is a coping strategy to lesson anxiety, depression, grief, loss and more. You may not always be hungry when you turn to food. Rather, you may be feeding something other than your physical body. Discovering what it is you’re feeding—whether it’s feelings of inadequacy or childhood trauma—is a vital step in helping you change the behavior and improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Once we’re able to identify the root cause of the pain that you’re experiencing, I can create a therapy strategy that best addresses your unique history, personality, values, needs and therapy goals. We may draw from techniques that allow you to focus on the present moment and recognize and accept your thoughts, feelings and body sensations. When you’re able to identify how food influences your thoughts, emotions and body sensations, we can then work to change the behavior by processing and releasing sources of emotional and bodily pain.
During sessions, I’ll meet you wherever you’re at and honor your unique history and therapy goals. I provide a safe, non-judgmental space where you can process pent-up pain, connect with your body and feel empowered to make positive, lasting changes. With the guidance and support of an experienced binge eating counselor, you can make profound transformations that promote long-term wellness.
You still may have questions and concerns about the process…
Why do I need to see an eating disorder counselor if this is a medical issue?
Although binge eating causes health problems, such as diabetes, being overweight, heart disease and more, the underlying cause that’s driving these issues is often psychological. There may even be positive memories that may drive your compulsion to eat, such as the smell of your grandmother’s cookies or partaking in family traditions. However, when both positive and negative emotional triggers drive you to overeat, you can become stuck in an unhealthy cycle and feel unable to stop. The positive intervention and compassionate guidance and care you can get from an eating disorder therapist can help you stop the cycle as well as become more attuned with yourself and your body.
I’m embarrassed and don’t want to talk to a stranger about my body.
I am not here to judge. I provide a space of openness and unconditional support so that you can both identity and heal the root cause that’s driving your trouble with food. I’m here to provide useful skills that help empower you to heal wounds and move forward.
I’m afraid I won’t be able to control my compulsion to binge eat.
Throughout our work together, you may experience times when you’re in-control and feeling good, and there may be times when you slip and resort to old habits. I do not view “slips” as failures, but rather as lessons. Therapy is a continual growth process, and together we will continue to create and build upon new pathways and habits. Along the way, you may encounter a variety of lessons that guide us as you develop new ways of coping and recreating your relationship with food.
You Can Feel Empowered, Healthy And Whole
If you would like to learn more about compulsive eating counseling, or if you have questions or concerns about therapy and my practice in Thornton, CO, please call or email me to schedule a free 30-minute phone consultation.