“People who love to eat are always the best people.”
Although one may not meet the criteria for an eating disorder, I do believe many have a disordered eating pattern.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the signs and symptoms of disordered eating may include, but are not limited to:
- Chronic yo-yo dieting
- Frequent weight fluctuations
- Extremely rigid and unhealthy food and exercise regime
- Feelings of guilt and shame when unable to maintain food and exercise habits
- Pre-occupation with food, body and exercise that causes distress and has a negative impact on quality of life
- Compulsive or emotionally-driven eating
- Use of compensatory measures, such as exercise, food restriction, fasting and even purging or laxative use to “make up for” food consumed
Consider how a disordered eating pattern can not only impact your physical health, but also, your mental health.
Eating decisions must be made frequently throughout the day. Combine this with the “eat this, not that” list that has been pounded into your head by social media, and everything becomes a blur. Feelings of anxiety, guilt, and poor body image almost immediately follow.
The goal is a normalized eating pattern. To start eating when you are hungry. To stop eating when you are full. To eat without regretting it immediately after. To think about food far less often. To not be craving foods constantly. To love yourself. To want to feed yourself the best food for your body. To eat the food that make you feel your best. To have the highest quality of life possible.
This is the dream, to have a healthy relationship with all foods.
Make this dream a reality by challenging yourself now to give up a disordered eating pattern and bring more mindfulness to your meals and snacks.
To get started, I recommend eating all food at the dining table. The television and car only provide distractions from the food, and furthermore, create a psychological association that will make you crave foods the next time you plop down on the couch or are behind the wheel.
Next, ask yourself “why” before consuming all food and drink. Reasons may include the clock on your wall indicating a meal time, your stomach growling wildly, you need to stay awake while studying, or it just sounds plain good. Regardless, this is an attempt to bring more awareness to your appetite verse the MANY other cues to eat.
Finally, make a conscious decision to eat. Own your decision. Eat if you would like to eat, or pass if you would rather. You may feel less guilty when you give yourself permission to eat. Eating is one of your rights.
Sometimes, you may still feel shame from eating.
Challenge any unhelpful or self-defeating thoughts by creating a go-to game plan for next time you are in a similar situation. At what point did you lose control? Is there another way you would’ve preferred to have eaten? Learn from this experience to give up a disordered eating pattern and have a more healthy relationship with all foods.