Has the quest for thinness pushed you over the edge, into a daily fight with food and even an outright eating disorder? That’s a common problem among athletes, who (wrongly) believe the thinner they are, the better they will perform. These tips from Karen Koenig, M.ED, LICSW, eating disorder healer, might help you get on a more peaceful path.
Karen writes: As a believer in complete recovery, I know that my journey from chronic dieting, binge-eating and bulimia to “normal” eating and a healthy weight took much longer than I anticipated and was far more complex than I ever dreamed. After all, I always had thought that the reason it was called an eating disorder was that it was about dysfunction around food. Little did I know that it was about eating, sure, but equally about the flawed relationship I had with myself and the rest of the world.
Strategies that worked for her included:
• Learn how to cope with life. Some of us end up turning to food because we don’t have the ability to handle life in better ways, Life skills involve competencies such as self-soothing and self-regulation; setting and achieving goals; balancing work and play (rather than overdoing one or the other); surrounding yourself with loving relationships; consistently taking excellent care of your body and mind; recognizing, understanding and managing emotions effectively; living intentionally in the present moment (rather than ruminating about the past or anxiously anticipating the future); and using evidence-based practices for problem solving (rather than wishes, hopes or over-thinking).
• Give up wishful thinking, including fantasizing and dreaming about a life you didn’t have and never will.
• Address your need for comfort eating. How will you manage to soothe yourself without food? Believe it or not, you can actually learn to deal with disappointment, sadness and unhappiness without smothering your feelings with food. Get into therapy, see a registered dietitian who specializes in athletes with eating disorders, and read self-help books.
• Love yourself and chart your own path rather than rebel against what others want you to do and be. You might have to figure out what is your own path.
• Let go of gender pressures. Males feel the burden of needing to have it all together and be hard-driving and aggressive, while females often end up feeling a need to be nice and put others’ needs before their own. Be who you really are.
So, there you have some of Karen’s keys to eating disorder recovery. In short, build a better version of yourself from the inside out. And whatever you do, please stop judging yourself from the outside in using that number on the bathroom scale.
For the complete article: https://www.edcatalogue.com/three-keys-recovering-eating-disorder/
For more inforamtion about Karen and her excellent books: http://www.karenrkoenig.com
For help finding a sports dietitian who can help you find peace with food, use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org
For self-help, read the chapters on weight management in Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook