STRESS AND EATING DISORDERS
There is a common cycle within us all. When you feel stressed or anxious or have a moment that upsets you it is normal to feel differently about eating. Stress can make you lose your appetite or even make you feel sick. Or it can make you crave comfort foods, those foods that make you feel good for a moment. For most of us, once the event or situation has passed, can return to our usual eating habits.
Bad Habits Can Also Be Formed
However stress and the way we react to it can quickly become a cycle that leads to eating disorders. When you eat less or eat more your body and mind is put under stress and this extra stress affects our eating habits again.
It is a cycle we must learn to understand and break the link between stress and eating disorders teaching the person new strategies to handle their stresses.
Eating disorders begin as a coping mechanism
Most eating disorders begin as a coping mechanism due to a stressful event. When you feel overwhelmed or unable to change or solve a problem it is easier to focus on something you can control – your eating – this actually keeps you from resolving the actual cause of your feelings.
Worrying about your weight can make it worse
If you already have an eating disorder then worrying over your food or weight can be a source of considerable anxiety which in turn elevates your stress levels.
Constantly thinking about food is exhausting and this alone creates much stress. The more stress the longer the cycle continues.
The problem with dealing with any situation, feeling or event that makes you stressed or upset is that you haven’t been taught how. People tend not to share with others when they are struggling with stress or feeling upset over something. Sadly we have been made to feel we have to be in control of every aspect of our lives no matter our age.
The truth is you can’t control everything and you do not have to. Life is a series of events or moments that come and go. When you know useful and succesful ways to deal with these moments then using food as a coping mechanism will no longer be necessary. Breaking a problem down into what you can resolve or change is a useful start. Also bearing in mind that most events or feelings pass very quickly even resolving on their own.
Learn to de stress. Take a walk, get into a creative hobby, talk to a friend. Doing something that you love or feel passionate about can instantly change the way you feel and make you become more body positive and calmer.
Lean for life hypnosis and NLP programme by Birmingham eating disorders expert; http://www.debbiewilliamsassociates.co.uk/hypnosis_be_lean_birmigham_nlp.htm
University Of Michigan Eating Disorder Survey
Professor Heidi Lorimor – Bucknell University study
Mind – stress in eating disorders