We might think eating disorders are rare illnesses that only teenage girls develop because they decide to stop eating in order to feel better in their bodies. In reality, eating disorders are much more common and dangerous than that.
Eating disorders are not limited to anorexia, bulimia or extreme thinness as we might think. They're much more complex than this outdated stereotype. Disordered eating includes everything related to food and body image that makes the life of the sufferer painful and difficult. This can be overeating, over exercising, chronic dieting, food restrictions, fears developed around certain food group(s), negative body image or any combination of the above.
You can be OK with your eating, but if you're always thinking about how your body looks like and feel bad about it, you'll loose your self-worth and self-confidence. At some point, this might impact your eating behaviors.
You don't have to be underweight to have an eating disorder. They come in all form and shapes, and disordered eating has nothing to do with willpower. You can have as much willpower as you can imagine, once you find yourself stuck in these destructive behaviors it's often too late to find your way out by yourself, just with the help of your own willpower.
I usually liken eating disorders to very strong phobias, because this is what they are, in a way: phobia of certain foods, phobia of weight gain, phobia of judgement. As with all other phobias, they have nothing to do with willpower, but the great news is that we can fully recover from them!
I know it because I've learned the hard way. After seeing my little sister recover from anorexia, I managed to heal my lifelong battle with bulimia. All my life I struggled with this illness. After more than 15 years of struggles and hitting rock bottom, I am now totally recovered. I am healthier and happier than ever before, and I'm helping women all over the world to do the same!
Don't leave negative body image or a food issue (as big or as small as it may be) destroy your life.
You can't enjoy life when you suffer from any type of disordered eating or poor body image; the first thing to do is to seek and ask for help. I know it might sound impossible when you're stuck in these horrible illnesses, but heaps of progress has been made, and we're understanding them more and more every day.
It's much better to start recovery now and focus on it during the next few months than choosing the easiest solution and keep destroying your health and your self-worth for God knows how long.
Another important thing is to realize that, even though you might have spent all your life struggling with these illnesses, stuck by the limiting beliefs that go with them, things can change and you can change too.
Do you see yourself growing older and not feeling good and confident in your own body?
Do you see yourself having kids while still struggling with disordered eating?
I hope not! Poor body image or disordered eating are not part of your personality. You have the power to change! And even if it's never too late, earlier is better!