Why The Term "Eating Disorder" Can Be Toxic
The term “eating disorder” is a clinical termed used to diagnose those with obsessive and self-harming thoughts and behaviors around food. It’s important for clinicians to use this term for the mere purpose of classifying their patients, and (hopefully) researching and exploring treatment.
The problem is when patients use this term to diagnose themselves. Too many women say things like “I can’t have a healthy relationship with food, I have an eating disorder,” or “I have an eating disorder, so I’ll never be ‘normal’ around food.”
Essentially what they’re doing is reinforcing their belief that something is inherently wrong with them — a belief that is often the root of their problem to begin with.
My one piece of advice for any woman who struggles with her relationship with food: Stop Identifying Yourself With A Problem.
Stop claiming your “disease” as a part of who you are, when it’s really not.
When we believe something about ourselves, we can not help but to fulfill that belief. When we call ourselves “eating disordered” or even something less clinical, like “I’m addicted to sugar” or “or I’m out of control with food,” we often prove ourselves right — if only to assure ourselves that the world does make sense.
It’s a mind game. Part of “recovery” is believing that you can be healthy. We can, to some extent, create the relationship with food that we most want. (Eek...I am literally holding myself back from referencing The Secret or using the word "manifest" right now.)
Now, this isn’t to say that denial is a great place to be either. We should always strive for awareness around our own behaviors and thought patterns; however, it is infinitely more healing to do so with compassion and love, than with self-judgment or hopelessness.
Understanding that our true nature is one of health, prosperity and freedom is a cornerstone of recovery around food.