[Valid Atom 1.0] Life With Cake: Eating Disorder Blog: Eating Disorders: The Dis-ease of Never Having Enough and Wanting More

Monday, April 11, 2011

Eating Disorders: The Dis-ease of Never Having Enough and Wanting More

Eating disorders are complex in that a myriad of issues can trigger them. It isn't as if it is just one struggle. It is biopsychosocial, meaning, one's biology, psychological state, and social environment can create the perfect recipe for an eating disorder.

While there are many characteristics, one ED theme seems to be the thought of never having (or being) enough, and always striving for more. Maybe there's not enough love, or you feel you aren't enough. In any case, it can drive one (us) to constantly seek perfection through achievements or become people-pleasers--trying to overcompensate for our innate defects as human beings. If we can have enough or be enough, then we are okay. The problem is that we are left always wanting more. If our want is unfilled, then we are back to feeling not enough.

For many with eating disorders, this translates into our relationship with food and our bodies. We try to get to the perfect weight, the perfect pant size. Even if we know we aren't fat, we'd still like to be a little smaller; just to feel more comfortable. Some of us push away food, while many of us crave more, long after we've met our daily caloric intake.

What I have learned throughout the years, is that I may always want more... of everything. What I try to practice daily, and imperfectly, is sitting with the uncomfortable feeling of wanting more and not acting on it with a late-night snack. I'm not always successful, but I get more successful as the years go by. I still can comfort myself with food from time to time; my abstinence will never be that black-and-white perfection. But, I stick to my bottom lines. For me, that is what "normal" eating is. Some days you may not eat quite enough, some days a little too much. And other days, just the perfect amount. I will probably always strive for perfection, but that doesn't mean I have to be perfect.


jaime said...

so true. great post, Greta. :)

MonicaOTAS said...

Thanks for sharing this blog with us Greta. The somatic (mind-body) connection is such a big part of ED issues. What our mind thinks, we manifest in our bodies. That is why we try to fill our emotional voids with physical things like food. We try to soothe emotional wounds with physical comfort (food) and we purge the things inside us that we hate and want to get rid of by removing the things we can (again food). There is so much we cannot control in our lives, but eating (or not) is one thing we can control.

The problem is that you cannot solve emotional issue with physical things, you cannot eat, not eat or purge your way into happiness or control. Food is not ultimately what controls our happiness or self-esteem as we think it does. Ultimately, food is really just about physical survival and health. All the emotional stuff we try to attach and process through our diet is wasted effort.

The best way to deal with the emotional stuff that we try to attach to food is to face it directly. There are a lot of different kinds of counselors who can help us process this stuff safely and logically. We don't have to suffer this way, and we don't have to ruin our health because of our emotional pain. After all, don't we all have the same goal - to be happy AND healthy?

There are many resources to help those with ED and you can get information very easily on the internet. Here is one of many places to start:http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eating_disorder_treatment.htm

Michelle said...

This post is so pertinent to me, not just in terms of my eating disorder but also in my life. I have this inner sense which I can only describe as greed, whatever it is that I try my hand at, or purchase, I want more. The more I let go of food the more of something else is needed to compensate, or to fulfill the empty space that was once overtaken by my food obsession. It's like my mind is programmed to "crave".

Kristy said...

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Jen said...

Monica, I couldn't help but put together something else I saw about the mind-body/body dysmorphic disorders symptoms.
A friend who grapples with this is also a wonderful artist, I couldn't help but notice that some of the pieces she has asked me to help her to prep have over arching ED influences in execution.