Updated: Sep 26, 2021
Many people think of weight loss when they think of eating disorders. They think of the furious drive to lose weight and yes, this can absolutely be true. However, what many people don't realise is the there are so many exhausting patterns of thinking happening simultaneously.
The drive to lose weight usually takes the front seat but then there is often a need for secrecy around certain people, maybe a boss or work colleagues so the obsession with looking like you haven't lost weight, for a time takes over. Then of course, there are certain people that you really want to notice your weight loss so back up into the head thinking of ways to make this happen, whether it be wearing the right clothes or quickly ditching some weight before you meet up. There begins to be contradictions everywhere, wanting to lose so much weight that menstruation ceases - to prove that you are good enough at having an eating disorder but worrying so much about having kids in the future or bone density that you are trying to eat enough to kickstart menstruation without actually gaining any weight.
Wanting everyone to notice but wanting nobody to notice, wanting to be really healthy but wanting to deprive yourself of anything that looks like you might be being kind to yourself nutritionally. Wanting to have freedom around food but wanting to be disciplined. Wanting to recover but wanting to get sicker. Wanting to have really healthy blood tests but wanting them to be appalling too. Wanting to look in the mirror and see life in your face but wanting to look in the mirror and see bags under your weary eyes to prove you are punishing yourself enough.
All of the above barely even scratch the surface. The whole mindset is riddled with contradictions that leave you exhausted, down and feeling isolated. Yet all of the above have also served the purpose intended - to keep you mindlessly busy and away from the life you cant cope with. All of the thinking loops are a massive distraction to keep you away from pain. Yes the thought cycle itself is painful but it's also perceived by the brain to be fixable. Each loop is a problem to be solved and the brain loves solving problems! unfortunately trying to go into the head to fix a problem usually ends up putting you further away from the solution, the closer you think you are getting, the further away you actually end up being, with one problem becoming many problems.
If you are living in your head what reality are you trying to escape from? Sometimes it's a feeling in the body that is so strong that you will do anything to get away from it. If the problem's origins are in the body, the solution too is also in the body, not he head. What would happen if you started to allow yourself to feel them? Would you need to complete puzzles inside your head as a distraction.
What is going on in your life that is making you feel so unsafe that you seek solace in the familiar pattern of destructive thinking? What can be done to change the external circumstances?
If you are feeling overwhelmed or stuck in a particular aspect of your life, what changes can be made?
If there are people in your life that are causing you pain, is there a way of removing them or distancing yourself from them?
Eating disorder recovery requires a solid set of actions in life. Creating a life that you don't need to run away from and creating a relationship with your emotions where you can handle them without the need to run into your head. Learning to sit with discomfort is a key part of recovery rather than trying to "fix" the discomfort with the latest set set of nutritional mathematical equations.