Is Food Consuming Your Life?
If you’re feeling out of control, there is hope!
Have you found yourself bingeing, compulsive eating, restrictive dieting, yo-yo dieting, obsessing about your weight, feeling out of control around food, and using food to manage your emotions? Do you find yourself thinking about food in some form multiple times a day? Whether it’s what you’re going to eat or not eat later, or how you will feel when you meet your co-worker out for dinner at a restaurant, how you’ll start over again tomorrow, or how awful you feel after overeating or eating “forbidden” foods? When food consumes such a large portion of your life, it can seem almost impossible for things to be different. But they can be. We have several therapists at Eddins Counseling Group in Houston, Tx who specialize in eating disorders, binge eating, and emotional overeating. It’s complex. We get it. And we’d like to show you another way.
What is Disordered Eating?
Essentially, disordered eating means eating in a way that is harmful whether physically, emotionally or both. Click here to see if you can identify with any of the experiences often associated with disordered eating. When thoughts, feelings, and behaviors around food consume a large portion of your life, they can become eating disorders. Here are some of the different types of disordered eating, click on each link to read more:
- Binge Eating – describes an eating pattern with episodes of uncontrollable overeating. Typically, people that experience binge eating try and hide this behavior or feel ashamed about it. Recurrent episodes of consuming an excessive amount of food can be a symptom of binge eating disorder.
- Compulsive Eating – involves eating not related to physical hunger that feels like an addiction, but is not described better by another type of eating disorder.
- Eating disorders – such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder – include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences.
- Emotional Overeating – involves turning to food for stress relief, reward, a break, comfort, distraction, or other reasons. We all eat emotionally from time to time. It becomes problematic when it’s the primary method of coping.
- Food Addiction – many people feel “addicted” to food, having strong food cravings and uncontrollable urges to eat. Emotions may also feel more intense after eating such as a surge of energy and increased heart rate after eating sugar. It’s important to understand that “food addiction” isn’t the same as other chemical addictions. Rather, it’s the process of using food as a drug.
- Chronic Dieting – if you’ve yo-yo dieted and would consider yourself a chronic dieter, you may have developed one of the disordered eating patterns described above. Chronic dieting wreaks havoc on your body physically, but can also lead to an eating disorder. Rather than dieting, we recommend an attuned eating process, intuitive eating.
- Night Eating – If most of your eating occurs later in the evening, you may struggle with night eating syndrome.
How do I know if I am a emotional eater, compulsive eater or have an eating disorder?
There are a variety of symptoms, but the bottom line is feeling overall out of control in your relationship to food. A person may try to change his/her eating behavior, but will ultimately return to old patterns. Some people may have periods of discreet bingeing (i.e. consuming large quantities of food in a short time), they may overeat at mealtimes, or they may “graze,” never really finishing a meal. Their weight may go up over time, remain stable, or they may even have periods of weight loss, usually followed by regaining the weight over time. Ultimately, the person feels unable to change their eating patterns permanently. A professional such as a therapist can tell you if you have an eating disorder. Eating disorders are serious and painful struggles.
Treatment for Eating Disorders & Disordered Eating
Recovered means eating and moving in response to body needs most of the time. Your
body’s needs will vary day to day. There are several factors that contribute to how long it may take to heal your relationship with food and body such as the time spent engaged in the diet/binge cycle, history of trauma, and your current resources. Emotionally, treatment may involve learning skills such as emotional connection, moving out of patterns of shame and judgment, shifting out of black and white thinking, identifying triggers and needs/voids food is attempting to fill, and finding alternative ways to soothe.
You will also examine ways in which food fills a self-care void such as lack of sleep, difficulty saying no or relaxing, and pattens of deprivation and restriction. Physically, treatment may consider medication to reduce intensity of symptoms, evaluating related medical conditions, examining other forms of imbalance in chemistry, learning attuned eating, reconnecting with your body, and discerning the physical signals provided by your body. We offer a 12-week group therapy program and a one day workshop to help you learn the fundamental skills of recovery in a supportive, nurturing environment. We also offer individual therapy.
“Thank you for walking with me through some of the most challenging and sometimes dark days of my life. In the beginning, our sessions felt like a life line, a safe harbor, a place to be myself. Soon, I began to feel like a kid on a training bike, and now I feel like I’m riding on my own. It’s really scary sometimes, but its okay.. and somedays I feel the sense of freedom I’ve been longing for – right where I am. Thank you for your listening and your patience. Thank you for your questions and your guidance. I’m truly grateful.” – eating disorder recovered client
Make Peace with Food Therapy Group
Our group programs offer additional opportunities for growth and support for people who struggle with food issues. Groups can be a powerful way to heal from emotional eating as you embark on the journey to recovery with others who understand and support you. Our structured group lasts for 12 weeks and begins at different times throughout the year. Groups are offered at our office in Houston, Texas during lunchtime hours from 11:45-1pm. If the time commitment is difficult, you may consider attending a full one-day workshop. Following the group program or workshop, support group opportunities are available. Click here to find out more about our make peace with food therapy group.
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