Eating and Body Image Concerns
Have you found yourself obsessing over how many calories you eat in a day? Or isolating from social engagements for fear of eating too much?
Is your 10 year old commenting about how “fat” they are, or you notice that they have been missing at mealtimes, or complaining that they had a big lunch so aren’t hungry at dinner?
Do you spend a lot of time in front of the mirror checking your body, pinching parts of your body, or criticizing yourself because of how you look? Do you ever exercise to the point of exhaustion, or use exercise as a form of punishment?
These might be passing concerns but they are also signs of what we can see with budding eating disorders, so it could be useful to explore in a conversation with one of our team.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ANXIETY AND FOOD
Are you, your partner or child appearing to be more anxious about participating in routine activities, ruminating about past or future events, or worried about social interactions?
Does anxiety interfere with daily life and the ability to function personally, academically and/or professionally?
Anxiety can also show up with food, such as a fear of eating certain foods, not wanting to touch or eat some foods, eating in a certain order, or fear of eating in front of other people.
If some or all of this sounds familiar, this may be a sign of struggling with an anxiety disorder, and we can help in developing healthier coping skills to manage anxiety.
About OCD: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
We all become anxious sometimes, but when people control their anxiety by engaging in certain mental or physical rituals, this anxiety-based disorder is called (OCD). People who have OCD have recurring unwanted thoughts (obsessions) that drive them to engage in compulsions in order to reduce their anxiety. Sufferers spend excessive amounts of time obsessing and responding to their obsessions with mental and physical rituals.
Mental rituals may include counting and re-counting, silently repeating special words, numbers or images, repeatedly reassuring oneself that everything is ok.
Physical rituals may include repetitively checking, excessive cleaning or handwashing, and/or avoiding people, places or food which the person feels may trigger their OCD.
We can help in overcoming and managing symptoms of OCD with Exposure Response Prevention (ERP). ERP is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which focuses on facing fears and then refraining from ritualizing. This evidence-based treatment is highly effective in treating OCD, and will ultimately help one lead a more fulfilling, balanced, and peaceful life.