Eating disorders can be crippling, but there is hope for long-term recovery
Do you know how many people have eating disorders? The statistics are shocking; 9% of the U.S. population, or 28.8 million Americans, will have an eating disorder in their lifetime, so if you eat too much or too little, you are not alone and may be suffering from an eating disorder issue.
How do eating disorders start
As a very young child, I figured out how to survive the terror I lived with. My best coping mechanism to stay alive was food. While I’m so grateful that I had something so available to make me feel any sense of safety, like a best friend, eventually, that relationship and all of its complications nearly killed me. As a souvenir, I have been left with a potpourri of health hurdles that I have had to manage. What are eating disorders, and what are the symptoms of eating disorders? It can be either starving or overeating, but it’s all about not being able to handle the pain inside.
I began overeating at 6 years old, stuffing my feelings throughout childhood. As a result of all the internalized self-rejection, it advanced into full-on anorexia and bulimia at 17, which I then navigated for 25+ years! My self-image shamed me to my very core, well into my adulthood.
Eating disorders are damaging in many ways
But that was only the beginning. At constant war with my body, I had no idea that the wear-and-tear that starvation, abused exercise, and vomiting would have creating such damaging effects on my cells, my energy system, my body’s development, my bones, my gut as well as my emotional and mental state. My body’s intelligence knew how to stay alive, diverting the terror of the trauma from the fat little girl with who felt like an outcast, unlovable, like she didn’t belong. Driven by perfectionism on the outside, on the inside, my body was running on the fuel of cortisol, living in fight-or-flight for decades, furthering the dysregulation of my nervous system. Until, my cells and my body had officially broken down, and so did I.
Don’t wait to understand the causes of your disorder
I was so sick I could barely walk into the Eating Disorder inpatient Treatment Center, my first time. Completely malnourished, I was put on a feeding tube for 30 days to keep me alive. Still, I hadn’t addressed the emotional pain of my earlier life. The second time in Treatment, once I was finally able to say goodbye to the ED behaviors, one day at a time, I was awakened to the destruction that had created, initially, below the surface. It had all caught up with me and erupted all over my body. Consistently starving myself and becoming nutritionally deficient through the decades, led to severe chronic inflammation, which became the underlying factor that exacerbated a life-threatening condition of eczema from head to toe. Just as I thought the dance with death was over, it was only the beginning of another partner that had now taken control of my life.
The next four years, I lie bedridden like a burn victim and I was told that my largest organ was failing. This level of inflammation caused severe complications including brain inflammation, autoimmune conditions, compromised gut, and digestive issues, underactive Thyroid, hormonal imbalances, mental and emotional challenges, and early onset of advanced osteoporosis. A lot to juggle from the wreckage of my past.
Self awareness can prevent eating disorders
When I was young, I didn’t think about the complexities that might lie ahead in the years to come. I didn’t have the guidance to help me care for myself in the ways that could have supported me, like learning how to empower my emotional state. Left alone, I held the painful critical feelings inside, burying all my emotions. These unexpressed emotions, had to go somewhere, so they got stored in my body, and made their way into my very cells. Unaddressed, the mind and body began to weave an expansive web of health conditions unbeknownst to me. The body is a most complex and divine Temple and knows how to help us survive when it needs to, though at the same time, it can also cost us our health and well-being if we are unaware of what is manifesting beneath the skin.
Recovery empowers you to see yourself through a new lens
After all the years I spent blaming my body, feeling it had betrayed me, it was me that had to see through a new lens. It is taken a tremendous amount of commitment to self, support, riding the waves of life on life’s terms (as we all have our own version of it), to live in homeostasis and, empowering myself to rise from the ashes so I can live in Service.
Those who live a life of any form of recovery can often challenge the burdens of many considerations to journey in the aftermath. Some days, it takes a village to get up and face the world, to stay with the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual practices simply to live day-to-day. This daily process continues to invite me to build the muscle of navigating the deeper challenges we can be faced with while balancing self-forgiveness and real-life realities in recovery.
With all of that, the one universal ingredient that has been the key: LOVE. So what does love have to do with it? Everything! Loving myself has been both a struggle and a blessing, having had to learn how to nourish my body, mind, and soul, and healing the limiting beliefs that were so deeply imprinted in me.
As outer experience is a reflection of inner reality, working that muscle of truly loving myself, I attracted my soul mate later in life, and, stepped into my gifts as an accredited EFT TAPPING Practitioner, helping others heal their limiting beliefs so they can experience living into their full expression. What I once thought was impossible, has been made possible by learning how to Love myself. This, I believe is the anecdote to now living in the wonder of my aliveness.
By Jude Weber Certified and Accredited EFT Tapping Practioner and Integrative Life Coach
And check out tips for recovering from and eating disorder
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