THE EMBATTLED RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD
In today's western society, eating healthily and exercising regularly are seen as virtuous goals. We are bombarded with advertisments for exercise programmes and diets that promise results, but also with conflicting nutritional information, leaving many of us feeling confused and uncertain of how and what to eat. Societal standards for what we should look like, and the desire for a "perfect" body can leave us feeling dissatisfied with ourselves, especially in the presence of underlying issues such as low self-esteem.
A SPECTRUM OF BEHAVIOURS AND ATTITUDES
Most people are familiar with eating disorders (EDs) such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder. But eating behaviours and attitudes around body image are believed to exist on a continuum ranging from healthy to disordered – with EDs representing the disordered end. Many people find themselves somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, and although they may not have an ED, they worry or feel guilty about their food choices, feel uncertain of how to eat healthily, diet chronically, or believe that they will be happy once they have lost weight or have attained a slimmer or fitter body. Some people overeat regularly, or eat mindlessly or to cope with unpleasant or stressful situations (i.e. for comfort).
HOW DOES COUNSELLING HELP?
The work of counselling in the mind, body and food realm is about looking at these unwanted states and eating behaviors with gentleness and acceptance, and asking: what else is going on here? What is this state or this behavior trying to tell the client – i.e. what is its message?
So if weight issues, overeating, binge eating or food addictions feel real for you, this work can help you not to panic or self-hate, but rather to approach yourself with love and compassion, and to explore what other areas in your life need your attention in order to live a whole and healthy life.
Counselling can help you make peace with your body and with food. It can help you to understand what underlying issues trigger unwanted behaviours, assist you in reducing negative food- and self talk and lead you to discover how to nourish yourself as a whole person. The coaching component of my approach encourages behavioural, dietary and metabolic strategies that are doable and sustainable.
Together, counselling and mind body eating coaching can assist you in making lasting changes in a way that works for you!