Sunday, July 10, 2011

You Aren't What You Eat Part 2...or Are You?

Ok, so how are we feeling now?  What do the food choices that you make really say about you and where you are mentally?

Many with eating disorders also suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD, among others.  The desire to reduce the anxiety by being in control will continue the cycle of the eating disorder.  It was also cause the person to withdraw in shame and elicit the negative thoughts of guilt and loss of control after the episode is over.  Thus beginning the cycle all over again in the case of many binge eaters or bulimics.  This withdrawal and cycle will also nurture the depression.  As you can see, all of the co-occurring disorders are intertwined.

This is a fantastic post on regarding self-care.

Though we may not all fit each exact terms of that article, many of us can find something in there that mimics our thoughts and/or behavior.  Relate them to food and you can see how you are using your diet to control you mind.  It isn't working though in the long term.

Why are we so hard on ourselves?  There are thousands of answers to this, but only one person can really change it.  Think about your sense of self and what your next meal is telling you.  This evening I had a steak with cheese and spinach.  A perfect little bundle of happiness.  I knew I needed the protein and I did not cut off the fat.  Why?  Simply because I do not make the effort to cut all of the fat out of my life so to speak, so why not enjoy the fat that makes my meals so flavorful?  I also had a baked sweet potato.  Nothing is more satisfying than eating your comfort food of the moment.  I don't even have to eat it in moderation because it is a super vegetable! The satisfaction and energy I feel after that side dish, is what I strive for in my life. 

 So am I what I eat?  I would like to think so because my food choices at this point in my life really do reflect what I want for my life.  Perhaps what we are, are the healthy or disordered eating patterns.  Whether you are the orthorexic or the average American dieter, you are still left with the same results tat you began with.  I say, if the carrot won't make you happy, then just eat the freaking brownie.   Happiness  = endorphins that give you energy, thus burning the calories you consumed from the brownie.  Everyone wins, and you are as sweet as the chocolatey goodness you consumed, you actually become what you eat.

Remember When...You Aren't What You Eat Part 1.

Remember when I discussed Orthorexia.  If not, see the post from December 29, 2011 to refresh your memory.  In my work environment I notice to all to common two extremes of women.  The ones who strictly control their diet to maintain their already low weight and the ones who binge on "low calorie" "reduced fat" "lean" choices that are ready in 2-3minutes on high.

I am going to right this post in two separate parts.  The first to satiate my need to bring awareness to eating disorders, and the other to satiate my need to address the impact on your personal life when you do not take proper care of yourself.

First, mental health professionals all over the globe are working diligently to upgrade the DSM IV for a new edition set to release in 2013.  (This is the bible for diagnostics in the mental health field.)  I came across a post in my RSS feed for, that brought up this topic. is a link that I suggest that you visit to understand this new age eating disorder.  Can to much healthy be unhealthy?

Often times, sufferers are battling for control just as those with Anorexia or Bulimia would.  Steven Bratman, M.D. is the creator of the link above and describes orthorexia as "an unhealthy obsessions with healthy eating".  In Hollywood, it is not acceptable to be Anorexic. After all, celebrities are role models for the youth of America and must maintain a wholesome image, and by wholesome I do not mean to reflect weight.  I believe however that we have replaced Anorexic with Orthorexic in our media to maintain the smoke screen of disordered eating.

We gush over their new diets, we change our routines to mimic their patterns of daily life.  Yes, you can have the whip on your Starbucks skinny latte, but only after working out and as long as you skip breakfast and lunch.  I am a bit cynical.

The other part to this is the control factor.  We eat what we eat, when we eat, and where we eat because we are in full control.  We choose our diet daily. (Diet in all of my posts meaning the food we are consuming, not the impact on weight).  Do our choices comfort us?  Do they make us feel safe?  Do they replace emotions?

In the case of the women at work who eat the dreaded frozen meals daily, are all in a struggle to lose the weight.  The advertising companies always win here.  The average American reads "lean" and throws a weeks worth of 2/$5 frozen lunches into the basket.  These generally high sodium, unsatisfying, sometimes high calorie meals make you retain water, want a "closer" (many times a sweet of some sort), and at the end of the day put more calories in your body than you can burn in a work day.  Buuuuut lets not forget, they're "lean".  I generally eat the same caloric intake as most of my coworkers each day.  But instead of a frozen meal, a yogurt, and a diet soda, I get a cup of soup, a sandwich, a yogurt or fruit, and a granola bar (usually some amazing sweet flavor, chocolate or peanut butter).  I eat twice as much and feel satisfied and energetic most days.

The underlying theme here is, we are controlling our diets to control our minds and how we feel about ourselves.  You are no longer what you eat.  You are not lean.  You are not reduced fat.  You are not low calorie.  You are 2-3minutes on high from losing control and losing yourself.