If you are looking for help with disordered eating, I provide hypnotherapy and coaching to help you improve your relationship with food. My disordered eating treatment is available at my London clinic in King’s Cross and session are also available online.
Disordered eating treatment: What is disordered eating?
Disordered eating is the term for a variety of abnormal eating behaviours, many of which are given to diagnosed eating disorders. The most important thing distinguishing “disordered eating” from an “eating disorder” is the degree of seriousness and regularity of behaviours.
Disordered eating may have a damaging impact on a person’s psychological, interpersonal and physical wellbeing. It can lead to exhaustion, malnutrition or poor concentration. It can impact someone’s social life (when socialising is restricted as a result of anxiousness around meals and eating), and can result in anxiety and depression. If you are looking for disordered eating treatment, consider options such as CBT or coaching. I use hypnotherapy for disordered eating at my London clinic.
Disordered eating behaviours and attitudes involve:
- Binge eating
- Excessive dieting
- Missing meals frequently
- Self-induced vomiting
- Obsessive calorie counting
- Self-worth depending on body shape and weight
- Misusing laxatives or diuretics
- Fasting or chronic restrained eating
- Disordered eating treatment and dieting
Unfortunately Dieting is one of the most crucial risk factor for getting an eating disorder. That’s why an effective disordered eating treatment is so important. People who diet moderately are five times more prone to develop an eating disorder compared to those who don’t diet, and those who diet severely are 18 times more likely.
Disordered eating treatment: What is viewed as ‘normal’ eating?
Exactly what is regarded as ‘normal’ in terms of amounts and types of food eaten differs considerably from person to person. ‘Normal eating’ describes the attitude a person has in their relationship with food, as opposed to the kind or amount of food they eat.
It is normal to:
- Eat more on some days, less on others
- Eat some foods just because they taste great
- Have a positive attitude towards food
- Not label foods with judgement words such as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘clean’ etc
- Sometimes over-eating and sometimes under-eating
- Crave particular foods at times
- Treat food and eating as one smaller element of a balanced life
Disordered eating treatment and Mindful eating
Mindful eating forms an important of my disordered eating treatment in London. Mindful eating is a simple-to-learn life skill. It can direct individuals to enjoy a satisfying, wholesome and pleasant relationship with food. It is a competency that can help people break free of ‘food rules’ and begin to enjoy healthful, adaptable and calm eating practices. Mindful eating is certainly not a diet. Mindful eating is about the way we eat, not what we eat.
Disordered eating treatment looks at dieting
Dieting is the number one risk factor in the development of an eating disorder. Each year, as a society, we spend millions on weight loss and low-calorie food products and services and nutritional supplements. Yet both the rate of obesity and the number of people with an eating disorder are increasing.
It is clear that while the techniques used by the weight loss sector are rarely truly effective in helping people to lose weight, they can make individuals develop low confidence and potentially an eating disorder. The proliferation of information about the ‘ideal body’ and the ‘dangers of obesity’, and behavioural reactions to those messages — such as individuals going on fad diets and engaging in both harmful and ineffective weight loss behaviours — is at the centre of this challenge. This is why effective disordered eating treatment is so important. We need to counter those messages which encourage unhelpful beliefs about eating and food.
Disordered eating treatment and the physical effects of dieting
The strict, restrictive and often unsustainable nature of many diets can leave dieters feeling constantly hungry and deprived. Disordered eating treatment looks to break that cycle. Dieters often ignore this hunger for a short time. However such deprivation can eventually lead to powerful food cravings and over-compensatory behaviour such as bingeing. This can, in turn, lead to feelings of shame and failure, which contribute to negative emotional associations with food and eating.
Fluctuating weight is common for people who diet frequently (‘yo-yo’ dieting). This is because most people regain all the weight they have lost after a diet within a few years. Diets disconnect people from their natural bodily responses through imposed food related rules and restrictions, which may overlook hunger, physical activity and a person’s individual nutritional requirements. Effective disordered eating treatment aims to get back to connecting people to their natural bodily responses again. I find hypnotherapy to be very effective for this. I use hypnotherapy at my London clinic.
Disordered eating treatment and the psychological effects of dieting
Dieting can lead to feelings of guilt over ‘lack of self-control’, low self-esteem, a poor body image and obsessive thoughts and behaviours surrounding food. In addition, people who diet frequently are more likely to experience depression.
Disordered eating treatment and why diets don’t work
The restrictive nature of dieting does not work, as fad diets do not provide a sustainable meal plan for the long term. In fact, 95% of people who diet regain the weight and more in one to five years.
Weight-loss and fad diets involve restricting food intake to levels that often leave a person constantly hungry and in some cases, lacking the necessary nutrients they need to maintain physical health and energy levels.
Physical reasons that diets fail
When food intake is reduced, bodies respond as if they are in famine or starvation. This natural human survival instinct has kept our species alive for millions of years, slowing down our metabolism (the amount of energy we use) to maintain bodily functions when food is scarce. Of course, our bodies cannot tell the difference between a diet and starvation, so when it feels like it is being deprived of food, the famine response is triggered. This means less fat is burnt, making it progressively more difficult for anyone to keep losing weight and difficult to keep it off.
Leptin is a hormone produced by the fat cells in our bodies. It exists to blunt the appetite when a person has had enough to eat, reduce cravings, increase energy and increase the metabolic rate. But when body fat decreases, so does the amount of leptin. Our bodies will therefore try to compensate for the loss in leptin, responding by increasing hunger urges.
Social and emotional reasons that diets fail
Food in social settings
Food is often associated with social occasions and family gatherings, such as going out to dinner or having a celebration. People who are dieting often avoid social situations and family mealtimes so they aren’t ‘tempted’ by the food, leading to feelings of isolation and a loss of support.
The diet/binge cycle
When a person diets, they often get stuck in a cycle of food deprivation, feelings of extreme hunger, consequent binging and feelings of shame. The cycle can be very difficult to break and have a dramatic impact on the health and wellbeing of a person.
If you are looking for disordered eating treatment, get in touch to hear about my London hypnotherapy sessions.