Eating Disorder Awareness
Updated: Dec 11, 2022
This is a four part series celebrating Self Care September. This is post four of four you can read post one here, post two here, and post three here.
This month we have been discussing topics from my wellness workshops that I support clients with in the GuttyGirl Lifestyle. A client told me I should share my Self Care September Ritual and the wellness workshop stories on my blog so it can help others who may be struggling in silent so this year I’m offering it outside my clients and sharing it to whom ever could use the information. If you are not familiar with my work do not be offended as I tend to go into great details. I do not sugarcoat shit. I’m straight up and honest and very direct. I own my shame stories and the lesson I’ve learned from going through them.
So far this September I’ve shared my shame story you can read about it here. I shared my Seasonal Life Detox Ritual in post one you can read that here. I shared my shame story that involve my broken vagina you can read that here. Today in post three we discuss how I overcame my sugar addiction that developed when I was struggling with emotional eating and diagnosed with binge eating disorder you can read about that here. Our final article I will discuss ways you can start healing by bringing awareness to eating disorders. Sometimes sharing our shame stories helps us want to shift behaviors to be a strong example to others.
So let’s go.
Eating disorders are about more than a person’s relationship with food. These complex mental health conditions can affect your relationships, your academic or professional success, and your goals in life.
Left untreated, they can also be deadly. Nearly 30 million Americans, or 9% of the population, will have an eating disorder in their lifetime. And more than 10,000 deaths each year are the direct result of an eating disorder, making them the second-deadliest behavioral health concern behind opioid use disorder.
According to the National Alliance for Eating Disorders, there’s a significant difference between disordered eating and eating disorders. Disordered eating doesn’t interfere with a person’s ability to function but may include irregular eating patterns as well as judgment around food or their body.
Eating disorders, however, represent a significant range of behaviors involving food and eating. They can impair your physical and mental health and make it difficult to function on a daily basis.
I have shared my story of developing emotional eating as well as my story of relapse but I don’t think it would hurt to mention it again here for those of you who don’t know me.
My Shame Story of Relapse
In 2013, I relapsed in my emotional eating disorder. I felt so weak, confused, and ashamed. But I made a vow that I would never become so burn out, overwhelmed, and frustrated that I had to escape with food just to get a grip on my emotions.
At the time I was being and doing everything for everyone but myself. I was driving all four kids around to and from school and after school activities, I was helping my husband manage his trucking company as a operational manager, take care of his personal errors as he is a over the road trucker driver himself and can’t run local errands due to being over the road, I also had to find energy for second shift of managing the household completing all the task of cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, folding laundry and putting them away, cutting the dog, cutting my son hair, putting braids in my three girls hair to save time, yard work, grocery shopping, dealing with the mental and emotional needs of all four children as well as run my own private marriage and family practice on top of skincare and wellness consultant for Avon that I did each evening.
Then I read a study conducted by the University College of London that found that women performed the majority of domestic work in 93 percent of the couples surveyed during a study of more than 8,500 heterosexual couples. When both parties worked full-time, women were five times more likely to spend at least twenty hours per week doing household chores.” It is an understatement to say how burned out and exhausted I felt. I was a hot mess running all over Atlanta while neglecting my own wellness and recovery needs.
The most disappointing part of it all was that I was undercharging and overdelivering to my clients-thats if I charged at all. I must admit, I always had a weakness for a sad sob story. I always felt the need to save, fix, please, and recuse others in their time of need. Not once ever thinking about my own needs or finances. As a young trucker wife I was accustomed to doing everything because my husband was working over the road. In reality, I had no other choice. I lived in a state with no family or support system and finances wasn’t available to hire help. Plus, I wasn’t charging like I should have been. My husband would always tell me to stop letting folks pick my brain for free. To start charing for my services. But if a wife was being miss treated and wanted out of her marriage I had to help her reinvent herself and find a job or resources to go back to school so she could take care of herself and her children. I just automatically jumped in recuse mode. I never realize I was treating my marriage and family practice like a charity. I actually own an outreach I could had directed her to. But when I’m in rescue and fix it mode I didn’t care if I got paid or not. The lines between the two businesses were very blurred. I had an outdated belief that I had to save the world. A lot of this behavior was my codependency showing up in my life. But in 2013, things got frustrated. After spending six to eight months helping someone create wealth and get her life back on track only for her to return back to the same emotional and at times physical abusive relationships was taking a toll on my health. All of this work done for free only to be abandoned to go back into drama and self sabotaging behaviors was no longer worth it to me. I was overdelivering to people who didn’t want to be saved. Not seeing results made me feel like a failure and inadequate. Even though I was very qualified working with the wrong people was lowering my self confidence and causing me to doubt my abilities and question myself. I finally realize that as I helped my clients gain control of their lives I was neglecting my own. Before I knew it I had allowed my codependency traits to entangle me back into unhealthy behaviors of emotional eating due to all of the stress, blurred boundaries with clients and feeling responsible for rescuing others. I knew this behavior had to stop.
As I research ways to heal and recover I learned some shocking news.
According to National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, “Eating disorders can be even more dangerous for certain populations. Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) who have eating disorders are half as likely as white people to be diagnosed or receive treatment. Transgender college students have reported suffering from disordered eating at four times the rate of their cisgender classmates. And women who have physical disabilities are more likely to develop eating disorders.”
It’s clear that eating disorders are very serious mental health concerns. Therefore, I want to share simple ways to start bringing awareness to it.
Before we get into ways to bring awareness let's take a look at the three most common types of these devastating conditions.
Anorexia nervosa. Anorexia is characterized by weight loss that is often due to excessive dieting or exercise, occasionally to the point of starvation. This is fueled by a fear of becoming obese — even if the person is underweight.
Bulimia nervosa. A person who has bulimia often follows a binge-purge cycle. That equates to a period of extreme overeating followed by attempts to purge that food to compensate for what they just ate. Bulimia is typically associated with feelings of loss of control about eating.
Binge-eating disorder. Someone who has binge-eating disorder tends to eat large amounts of food in a short period of time. They feel out of control and unable to stop, which can cause a tremendous amount of shame and distress.
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (being restrictive in what you eat to the point of struggling to meet appropriate nutritional needs) and other specified feeding and eating disorder (all other eating disorders that don’t fit the previous clinical definitions) round out the five eating disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V).
So, with that information do you or someone you may know have an eating disorder?
If so, things you can do to educate yourself, support others, and even begin doing the work for recovery with the information you have learned.
5 Gentle Ways to Begin Your Recovery Journey Taking One Step At a Time
Follow accounts on social media that are advocates for eating disorder awareness, engaging with these accounts can help them reach larger audiences.
If you feel comfortable doing so, share articles or re-share posts you find educational or helpful on your social media accounts to help it reach more people.
Write a body-positive message and leave it somewhere for a friend, family member or stranger to find.
Listen to eating disorder recovery podcasts, whether or not you are ready to pursue recovery, this can be educational and inspiring while you consider next steps. Listening helps these shows reach a larger audience.
Take time to consider disclosing your experience with a trusted loved one. If you don’t have anyone you can trust you can login into my website and become a member and share how you feel anytime you are feeling down.
Low self-esteem is a common symptom of eating disorders. So too are guilt and shame over an inability to “control” your eating habits to your level of satisfaction. If you’re feeling guilt or shame. Spiced Life Conversation offers a comprehensive suite of self care rituals and wellness programs for people struggling with sugar and food addictions, process unresolved emotional wounds of abandonment and childhood emotional neglect, and co-occurring issues of financial stress, codependency people pleasing, impostor syndrome as it relates to fear of success and abandonment and emotional eating. Contact us to learn more about our self care, wellness and recovery options and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward sustainable recovery.
All The Best
Dr. Nikki LeToya White
If you or someone you love is suffering from codependency and emotional eating, take the first step today and talk to talk to someone about recovery or simply learn more about the eating disorder recovery programs we offer.
Eating disorder statistics. (n.d.). National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. https://anad.org/eating-disorders-statistics/.
How to know if you have an eating disorder. (2021, April 22). National Alliance for Eating Disorders. https://www.allianceforeatingdisorders.com/8-signs-you-may-have-an-eating-disorder/.
Help Developing A Plan For Self Care
Do you want help developing a self care plan that works for your own busy schedule? Do you want accountability implementing a self care plan? If you or someone you love is struggling to maintain optimal mental and emotional health, consider reaching out to Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. We are a Metro Atlanta, Conyers Georgia area. We are a coaching and counseling practice with empathetic, skilled counselors and recovery coaches who can help you set goals, develop a self care routine and move forward to build a more fulfilling life. Our team would be happy to work with you either just for a couple of sessions to develop and implement a Self Care plan or longer term to work toward overall better mental health within our membership site or other programs.
About The Author:
Dr. Nikki LeToya White MSEd-TL, Ph.D. RHN is the founder, director and a full time board certified trauma-informed nutritionist, folk herbalist, and wellness consultant at Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. She created Spiced Life Conversation, LLC
Art Wellness Studio