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Eating Disorders are Disorders of Disconnection: Looking Beyond Food and Body Image.

Eating disorders are disorders of disconnection.

Often those restricting are also restricting other things in their life- food is just the tip of the iceberg. Examples include: restriction of emotions, connection to our bodies, relationships, pleasure and vulnerability. Often what we do with food mirrors our relationship to ourselves and others!

Part of recovery is removing this protective shield and leaning into the unavoidable vulnerability of life. Learning how to cope with emotions, maintain secure relationships, find safety in our bodies and let go of the need to numb and 'perfect.' Why should you do this? Because the eating disorder is preventing you from feeling joy and peace- we can only feel these more pleasant emotions when we are willing to feel the scary ones too.

So, get curious. What else is your eating disorder keeping you disconnected from? How is this both protecting you and hurting you? I challenge you to take one step towards letting yourself feel something this week. This could be an emotion, a laugh with a friend, a crying session, or pleasure of some kind

It’s going to feel scary and foreign when you practice vulnerability. However, we must practice feeling in order to heal. You can start with acknowledging your emotions to yourself if you’re not ready to share this with trusted others. My favorite emotional regulation skill for this: put your hand on your heart, breathe into the emotion, and breath out love and compassion for the part of you that’s hurting. If that also doesn’t feel safe yet, read through the journal prompts below to get curious about what your eating disorder is keeping you disconnected from.

Journal Prompts:

1) In what ways might your eating disorders be disconnecting you from other parts of your life?

2) When did you learn that numbing out from these areas was safer than being vulnerable in them?

3) How might this 'shield' also be preventing you from living the life you truly desire?

4) Growing up, what were you taught or modeled regarding emotional expression, relationships and/or pleasure?

5) What is one small step you can take to let down that shield and embrace the raw vulnerability of life?

As always, I’m sending you so much compassion on your recovery journey. This is incredibly hard work AND I believe you are capable of doing it. If you find that you need help with this, fill out the contact form to get started with a free 15 minute consultation today. I would be honored to support you on your journey to freedom and peace.

Written by Allyson Ford, MA, LPCC

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