It is Just Food – Let’s Talk About Restriction and Wise Words from an Eating Disorder Recovery Warrior
*Trigger warning – Discussion of eating disorders and the restriction of food*
Often the restriction of food starts from well-intentioned goals of getting healthier or feeling more confident. Unfortunately for many, the intentional restriction of food leads to a very unhealthy relationship with food and their body.
Restriction of food can present in several forms including total amount of food, types of foods, and the timing of intake. All types of intentional restriction challenge the brain in ways you may not have thought.
The Effects of Food Restriction:
- Depriving the brain and the body of adequate and varied nutrition can create more of an obsession with the thing that we are avoiding.
- This can create fear and rigidity. Over time, the thing that we were cutting back on may become something that we develop a fear of consuming. The reality is that unless we have an allergy to a food, food does not need to be feared.
- Restriction is the number one cause of overeating or binging.
To truly describe the effect that restriction and a restrictive eating disorder can have, I am excited to share a beautiful piece written by a brave and talented client of mine.
“There’s something that happens to you when you’re deprived of food. Well, there’s lots of things that happen to you when you’re deprived of food. One of those things is, hopefully, learning how to stop depriving yourself.
This is how I find myself sitting in front of a McFlurry. It’s Oreo, which I remember is my favorite. I try not to make a big deal about it when I reach for the cup but my fingers shake and twitch involuntarily.
I remind myself that I’m allowed to feel scared as long as I try to be brave too, but bravery is a scarce and fleeting thing sometimes.
It’s cold in my hand. It’s grounding, thankfully, bringing me back to reality. It doesn’t stop my hand from shaking until it rests against the plastic spoon. I use it to steady myself, and the irony of holding on for dear life to flimsy plastic and soft, melting ice cream isn’t lost on me. Even this much, though, being this close, makes my stomach subconsciously heave.
No one makes a point of looking at me when I take a bite, and I appreciate the privacy as cold dairy skates across my tongue. For a moment I feel sick, then the sweetness coats my mouth and my breath comes back to me. It’s good; as good as I remember it being.
I convince myself it tastes better than deprivation, but I’m not sure I believe it yet. I take a second bite.”
Food does not have to be this hard. If you ever find yourself feeling the negative effects of food restriction or are searching for support to repair your relationship with food and your body, please reach out to a qualified registered dietitian who can help.
Looking for an Eating Disorder Dietitian that “gets it”? We can help.
If you are seeking support for an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, ARFID, disordered eating behavior, restrictive eating, we can help.
We have Eating Disorder Dietitians on our team that can help provide you with the confidential supportive care to meet you where you are at and work with you to progress recovery at a pace you can manage.
We also work collaboratively with your physician and therapist to ensure we are helping you move forward with the right type of support needed to assist you.
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Disordered Eating, Emotional Eating & Sports Nutrition
Fitness enthusiast and lover of all things food, Jana is passionate about helping her clients improve their relationship with food and their body. She is a strong, motivational leader. Jana also offers the balance of a warm, supportive coaching style to nudge her clients from their comfort zone while feeling safe and supported. She specializes in mental health, eating disorders, body image and sports nutrition.