The truth behind your eating disorder (Part 2)


Wow, I cannot tell you the response I have got from my blogpost on Monday, ‘The truth behind your eating disorder: Part 1”. The one common theme that has come through in messages from you beautiful girls is simple – I was so scared to even open your email, because honestly, I don’t know what to do.

On Monday I mentioned how you probably turned to food because it was merely there when you needed it (it was your crutch); today, I want to look at ‘why’ you needed it. And what else you could have {or can now} choose instead!!

Reason #2

 # 2 You created an eating disorder to escape difficult emotions!!

As women, and especially in the western culture, we are taught from a young age, that negative emotions are bad. Repress them, pretend they aren’t there and basically, they will go away. The problem with this is that every feeling was meant to be felt. And what you did over the years, by suppressing these negative feelings, is that you built them up to be so much bigger (and worse) then they actually are. As woman, we love to make things seem so much worse in our heads and you, darling, did just that.

In running from negative emotions, you created a mountain out of nothing, and thus 10 years later, every time that (or any negative) feeling surfaces – your brain knows ONLY one way to escape – abuse food! But THANK GOD (literally) that there are other ways to deal with difficult emotions too – and this, my girl, is where your journey towards body-love will begin!!!

One of my first learning’s on feelings, was that ‘feeling fat’ wasn’t a feeling at all.

Now while this may make you smile, I’m hoping it makes you think too. How often do we run from the very thing we’re actually feeling, and blame it on something like ‘fat’? Seriously!!

One of the greatest tools I learnt in overcoming my food-body-hate relationship was learning how to name the feeling I was experiencing, rather than generalising. It’s easier to say I’m feeling ‘down’ then searching my brain for words like ‘frustrated’, ‘devastated’, ‘exhausted’, ‘drained’, ‘sad’ or ‘defeated’. But by generalizing, we adopt a mindset that all negative emotions should be dealt with in the same way. And they shouldn’t!!!! For me. When I was ‘down’, I ran. You might eat. Or binge. Or starve yourself. What I needed to learn is that we were never meant to deal with sadness in the same way we deal with frustration; or anger like we deal with drained. For years, my immediate response to feeling ‘down’ was go for a run, cry or eat. But it didn’t have to. And in time I have learnt that when I’m sad, I actually need comfort; but when I’m frustrated I need time out. A run works well for this emotion too. But then again, for anger it didn’t work well at all. For anger, I need to talk, or write.

I’m obviously sharing my experience here, but I’m hoping you get the drift. Naming your emotion is incredibly empowering but learning a powerful, constructive behaviour to deal with that specific emotion is even more powerful.

My encouragement for you is this:

Do some self reflection a couple times a day tomorrow (and into the week ahead), and try to pinpoint the emotion you are feeling when you are drawn to ‘using food’, ‘needing, instead of wanting, to exercise’ or even thinking about food. Then admit to yourself the real emotion that you are feeling. And no you’re NOT feeling fat. Maybe its boredom, frustration, or maybe you’re just sad. Now try and think of a constructive way of dealing with that specific emotion. This may be to take walk, call your mum, go to the bathroom & scream, or maybe even to have a good cry. But either way, by practicing (and testing out) more constructive ways of dealing with feelings; you will soon find that food is no longer linked to feelings….and that beautiful, is the beginning of BIG things for you!!!


On Tuesday, we will look at my final truth behind your eating disorder; and we will then go on to talk about topics like…

  • Valuing your inner voice
  • How to survive your next clothes shop



  1. […] along with dealing with negative emotions effectively, are the 2 things that have CHANGED my […]

  2. Valuing your inner voice | Caitlyn de Beer on March 12, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    […] It is a beautiful thing to not use food, exercise or any other form of escape. Feelings are there to be felt, not run from – towards the treat cupboard. I am a firm believer that this is definitely the first step towards breaking your bad relationship with food (But I talk about this here) […]

  3. […] However…by allowing a little of everything, our brains find comfort in this new pattern and are less likely to enter into anxiety, obsession or a sense of failure. By stopping with extremes you’re creating space in your mind to live FREELY & to learn to listen to what your body needs in the moment, rather than fighting against it. (Note here that if you’re an emotional eater then there are ways around that too – Here’s more on that). […]

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