When food takes too much space in your mind

If you realize that the attention you are paying to your daily eating habit and your body image is too much or too little, it’s possible that you are developing an eating disorder. Eating rules may be too strict, totally absent, or go from the extreme discipline to no rules at all.

Common types of eating disorders include: eating too little (anorexia), over-eating (obesity), binge eating (bulimia), eating only in some times of the day (fasting and/or night eating), over-controlling macronutrients (ortorexia) and paying too much attention to body image and muscles (bigorexia).

In some of these situations, self-confidence is strongly associated to body image, so food becomes the mean to fix some personal and interpersonal issues; alternatively, the physical sensations associated to eating or fasting might become the mean to cope with overwhelming emotions and deep personal struggles. When food has such a symbolic value, people rarely talk about their relationship with it; the sense of shame that is usually triggered by these conversations is a wakeup call that might indicate the possibility of having developed an eating disorder.

Sessions with a therapist have nothing to do with dietary prescriptions, as it happens with a dietologist or a nutritionist. Instead, expect to talk very little about food and a lot about feelings, in order to understand why you are paying too much or too little attention to eating and body shape; the aim of psychotherapy for eating disorders is to find more functional strategies to cope with emotions and discover a renovated new self-confidence that has no relation with eating and body image.

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