Is your path to ‘wellness’ making you feel miserable? Is your quest for the ‘perfect’ life starting to look far from perfect? Do you get this ‘gut feeling’ that your health is a few green smoothies and fructose-free raw chocolate bites away from a crisis?
Many of my clients come to me because they are aware that they are starting to live and function in a way that is far from perfect. Their bodies are giving them the ‘not- so- subtle- anymore’ signs that things aren’t right. Their mindsets are riddled with fear so simple and blindingly obvious decisions like ‘Is an apple good for me?’ results in rigorous, obsessive analysis (and panic). And the harsh reality is that they don’t like themselves all that much- you only need to hear the way they talk to themselves (it would make even your most publicly volitile facebook friend appear like they have their shit together).
There is a big difference between living a healthy lifestyle vs experiencing obsessive and/or intrusive thoughts about healthy eating.
The biggest difference? Mindset. It all comes down to how pervasive and persistent the thoughts about healthy eating are AND the amount of time and/or interference they are having on your life.
This my friend, is all part of the ‘quest to wellness and the perfect life’ journey that I call the slippery slope to a health crisis. And while it can at times be a fine line between health and being on the ‘slippery slope’- it’s my mission to pull you out off that ‘slippery slope’ as quickly as possible.
I have not been shy in voicing my opinion about how scary and messed up this health and wellness industry is becoming. You can read some of my thoughts here and here. Food wise the ‘slippery slope’ to a health crisis aka an eating disorder is so fricken scary and ‘all-too’ common these days, my heart seriously beats a-little-too-fast (for my liking) for the women out there who are either aware of their struggles but not sure what to do next, or unaware that their thinking and behaviour is seriously f&*ked up.
Here’s the scary reality: the slippery slope to an eating disorder is within reach of all of us with disordered eating because the enemy isn’t the food per se, it’s us (and it always has been).
I like to say to clients and prospective clients that we weren’t ‘born’ with food and body related issues. Or any self inflicted issues for that fact. We weren’t born ‘damaged’, unworthy or unsuccessful. But somewhere along the line we have chosen to buddy up with beliefs that have then shaped our values and our internal self love compass, which lead us to making certain choices. Choices about how worthy we feel we are, how our worth is determined, how we measure our worth, what we feel is beautiful/ successful/ inspirational etc…I could go on.
But over my time, I have gained an insight into some typical behaviours and patterns that I’m going to phrase as the ‘red flags’ that you’re on the slippery slope.
Signs that your healthy eating is heading for a crisis
+ There’s an underlying under current of striving and seeking perfection and control. It’s not so much about fighting the calories and wanting to lose weight as such- though that can and does play a part for many. But rather it’s about perfection and control that distinguishes the healthy eater for the disordered eater. Fighting the mindset behind the food related issues is key for regaining your health and wellness.
+ You avoid/ starting to avoid social situations that center around food, preferring to either beforehand, attend but not eat, or not attend at all. There is a numbing fear and lack of trust that the food has been or will be prepared in a way that mets you high and strict standards
+ Experience feelings of guilt or disgust when eating something that is not on a meal plan or part of your ‘safe’ and ‘accepted’ foods. This is why I loathe meal plans and strongly convince my clients that they are better off without them. You can read more about that here.
+ Cut back on food or eliminating foods is common and can start with seemingly appropriate choices that soon results in a majority of what are otherwise ‘socially accepted’ foods being eliminated (e.g. gluten, dairy, fruit).
Real life story: Once I went vegetarian, it was raw, then all organic, then local foods. I was juicing and experimenting with superfood powders and weird ingredients. And then I quit sugar which was the last straw. Ironically I quit sugar and didn’t get a life, then didn’t quit sugar and got a life…ponder that one!
+ You self esteem is based on factors like what you eat, how you eat and how much you eat, rather than your strengths and personal qualities and attributes.
+ There is a pervasive obsession to purchase and prepare all foods you eat.
Real life story: My grocery shopping fast become a mini ‘amazing race’ around Sydney, sourcing the best ingredients and the cleanest products I could find. It wasn’t uncommon for me to spend most of my weekend sourcing food. I just couldn’t settle for anything that was near enough or close enough to good/ acceptable. All food had to be ‘perfect’.
+ There is an intense, persistent and pervasive obsession and energy directed towards thinking about food. While you may not think about calories, you rigorously think about the overall ‘health benefits’ and how the food was processed, prepared etc. Rules and regulations about quality and standards rule everything that passes through your lips.
+ There’s a fixation on defining the “right” foods, foods that can be safely eaten (aka: fear of food): I’m not just talking about food that doesn’t stack up to the clean eating standards but people on the slippery slope are relentless that the food has to be ‘perfect’ or so close to ‘perfect’ that they would rather not eat if the available choices don’t stack up. Read here and here for more about fearing food.
Real life story: I vividly remember being out one night with my partner at a Japanese restaurant. I wouldn’t eat the fish because it wasn’t wild caught. I wouldn’t eat the sushi because I didn’t eat rice. I wouldn’t eat the soy sauce because it had sugar in it (I asked the waiter who had to then ask the chef, who had to check the bottle- this dramatic food analysis was sadly what I did a lot). I sat there eating a bowl of edamame beans (and that was a push- edamame beans weren’t gelling with my volatile digestive system).
I believe that there’s an intelligence within you that knows what you need. You innately know which foods will fuel you (in any given moment) and what choices will lead to an incredible life. And this is the intelligence that I help my clients to unlock and tap into daily- moment by moment, day by day.
If you want the support from someone who ‘get’s it’- who has experientially lived it and who also has theory and qualifications to back and support you then send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I can either discuss how to support you or refer you onto other services.
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