How Can Eating Issues Affect Our Lives?
Whether it is anorexia, bulimia, food addictions, or simply having a relationship with food that we regard as less than healthy, countless numbers of us struggle with eating issues.
The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders website displays some very telling numbers. At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S. alone. 11% of women and 4% of men are at risk for eating disorders.2 One group of women who lived separately in a social sorority had the highest risk of 15%.2 The greater prevalence in females mirrors societal messages and expectations. For instance, most female fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women, 80% of whom are unhappy with how they look.3
What’s more, these trends start at a very young age. By age 6, girls especially start to express concerns about their own weight or shape. 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat. This concern endures through life. 51% percent of 9 and 10 year old girls feel better about themselves if they are on a diet. It is important to note that 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting.3
Our Relationship With Food
These disorders can have serious health consequences. Eating disorders have the second highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders, surpassed only by opioid addiction.3 Among those who struggle with anorexia, 1 in 5 deaths is by suicide.3 Many more of us struggle with overeating and other challenging relationships with food that don’t technically fall under a specific disorder name.
Many times, the programs designed to help those with eating issues focus on changing behavior. Certainly changing behavior is important, but attempting to change behaviors without changing the beliefs that fuel them becomes an uphill battle fraught with backsliding.
We have found that, for a large number of people, their relationship with food is a microcosm of their relationship to their entire lives. When someone believes that their life is out of their control, for instance, they may seek to regain it by attempting to control their world; and one of the ways they might do this is by strictly limiting what and how much they eat. When someone feels that their life is empty, and they are a victim to the emptiness, they may endeavor to fill the void with food.
How Can the Option Institute Help?
We can help you to uncover the beliefs you hold which fuel your relationship with food. We do this in a very nonjudgmental manner, and we don’t try to convince you to change how you eat. We simply give you the opportunity to decide what type of relationship you’d like to have with food, and then we give you tools and assistance with dropping the often undiscovered beliefs in your way. Then we can help you learn to construct a new set of beliefs to set you on the long-term track you desire.
Indeed, we have had participants in the past who have moved beyond their overeating, anorexia or bulimia.
If you have decided that it’s finally time to leave your eating issue by the wayside and forge a new relationship with food, we can provide you with a kind of assistance you have probably never received before.
Programs to Help With Eating Disorders and Body Image Issues
Do you stress about food? Do you judge things about your body? Do you imagine that other people are judging things about your body as well? Do you criticize yourself for “sabotaging” yourself by eating certain foods?
Wouldn’t it be great to spend your mental energy enjoying your life, your friends, and your family – instead of spending it on self-criticism, eating issues, or concern about whether people are looking at you and judging what they see?
You can follow a regimen that focuses on changing the outside (diet, exercise, weight loss) in an effort to feel good on the inside. Or you can step off that never-ending physical and emotional treadmill and find out how to change the inside first.
INNER STRENGTH BOOT CAMP
Welcome to the fitness program for your mind and soul. Our Inner Strength program will help you build up your internal sense of power, passion and freedom. This program enables you to access the tools that put you in complete charge of your emotions and behaviors, to effectively overcome your eating disorder regardless of what is happening around you. Over the course of the two week program, you will have the opportunity to put into practice the life-changing skills and perspectives that you learn.
Our quest to change how we feel inside often begins with attempts to change the outside. However, no matter how many changes we make to enhance our external features, it doesn’t reduce the struggle that continues within. Our Inner Strength program provides you with strategies for developing a Herculean capacity for whatever comes your way.
You are more powerful than you think. Your inner voice can guide you to better choices and a happier life. The Challenge Is to Listen.
Optimal Self-Trust shows you how to turn up the volume of your inner voice and listen—really listen! In five days of bold exploration and daring discussions, you’ll tear away the self-judgments and anxieties that contribute to your eating disorder. By hearing your real inner voice you will be able to live the life you want, love yourself and trust your choices with absolute self-confidence, even in the face opposition.
Fear can be an ever present, incapacitating emotion that prevents you from becoming the person you desire to be. Or it can be a rare occurrence out of nowhere, catching you at just the wrong times. It can also be a background anxiety just below the surface. Fear of people’s judgments, opinions and rejections are often quoted as reasons for having started on the path to an eating disorder.
In Fearless, you’ll acquire tools and techniques that will not only let you stand courageous in the face of fear, but instead, will let you completely eliminate fear. You will learn how to overcome your eating disorder by putting an end to the fears and insecurities that fuel it.
When I arrived at the Option Institute last Sunday, I had spent years struggling with self judgment, judgment of my body, yearning for a “mother” to heal me. Now, after this outstanding program, I have, for the first time ever, been able to feel my perfection at this moment, look in the mirror and see beauty, feel that I have healed myself by taking in the comfort of being held, and have felt my own strength and power to direct my growth.
Cardiology Practice Administrator, Maryland
The Weigh Happier Program is not about pounds – losing or gaining. It’s about how we relate to our bodies and food. This isn’t a way to diet. It’s a way to look at our hang-ups we may have about food and our bodies. After this week, how I see food and my body is radically different. It’s like starting over, but this time choosing how I want to see them both in the most comfortable way.
- Risk for Disordered Eating Relates to both Gender and Ethnicity for College Students – www.tandfonline.com