The REAL reason behind Eating Disorders
Eating disorder statistics are expanding - FAST. children as young as 3 worry about getting fat, and over 5 million people remain significantly depressed about their bodies.
Meanwhile, 1.6 million people are affected by eating disorders, with only 10% seeking professional support, and up to 1/3 of individuals with anorexia dying because of related medical complications !!!
This is not acceptable, and neither is the answers that we are provided with as to why eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, EDNOS, orthorexia, or any other form of disordered eating arise in the first place.
At one end of the spectrum, we are told that it is because we live in a world where there are masses of skinny models, media touch ups, and messages that promote negative bodily comparisons. We are also told that eating disorders are a way of feeling in control, or even as a way of getting attention ! We are even made to focus on weight being the issue, and that faddy diets are to blame.
I agree to a large extend with all of these explanations. They to play a role in the contribution to eating disorders. Yet they don’t really explain what is going on at a deeper level.
They also don’t explain why around 1 in 4 of eating disorder cases are male, who although experience pressure to look a certain way, are not manipulated into this type of thinking to the same degree as females.
What these explanations fail to get at is what we learn to value in society, and how these values lead us away from feelings as though we have any meaning, purpose or value in the world.
Fundamentally, individuals are led away from meeting basic needs for belonging, love and acceptance, because the way our western system works is on the basis that individuals need to be successful in their careers, appearance and how they go on to create a family of their own.
We are taught from a young age, that the grades at schools and colleges, the zero figures in our bank balance, and the luxury status of the products we own, are all symbols of a happy and successful life - that others should aspire too. But, you can have all of those things without the basic stuff that really matters - love, acceptance, belonging, meaning and the time to express our unique creativity.
The messages put out their in our society perpetuates the myths of a so called successful life, where individuals are encouraged to objectify their whole life, work and their own bodies. Just like the letters after their name or figures in their bank account, so too do the figures on their scales, body fat monitors and Calorie counters become to symbolise their level of worthiness and value in the world.