Letting go of control is one of the hardest things for someone with a poor relationship with food and themselves. But it is necessary in order to find healing in an area so personal as your own body image. Today I’m sharing with you how letting go of control was ultimately what brought healing for my disordered way of eating.
Ok, so before I start writing I just wanted to clarify that “disordered eating” doesn’t necessarily mean that you are diagnosed with an eating disorder. I think a lot of people believe that I’m writing to those with a diagnosed eating disorder. But, though I hope to reach women with a clinical eating disorder, my goal is to touch more than just them.
I was in denial for a very long time about having an eating disorder. Mainly, because none of my “symptoms” per say matched the typical anorexia or bulimia. I never once missed a meal, never did I cause myself to throw up, and never did I try laxatives to loose weight. I, honestly, had a pretty good self image throughout a lot of my life, but it was the fear of loosing my “perfect” body that drove me to a disordered way of eating and exercising. I developed what is called “orthorexia” or the obsession of foods that one believes are healthy.
In other words, as you’ve read before, I was consumed by the need to always eat healthy.
Just because you’re not taking the extremes of skipping numerous meals or binging and purging, doesn’t mean that your way of eating and thinking isn’t unhealthy. I may be pushing some people here with saying that I truly believe that the large majority of women struggle with some extent of disordered eating. And I don’t blame any of us! It’s so hard to grow up in this time with a perfect view of self and a perfect relationship with food. I’m just saying, we can’t be naive and and not think about how maybe we’re missing out on all the peace we can have with food and ourselves if we don’t realize that maybe we have some improvement to make in this realm of food and body.
I’ve talked about this in previous posts, about how my need for control was one of the biggest obstacles I had to face when learning how to truly eat and be healthy. And it’s true. Me, a people pleaser, “type A”, perfectionistic person found peace when I thought I could control something. And I speak in past tense there because, by growing out of and through my eating disorder, my personality has changed and I am no longer quite the uptight person I preciously was.
This is how control affected me with my disordered eating:
First off, I was given the false sense that by managing and controlling the food I was eating, I’d have control of my health and not suffer as those close to me suffered.
Second, I believed that by controlling myself around “non-healthy” foods, I would feel strong and powerful.
And last, I believed that by not eating anything unhealthy, I would be accepted more by others as “the healthy one”.
Here’s where I went wrong:
No amount of healthy food is able to cure you from every possible disease or ailment out there. I was restricting myself, giving myself false hope that I’d feel better with limiting my diet to only so called “clean” foods.
Yes, I felt strong being able to say “no” to eating a cookie at a party in college, but I went home every time afterwards just wishing I could be like all my friends who were able to enjoy dessert with no regret or guilt.
And yes, I was considered “the healthy one” among my friend groups. But as much as I liked that title, I so desperately wanted to just relax around food and enjoy it without thinking about how many minutes extra at the gym I’d have to run in order to burn something off.
It wasn’t worth it.
I finally realized that the way I was living around food wasn’t sustainable. I no longer wanted to have a six-pack of abs if it meant being isolated at a party since I wouldn’t allow myself the ability to indulge. And mornings spent with friends were way more important than a run every morning. I realized that I no longer wanted to be held captive to my desire to control. I knew that if I wanted to live life to the fullest, I needed to let go of control!
How do you find yourself clinging to control in the areas of food and health? Can you relate with having some form of disordered eating? It’s such a hard thing to admit to, but believe me, once you are able to let go you’ll find freedom…not restriction…is the answer to a lifelong health!
If you are looking to start figuring out what it looks like to be healthy by letting go of control, check out the FREE webinar “Control to Mindful” where you’ll learn how to live and eat healthy without diets or restrictions!
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