By Dr. Mark Warren
Anyone with an eating disorder has been asked at some point or another "Why don't you just eat?" Most likely if you have an eating disorder you have asked yourself the same question. You might wonder "Why is eating so hard for me when it seems to be so easy for everyone else?" On one level the answer to this is incredibly simple, and on another level incredibly complicated. The simple level is biology. Having an eating disorder means having neurological or neuroanatomical organization of your brain that creates enormous barriers to eating normally. These barriers include visual and sensory distortions, impacts on reward centers and executive organization of the brain, distortions of senses of fullness and hunger, and over evaluation of body size and shape, in addition to other issues that may be present. The combination of all of these things makes eating incredibly hard to do. The complex answer comes from the interaction of all the issues above in addition to the fact that eating itself is an activity that is way more complicated than people give it credit for. Eating is not just about seeing food, grabbing food and putting it in our mouths. Eating is about being aware of what's happening inside our bodies, understanding and appreciating our sensations, knowing what gives us pleasure and how to eat in a balanced way. Add social eating and societal influence and its clear that eating is a complex activity on many levels. So the answer to why can't I just eat is that you have an eating disorder and that in fact is what the disorder is. It's what makes it such a scary, painful, and life threatening disease. Having an eating disorder is confronting the question "Why can't I just do something that ultimately may save my life?" It's also what makes recovery from an eating disorder so rich, full, and rewarding. Because when you are able to "just eat", you are able to embrace life in a way that had never felt possible before.
Blog Archives: April 2012
The Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) bi-annual National Lobby Day will be on April 24, 2012 in Washington DC. Twice a year professionals and advocates in the eating disorder field travel to Washington DC to talk with Members of Congress. Their objectives are to increase the awareness of the presence of eating disorders in the United States, bolster funding for research and to change the way people with eating disorders have access care.
Our Seattle office is celebrating its one year anniversary this year! Along with this excitingThe Emily Program Seattle WA Clinic anniversary The Emily Program in Seattle is working hard to expand the services offered to our clients in the Northwest by start a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP).