What ALL eating disorders have in common
Eating Disorder Symptoms
What do I have in common with Elton John, Lady Gaga and Russell Brand? What do nearly all eating disorders have in common? Naturally we’re all rich celebrities. NO. Not quite…
All of us had a war going on in our internal world and we couldn’t deal. We couldn’t figure out how to process the emotions. Behaviors helped us cope and numb those feelings.
The eating disorder home
Our eating disorder became our friend. A safe haven. The eating disorder helped us fit in and succeed in the external world because WE were incapable of doing it alone. ED helped us out of isolation and gave us the promise of being beautiful.
But…ED also made us miserable in our internal worlds. ED shattered our souls. Took over our identity. Disconnected our bodies from our minds. Our true self became paralyzed. Externally we were surviving (maybe even thriving); internally we were dying.
The eating disorder doesn’t discriminate. ED is soooo welcoming to anyone who can’t deal with their emotional issues. I was on top of my ‘external world’. I had just been accepted to Harvard Business School; I was working full-time in private equity. ED doesn’t give a flying flip who you are. I was terrified. Scared of failing. ED, meet Lindsay. Lindsay, meet ED.
I never thought eating disorders were trendy or cool. I didn’t ask for one. I didn’t know anyone who had one. Before my ED, I never hated myself or my body so much that I wanted to hurt it. I do remember, in middle school, having body image issues, but let’s be honest. WHO DOESN’T. Also, dieting and exercise. WHO DOESN’T.
It’s not about the food
It’s not a food issue. Not an exercise issue. It’s an emotional issue. FEAR. This is hard to understand because sometimes it ‘seems’ to be a food or body issue. But it is always an emotional one.
Why did I start dieting? FEAR of not fitting in.
Why did it go too far? FEAR of losing control.
What led me to saying those awful things to myself? FEAR of not liking the person behind the ED.
What caused me to exercise and purge so much that I hurt myself? FEAR of gaining. FEAR of not being liked.
I always wanted to lose five pounds. I read about Weight Watchers and the dramatic results dieters had. I like drama. I like control. Boom. Being a natural overachiever, I crushed it. I, too, saw dramatic results. Then one day, something was stuck in my throat. Or maybe that’s the story I told myself. I purged. Euphoria. A day later, I did it again. More dramatic results, more euphoria. More control. Then … deterioration. Not slow, but fast. And wanting to succeed, even in my eating disorder, that is WHO I became for seven years.
I’m not going to talk about those seven years. Not in this post. I know… that you know… what happens in seven years. It. Is. Exhausting.
Find a rolemodel
But I will talk about recovery. Not how hard it is (how is hearing that recovery is hard, helpful?), but what we should hear more of. Find a rolemodel. It can be someone who has FULLY recovered or someone who lives their life in a way you admire. If you don’t know anyone, then you are surrounding yourself with the WRONG people. Find people who light you up. Your rolemodel’s life will be free of food issues and negative self-talk. Full of embracing themselves, full of balance, and full of love.
Because ED’s are an emotional issue, we have to create beliefs that empower us to move beyond the stories we tell ourselves of WHY we have the ED. WHY we deserve it.
How do you use a rolemodel? You don’t even have to share with the person that he or she is your rolemodel! Copy what they do. Duplicate their belief system. This is where it starts. We change our beliefs; we change our lives. Understand, study, practice and then teach what they do. I promise it can and WILL change your life.