What is an Eating Disorder?
Eating Disorders are much more common than people think. They are more than just about a focus on weight or desire to be attractive. They affect people of every race, class, age and gender. There are three main eating disorders:
Binge Eating Disorder-symptoms include eating quickly, eating large amounts of food when not hungry, eating until uncomfortably full, and eating in secret due to embarrassment.
Anorexia Nervosa-symptoms include extreme restriction of food intake, drastic weight loss, intense fear of gaining weight, and distorted body image.
Bulimia Nervosa-symptoms include binge eating followed by compensatory actions in efforts to not gain weight, such as self-induced vomiting.
Contributing Factors- There is no ONE cause of an eating disorder. There are typically a variety of factors including biology, temperament, culture, environment, and life experiences.
Treatment-Early prevention and intervention is ideal, but if someone needs help overcoming an eating disorder, it is best they seek the assistance of a team of qualified professionals who specialize in the treatment of the disorders. This should include a physician, psychotherapist, dietitian, and at times a psychiatrist.
What is mindfulness?
If you sit quietly, you might notice the many different thoughts that come up about your day or what you have to do later. You may also notice that judgements about yourself or others creep in. Mindfulness is the process of bringing one's attention to the present. It's not necessarily clearing your mind entirely; the practice is more about promoting awareness without judging.
Mindfulness is useful in reducing stress, anxiety, ruminations, as well as improving focus and resiliency.
Some of the ways I use mindfulness in therapy include learning to focus on your breathing, sights and sounds, and connecting to sensations or tensions in your body.
To me, a positive sense of humor also requires mindfulness. It gives you the ability to look at a situation from all angles, accept what you cannot change and allow yourself to laugh as a means of healing. As Chade-Meng Tan, author of Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within, says, "life is too important to be taken seriously."