6 Reasons for Visiting a Therapist About Your Relationship With Food
The current diet culture created a general obsession with weight that has made many people sick and can lead to eating disorders. Relentless focus on food and weight can seep into your psyche, resulting in unhealthy fixations.
If this applies to you, it’s time to talk to someone you trust, for example, a family member, a friend, or a therapist.
Looking for help may seem really awkward or even unnecessary. However, this can help you fight your obsession and change your view on food and your body. Let’s look at some reasons for visiting a therapist about your relationship with food.
1. You have poor appetite due to mood changes.
It’s okay to have a poor appetite sometimes, but if your appetite is always low due to your mood changes, it might indicate a mental health problem. For example, if along with poor appetite, you experience sadness, low energy, and loss of pleasure in life, it may be due to depression.
Even if you don’t experience mental health symptoms along with your poor appetite, you still need to visit your health care provider. His unexplained change in appetite can be caused by other health conditions.
2. You’re focused on only consuming healthy foods.
Consuming foods rich in vitamins and minerals is great and necessary, however, a desire to eat only healthy foods is unhealthy. An obsession with only eating healthy foods is called orthorexia. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), this is an eating disorder that is characterized by a need to eat only foods that are considered clean or pure. Other symptoms of orthorexia include constantly assessing nutritional labels, cutting out progressively more food groups, and becoming distressed when only “unhealthy” food is available.
It’s important to understand what healthy eating truly is. It means not cutting out entire food groups out of fear and it’s not deciding that certain products are harmful while others are healthy. In fact, a healthy relationship with food means being flexible and kind to yourself. It doesn’t have to rule your life.
3. You’re regularly thinking about food and your body.
People with unhealthy relationships with food are typically constantly thinking about what they’re currently eating, their next meal, or their bodies. This can negatively affect daily life. Of course, it’s absolutely normal to think about food from time to time but these thoughts don’t have to make you feel guilt, anxiety, or shame. If this interferes with your daily life, it’s considered seeking professional help.
4. You can’t control your appetite.
If you feel like you can’t control how much you’re eating it might indicate you have a binge-eating disorder. According to NEDA, this is the most common eating disorder in the U.S. It involves repeated episodes of eating a lot of food past the point of fullness. People with binge-eating disorder often experience feelings of disgust, depression, and guilt about their eating habits.
This is a dangerous condition that can lead to many health issues like heart disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), obesity, joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and obstructive sleep apnea. Treatment for binge-eating disorder includes working with a psychologist, dietitian, and therapist. In severe cases, a weight loss surgical procedure might be required.
5. You have compulsive rituals around food.
There are lots of people who prefer to eat food in a particular way and that’s normal. However, certain food rituals might indicate an eating disorder. If you notice that your ritual involves having to cut food into very small pieces and chew it extremely slowly, all with the ultimate goal of eating less overall, this might indicate anorexia nervosa.
6. You’re constantly worrying about how many calories you’re eating.
Being obsessive about how many calories you’re eating can cause many eating disorders like anorexia nervosa. Though that is a hallmark of anorexia nervosa, there’s actually a group of conditions called Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED). This term includes various types of disordered eating including atypical anorexia nervosa, or when someone exhibits symptoms of anorexia nervosa such as intense calorie restriction, without the severe weight loss.