From the perspective of what is fit for human consumption, all modern eating is disordered eating. The consumption of processed foods in thoughtless combinations (à la the norms) is imbalanced. Three meals a day plus snacks is imbalanced. Grain, flesh, packaged foods and drinks – it’s all grossly out of line for the human body. The FDA guidelines and food pyramids themselves are disordered. It’s important to establish that “eating disorders” are not the exclusive domain of anorexics and bulimics.
The major “text book” eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia and compulsive over-eating) have been particularly poorly understood and treated. The common threads that anorexics and bulimics all share are:
1. They are usually of above average intelligence.
2. They are typically (but not always) from high income households or backgrounds.
3. They are angry about something (that they are usually not conscious of).
4. They have received the indication from an authority figure (usually more than one), from very early on in life, that they must not say what they really wish to say, either because it won’t actually be heard by the person who needs to hear it (despite how loudly and often it is said), because the person who ought to hear it won’t want to hear it, or because it will be harshly rejected. This last point is extremely important because the voice and the ingestion of food both correspond with the throat, a major energy centre in the body which some of you may know of as the “throat chakra”. The throat chakra becomes imbalanced when personal expression, which is its main raison d’etre, is stifled.
When you take a girl with above average intelligence and bring her up with the social norms, she will naturally pick up on all the paradoxes and hypocrisy of her world (i.e. adults say one thing but do another; adults use terms like love, commitment, respect and integrity a lot and yet betray those values with their behaviours). These girls witness that despite all the education, class expectations, climbing of social and corporate ladders and establishment of wealth, their adults show no signs of true happiness, self-confidence, individuality or selflessness.
Don’t think for a moment that this is getting past these smart girls. Subconsciously, this bright mind is storing up all these observations. As society puts her through the “proper young lady” assembly line, she starts to lose touch with her authenticity (and with it her keen perception), trading it in for the customary rules and definitions that were planned for her. Her subconscious doesn’t forget though. It knows that something of great price was taken and so it becomes unsettled. This manifests in little things at first – mild discontent, talking back, contempt for her parents, or, on the flip side, an intense desire to please or to be perfect.
Simultaneously, she also finds that the paradox of the way adults do things is not to be questioned or discussed; rather it is to be accepted, and she is meant to fall into line if she is to be considered a “success” and gain the much-desired approval of the adults around her. Since her peers are experiencing the same thing, they serve to reinforce this message in both spoken and unspoken ways. She is left to swallow her confusion day after day.
By this point she feels powerless to affect her outside world. But wait! There is still one thing left that is within her power to dictate – her body. Thus she begins to exert the little control she feels she can in what she does and does not put into her mouth. Her throat centre either closes off to defend her borders in an attempt at self protection (anorexia) or she attempts to feed herself the love and attention that she did not receive, and then purge it out as a way to express her feelings, violently and furiously, into the only thing that she knows will receive them – the toilet (bulimia).
This is an excerpt from an article from the spring 2008 issue of Get Fresh! Magazine. Go here to subscribe.