This doesn’t have anything to do with celiac disease, per se.
However, last time I checked we are all human. As such, we need to eat in order to survive. Also, we need to not eat too much in order to survive, to have maximal health, to like the way we look.
Food is an integral part of our society-it’s used in celebration, in mourning, in times of stress, in times of joy. As a society, it seems as if the food is primary concern for some occasions. Food is constantly on televison, popping up on our computer, in radio commercials.
As individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, food becomes even more powerful. It has the ability to fuel us, make us strong, make us healthy.
And also to make us sick.
Imagine if thoughts about food, and control of that food consumed all your thoughts. That you felt so out of control in your life that you controlled the one thing you could-what you ate. For some, this can turn into an eating disorder.
I am not a counselor. I have not had a “eating disorder.” I am not qualified in that sense.
However, I have dealt with thoughts of disordered eating. As a physique competitor, there are times in preparing for competitions where calories are cut in order to lose fat. You weigh and measure everything that goes into your mouth. You don’t consider eating anything that you haven’t already mapped out for the day. You plan your activity around your meals. As a side effect of dieting, sometimes you have cravings which must be ignored, and then you plan the treats for what you will eat after the show, stocking up a stash. Sounds a little nutso, doesn’t it? This is considered normal, and to some extent is necessary in the preparation phase of a contest for a physique competitor. For some, this also leads to a severe backlash after the show, with regain of fat in excess of where they started. You think to yourself-what is “normal” eating? I have been very aware of these possibilities, and stayed on top of my thought patterns. I have also been guided through my preparations with intelligent programming and nutrition.
Others are not so lucky. Many others for various other reasons, have developed eating disorders.
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is February 21-27th.
From National Eating Disorders.org:
The mission of NEDAwareness Week
Our aim of NEDAwareness Week is to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses — not choices — and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder.
The statistics are staggering:
“In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Millions more are struggling with binge eating disorder (Crowther et al., 1992; Fairburn et al., 1993; Gordon, 1990; Hoek, 1995; Shisslak et al., 1995).”
I have two reasons for posting this :
-To help with awareness, obviously. This is an issue that hits close to home, as I have too many friends and family who have been affected.
-To make you aware how powerful your thoughts can be.
I know there are many who would like to, and need to, lose fat. It has to be done-for health, for happiness, for self-worth. It’s time to take the unnecessary power away from food that we have given it as a society. Food is ultimately just fuel. It can be very pleasurable, an experience, and should be enjoyed. But it does not have the ability to control you. The food does not control whether or not you put it in your mouth. You do. (I touched on this a bit in Food Power-A Superhero for Good or Evil.)
So enjoy your food. Make smart choices. Fuel yourself optimally. Most importantly, be well.
To check out sensible information on setting up gluten free nutrition plan, click here.
Resources for more information on eating disorders:
National Eating Disorders Association
Bodysport Radio podcast interview which discusses disordered eating in athletes here
Book which I found very helpful:
Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works
Please feel free to share your thoughts or experiences below. We are a no-judgement gluten free and fit community, and you are safe here.
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