Unfortunately many of us are affected negatively by the distorted body image of that has been sold to us for decades. Disordered eating takes different forms. The newest form is orthorexia or a preoccupation with specialized diets. It can be linked with other eating disorders and often goes along with body dysmorphia.
Orthorexia & Social Connection
The dialogue about body image and disordered eating emerges with most of my patients. What I am noticing is the shame around talking about this has lifted. How refreshing! A study showed that online conversations around orthorexia support people to find their way back to healthy eating. Information and social support are key to being at ease in your skin.
It helps to understand that a restricted or special diet is not the end goal. With an immune response we can know within a month or less what foods are causing irritation. Usually there are just one or two. Once removed the body’s resilience kicks it up and deeper healing can happen.
Food is an important part of social connection. The health benefits of feeling relaxed and connected to a community are as important, maybe even more so, than what you put in your body.
Women Know Their Bodies
Establishing trust with my patients is important. Many people have had negative experiences in the medical system where their wishes weren’t heard or respected. Yesterday I had a young person explain that her gynaecologist wouldn’t offer a diagnostic procedure if she wouldn’t first take oral contraceptives (OCP). She knows that the OCP has negative health consequences for her. No other option was offered.
Having options and feeling heard are crucial aspects of mental health and well-being. Another patient explained to me that she can’t change her diet for various reasons. I understand why. When I asked her why she was feeling better she shared that she had tried a few of the suggestions we talked about. Its incredible how a few small changes can help so much.
I see a trends in my work yet each person I work with is unique. Having more time with patients is important. Providing information and diagnostic tools that are comprehensive from the beginning is empowering. Using herbs, nutrients and lifestyle modifications means people can build their resources without harmful side-effects.