I work on a very specific end of the Disordered Eating spectrum - only with women in remission or who have never had a full blown ED. I never circumvent important medical treatment or fail to acknowledge the deep biological influences on this illness.
What I DO work with is environment. CULTURE. And here is what I see: I see that in a world that increasingly moralizes health and female thinness, in a culture that continues to be progressively anxious and reductionistic about every item of food we put in our mouths.....we are a culture where disordered eating and dysfunction with food is encouraged to grow.
It is a cultural virus.
because every time we talk about fat as the worst thing in the world, or the calories we need to burn while eating, or we make someone feel shitty or worried cause they ate sugar or drank a bloody Coke - we spread the virus.
When we congratulate someone on weight loss or thinness, as though it's the ultimate achievement, without knowing what's happening for them - we spread the virus.
When we talk badly about our bodies, or punish ourselves with exercise, or decide what we can/can't afford to eat because if the (insane) calories printed on menus - we spread the virus.
Everyone is worried about the zombie apocalypse (no? Just me?) but guess what, people??? It's already here and it's turning our girls (and, increasingly, our boys) into disconnected humans, willing to sacrifice their (our - I was there once too) mental/emotional/spiritual wellness for a few pounds.
Full blown eating disorders and their treatment are so much more complicated than this convo but here is what I know, based on the work I do:
We can change this.
We CAN change the culture.
With acceptance and allowance and, imho, a healthy dose of fun and laughter we can alter the environment that encourages disorder. 💖✨