Kristina Marchese

Kristina Marchese

Experiencing trauma can often create a response similar to a pebble thrown into a still pond. The incident may seem...

Felicia Cota

Felicia Cota

If you find yourself struggling, feeling overwhelmed or experiencing painful emotions in your everyday life or perhaps experiencing triggers from...

Kelly Lopez

Kelly Lopez

I am a Licensed Associate Counselor, specializing in the treatment of eating disorders, trauma, abuse/neglect, relationship problems, and basic human...

Self Image, Self Harm, and Eating Disorders

Self Image, Self Harm, and Eating Disorders

Attempting to change your food-related behaviors without exploring the Emotional reasons why you continue to overeat, is like trying to...

Eating Disorders - It's Not About the Food

By Kelly Lopez

If it’s not about the food, what is it really about?

The eating disorder serves a function, it does a job. Despite the problems an eating disorder creates, it is an effort to cope, shield against, communicate, and solve problems. Behaviors may be a way to establish a sense of power or control, self-worth, strength, and containment. Bringing may be used to numb pain. Purging may be a way to release emotions. When one cannot cope in healthy ways, adaptive functions (behaviors) are created to ensure a sense of safety, security, and control.
According to Carolyn Costin*, some of the “adaptive functions that eating disorder behaviors commonly serve are”:
It’s not about the food, it’s a way of coping with low self-esteem, negative emotions, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, unstable home, difficulty resolving conflict and much more.
*Costin, Carolyn. The Eating Disorder Sourcebook: A Comprehensive Guide to the Causes, Treatments and Prevention of Eating Disorders. 3rd. edition, McGraw Hill, 2007.
Fuller, Kristen. “Eating Disorders: It’s Not All about Food.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 22 Mar. 2017