You are not alone. The epidemic of unhealthy eating patterns, extreme measures, and the quiet secrets of today’s women and men to get thin and stay thin indicates a broad social undercurrent of influence. All over the country, and especially here in Orange County, pressures can be suffocating for teens, women of all ages, and yes men too. The constant evaluation from peers, strangers in the mall, and ourselves spurs anxiety. When anxiety sits with you in any situation, your reaction will be more physical. Think about the physical reaction of anxiety; your heart races, your stomach hurts, your palms sweat, you may even get dizzy. When anxiety reaches uncomfortable levels, your natural defenses kick in to try to avoid reaching that level again. Some people rationalize, some withdraw, some work through anxiety. Then there others that sit with anxiety until fear overtakes them and becomes a dominant theme in their life.
Fear is the root of any disorder. Focusing on eating disorders, fear can override even the most intellectual, attaching onto food, body image, and self-esteem. Fear of Judgment spins the common thread with individuals who have suffered through an eating disorder. The story behind Fear of Judgment gets strength from the natural defense to escape fear and uncomfortable judgment. The diligent, extreme dieter can literally disappear from judgment by becoming and staying thin, sometimes too thin. Weight can also fluctuate drastically up and down adding desperation and harming natural metabolism intensifying the emotional and physical battle to just feel normal. The focus turns from weight, to escaping judgment and fear. The cycle of escaping judgment can be so intense, health suffers, relationships suffer, and the spirit suffers. Fear of Judgment turns self-definition to self-escape and negative self-talk, taking away from emotional presence, joy, and personal growth.
There is always hope in battling eating disorders. If you think of an eating disorder as a manifestation of fear, then the real battle becomes conquering fear. Fear is tricky to spot, until it literally overtakes you. By understanding and decreasing the precursors to fear, such as anxiety, guilt, and shame, you gain insight into how fear works and undermines you. The strongest warrior against fear is your own voice. Defining, accepting, and building yourself provides you with the armor needed to protect you from fear and move through perceived judgment. Fear of Judgment becomes more intense when individuals must turn to others and their environment to define who they are. If your self-definition remains strong, you look inward, toward your heart and soul, warming away the coldness of fear.
Without fear, you are free to be healthy on all levels. Food becomes fuel, and your body becomes a gift. Without fear, relationships improve, your voice will surface, and success will greet you around every turn.