(A Woman’s Guide To Reclaiming Wholeness After Sexual Abuse)
Blog and Podcast Show notes
By Simone N
For a more in depth discussion, check out the podcast episode for this blog, to listen.
Are you neglecting food? Under eating, starving your body?
What is your reason for this?
Why is it so damaging? And what can be done about it?
Neglecting the need to eat/under eating is another way that we can abuse ourselves without noticing. The degrees of this behavior can vary from subtle to extreme cases; occasionally skipping a meal or consuming less than needed at meal time (casual dieting), to outright starvation of a mental disorder called Anorexia Nervosa (which calls for professional help).
There are a few reasons someone may ignore this need for food.
The first reason is our state of busy-ness. We are too busy. Our schedules are too hectic so food is the last thing to enter our minds. We of course, do not even realize we’re doing this, we are not mindful, or present in ourselves to even know what it needs, when it needs it. If you are too busy to eat adequately, or to respond to your body’s need for sustenance, it is not healthy, and needs to be re-analyzed.
The next reason, as you may have guessed, is more intentional, for aesthetic purposes. What I mean by this is, to use dieting (periodical fasting) or starving to “benefit” your outward appearance/looks with ideas of perceived desirability. You may want to achieve a certain body type/weight, having the belief that it is the only way to be more attractive, and thus feeling better about the self. This is something I must add. As this is a program for women who have survived sexual abuse, we have more of a propensity to become preoccupied with our bodies, feeling/believing that is the substratum of our self worth (you can check out Seeing Yourself As A Three-Part Being). Your neglectful habit of food, most likely has it’s roots in some trauma/pain; resulting in a belief about yourself and your body, and creating this, and other behaviors and activities based on this belief.
Another reason why we neglect food, is depression (or being in a state of depression, and hopelessness). That is something that will be addresses and expanded on later in another aritcle.
Why is it so damaging to be deprived of food? The body relies on food for the necessary nutrients; minerals, vitamins, sugars and fats to keep it functioning, alive. Food is our fuel; not only for our physical selves, but for our mental and emotional selves as well. When we are under eating/neglecting the need for food, we become malnourished, which means the body has a deficit in nutrients. This then creates problems (depending how severe the case is) in the body effectiveness to repair, replenish, revitalize itself, which can turn into more serious problem of sicknesses, weakened immune system, dehydration, hypoglycemia, etc. Also like sleep, food maintains a more balanced mood, clarity/sharpness of mind (mental and emotional wellness).When we are lacking is certain nutrients, it lowers our ability to tolerate/deal with stressful circumstances; making clear decisions/choices (fogginess and confusion), thus creating more anxiety and stress. If under eating has become a habit, over a long period of time, it causes depression. To sabotage yourself of what body and mind so desperately needs, you then consequently experience health problems that could have been avoided, and forfeiting a chance of living a healthy happy life.
Neglecting food/under eating can be overcome in a few ways:
- Organize your day, and schedule the times of day to eat if you have to (if life is hectic). It can sound a little over the top and extreme, but it does work if you put forth the effort. Precook/prepare your meals for the week, keep snacks in your car, purse, night table— anywhere that is convenient and accessible.
- For those who do it for aesthetic reasons, it is important to ask yourselves some questions: Is it worth it to starve yourself, to have a body you so desperately need? Is it worth your health? To become sickly, or dead? If you really want to get down to it, a healthy body is a lot more attractive (no matter the shape or size) than a body that is sickly, and deprived; it looks unnatural, and disturbing. Human being for the most part are wired to find anything that exudes health, appealing. Beauty is health. If you find yourself unable to control your starving practices, then professional help is needed.
- If you are not that far gone, then force yourself to eat. There is no other way. You have to be willing to make the conscious effort to reverse your destructive habit, by doing just the opposite. After a while your body will get used to it, (just as it got used to being deprived), eventually you won’t have to think about it anymore.
I hope that helps you. If you are neglecting your need for food; of you are too busy, your bad habits will eventually put you in a position where you can no longer be in a hectic state, as your health will have declined. If you happen to do it for looks/appearance, it’s not worth the health risk, and also, you will not look any better than you do now (become malnourished), so take good care of yourself. If you cannot, seek professional help.
Check out the next article: How To Overcome: Physical Neglect Part 3