Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Anatomy of an Eating Disorder

For 2015 I've decided to dedicate my blog on to address the "anatomy of eating disorders", and the tangents that connect to any type of disorderly eating. These can be addiction related, cognitive, and disease-related.

Unfortunately, most of us walk this dangerous path. While we may not have blown-out eating disorders, my clinical experience, as well as my observations throughout the years have made this clear. You just have to open your eyes and look at the number of people who are over-weight, obese, even thin, but eating in unhealthy ways. The diet industry makes this worse.

This is a very personal issue for me. I've been a disorderly and compulsive/emotional eater for my entire life....well, at least from the age of three. Yes, I do know the "ins and outs" of the entire spectrum. You might say I'm a personal expert at this.

The seriousness of my eating disorder was a gift. It brought me straight into the I mentioned earlier, I was knocking at the door of adult onset diabetes, but that was not all. The anxiety and panic from food stress was making me a prisoner of my life. As a knowledgeable medical professional I did know that something was very wrong with me, but I didn't know exactly what that was and no physician properly diagnosed me, nor "asked the right questions."


When it became clear to me that I was "on my own" with all of my symptoms, I decided to consider myself "my own patient." I was always good at getting to the bottom of things when it had to do with my patients and their care plans, so now I had to do this for myself.

When a problem is multi-faceted like most nursing diagnoses, the nurse makes a care plan for all areas. This means asking lots of questions and doing thorough research on the presenting symptoms. I decided to begin my work with a journal and some meditative techniques. I needed a place to go to "center." Remember, my cognition or mind was as sick as my eating issues, so the beginning was rocky. I had to call on my "Therapeutic" Self to lead the charge and begin the discipline of my very undisciplined child-self.

Getting to know oneself deeply is both interesting and frightening. I kept thinking of the movie "The Exorcist." Coming face to face with this part of myself was perhaps the most difficult challenge. It's important to understand that an eating disorder is not only about the food. It has many tangents, it's own history and anatomy. There is a part, however, that is about the food, but often not in the way one thinks. There are genetic factors to be considered, as well as the damage already present from the over-production of insulin and what is called insulin resistance. There is the amount of fat that has been stored, as well as the small lean body mass that has been slowly destroyed over the years. All of these tangents need exploration, then discipline and motivation of that "undisciplined child-self."

The level of the task depends on the history of the patient, in this case myself, and how strongly the negative habits have been engraved into the subconscious mind. My background is in Oncology and Medical Hypnotherapy. I decided to treat myself "as if" I was a seriously ill patient, which I was. The Therapeutic part of me had to stay grounded, ready to explore and study the dark recesses of the "anatomy of my eating disorder." The journey was going to be both arduous and exciting.

 I wish I could say that the undisciplined part of me was going to fall into line easily, but that was not to be the case. I was about to become my most difficult patient EVER. MOTIVATION... Besides exploring the anatomy, I had to design motivation right from the beginning. No one moves into change without some sort of motivation.

There are two sides of the "motivation coin." There is positive motivation meaning that one goes towards what one wants. This is where "desire" comes into play. Then there is negative motivation, mainly based on FEAR.

I remember clearly my very first day of walking onto my new path. My undisciplined child-self was walking along side of me, not keen on any of this. She had been watching me closely, realizing that something was going to happen and she didn't want any part of it. I could sense the resistance in my body and my thoughts were bouncing off the walls of my mind. Many I call the "yes-no" thoughts. Yes, I should do this, and no I should not do this. You are probably familiar with this way of thinking. It's connected to what we know as "procrastination." This is the Therapeutic Self arguing with the Undisciplined Self.

Recognizing this, I used a technique I taught my oncology patients over the years. It is part meditative, part imaginology or visualization. I describe this in depth in my books and on my mp3 programs. We ask the subconscious mind to "wake" us to the thought, and then we detach from it. This is a release tool that works well for thoughts as well as emotions and body sensations.

The best programs I have for this can be found on my websites. One program is called Becoming Aware and the other is Mental Biofeedback. The program for Thought Management also works well. It's imperative to release or re-edit thoughts that are negative-habitual, especially those that have been hanging out in the subconscious mind for decades.

The Anatomy of the Eating Disorder helps to recognize where these originated. My early positive motivator was asking my Undisciplined Child-Self what it would not like to feel. The answer written in my journal was twofold. "I would like to be free of being tired and anxious." all I had to do was focus on a body/mind that was free of those. This is another hypnotic tool called "Interactive Self-Hypnosis."

My negative-motivation was a spin-off of the positive-motivation. I "suggested" that not following the plan I was putting in place would cause an "increase in fatigue and anxiety." Now, we were ready to implement the plan of change. Remember, we had to uncover the tangents, care for the Anatomy and the Physiology of the damaged body and also the mind programs. If you are new to my work, my mp3 Sessions are on my websites. . You can also find my ebooks on  The ebooks for disorderly eating are in four parts. If you have questions, please let me know.

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