Offering in-person therapy in Westchester or online sessions for all New York residents.

Offering in-person therapy in Westchester or online sessions for all New York residents.

Eating disorders and self-acceptance

Embracing self-acceptance is key to overcoming eating disorders. Discover a healthier relationship with food through the principles of self-love, intuitive eating, and a focus on overall well-being.

Key points

Quick navigation

Overview

Eating disorders are a complicated mental health issue that requires comprehensive care beyond mere weight management. Recovery involves embracing self-acceptance and adopting healthier eating practices for lasting wellness.

A carefully balanced stack of smooth stones on a pebble beach, with the sun setting over the horizon in the background, embodying the balance and harmony Dr. Mijin Kim promotes in her therapeutic practice.

Symptoms of eating disorders


It’s a common misconception that eating disorders only impact those who appear very thin or obese. In reality, individuals of any body size, including those with a “normal” appearance, can experience eating disorders.

Signs of these disorders vary widely including:

  • Being overly concerned or preoccupied with calorie intake, food, weight loss, or exercise
  • Gaining or losing a noticeable amount of weight quite quickly
  • A fixation on dieting and/or exercise
  • Avoiding eating with other people
  • Skipping meals and making excuses to avoid eating
  • Hoarding food
  • Always going to the bathroom immediately after eating
  • Dental issues caused by frequent vomiting
  • Mood swings (depression and anxiety) related to food and body image
  • Feeling weak, dizzy, or fainting
  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake

Diagnosis

Identifying and addressing eating disorders early on is essential. If you or someone you know might be affected, consulting a healthcare professional is crucial for diagnosis and treatment. Prompt intervention enhances the chance of complete recovery. Even if certain eating habits don’t qualify for a clinical diagnosis, it’s important to seek help for any behaviors that could harm your health.

Healing from an eating disorder starts with learning to accept your body

Overcoming an eating disorder involves coming to peace with your relationship with food, and focusing on a non-dietary approach. This means tuning into your body’s natural signals of hunger and satisfaction, instead of limiting food or fixating on weight loss. Reject negative societal views on beauty, embracing and valuing your body’s size and the incredible functions it performs. This path leads to self-appreciation and fosters a healthier interaction with food.

Learning to eat healthily

Focusing on health rather than weight is essential for cultivating healthy eating habits. Often, efforts to aid those with eating disorders through dieting or calorie tracking are counterproductive, at times exacerbating the issue rather than making it better.

Shifting the focus to one’s health and overall well-being rather than weight is significantly more beneficial. Individuals at a normal or even higher weight can be healthier and more content than those constantly dieting or counting calories. Recovery hinges on prioritizing health, respecting your body, and valuing the nourishment from healthy food choices over weight or calorie concerns.

Key principles for sustained recovery from eating disorders

When struggling with an eating disorder, it might be an attempt to control emotions like insecurity or self-dissatisfaction using food. The journey to recovery begins with self-acceptance and love, irrespective of your current weight.

Achieving harmony with your body is essential for overcoming an eating disorder. This includes embracing Intuitive Eating, which involves recognizing hunger signals, choosing nourishing foods, eating until satisfied, and stopping when full.

Cultivating a connection with your body, understanding hunger cues, and selecting nutritious foods can naturally lead to healthier lifestyle practices. This process aids in healing your food relationship, guiding you towards a suitable body size for you. As a result, you move away from obsessing over food towards feeling energetic, healthy, and strong, freeing you to enjoy your life more fully.

Related information

Health at Every Size. National Geographic. https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/health-every-size/

Linardon, J. (2021). Positive body image, intuitive eating, and self-compassion protect against the onset of the core symptoms of eating disorders: A prospective study. The International journal of eating disorders.

Yu, J., Song, P., Zhang, Y., & Wei, Z. (2020). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Intervention on the Treatment of Problematic Eating Behaviors: A Systematic Review. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine.

Ahorsu, D., Lin, C., Imani, V., Griffiths, M., Su, J., Latner, J., Marshall, R., & Pakpour, A. (2020). A prospective study on the link between weight-related self-stigma and binge eating: Role of food addiction and psychological distress. The International journal of eating disorders.