Does Food and your weight Dominate your life?
Does your mood fluctuate seemingly without reason? Do you often feel depressed or anxious?
these are often symptoms of the effect of undereating or over eating.

Eating Disorders are driven by an intense fear of becoming fat. To avoid becoming fat people want to get rid of calories and adopt harmful ways of doing this.
Eating Disorders develop as a coping mechanism and can be triggered by life events or changes, physical illness in particular glandular fever , upsetting events such as a death or a loss such as divorce or a relationship break up, being sent to boarding school at a young age, sexual abuse can all contribute to developing unhealthy coping mechanisms to survive that time. I provide therapy to help to address these problems and teach you how to manage your feelings and stress more effectively so that you don’t need to use food for comfort.
Who gets eating disorders?
Eating Disorders are more common amongst girls and women but are becoming more common in boys and men. Anorexia can start in childhood whereby Bulimia is more likely to start during teenage years ( sometimes as a progression of anorexia) . One in every 150 - 15 year old girls are affected by an eating disorder compared to One in every 1000 - 15 year old boys.
Anorexic Nervosa: signs to look out for:
• Do you worry more and more about your weight?
• Do you eat less and less?
• Do you burn off calories by exercising more and more?
• Are you able to stop losing weight?
• Do you chew gum or smoke to avoid eating?
• Eat non food items to fill your stomach?
• Have you lost interest in sex?
• Anorexia in women -Has your monthly menstruation stopped or become irregular?
• Anorexia in men - erections and wet dreams stop - testicles shrink

As well as weight loss anorexia can have severe health consequences including early onset of osteoporosis, atrophy and reduced blood supply to the brain, severe effects to the heart and kidneys in particular as starvation can trigger a cannibalisation of muscle tissue. Anorexia can cause a threat to fertility due to the shrinking of ovaries in women and testicles in men. Depression is inevitable as the brain is starved from essential nutrients.

Bulimia Nervosa: signs to look for:
Do you worry more and more about your weight?
• Binge Eat
• Make yourself vomit and/or use laxatives to get rid of calories
• Feel guilty
• Feel tired
• Stay a normal weight despite attempts to diet
• Monthly menstruation becomes irregular
Ironically Vomiting and laxative abuse may increase fat as purging will result in the loss of potassium in cells. Sugar is absorbed rapidly and are therefore not expelled when vomiting occurs. When vomiting occurs the muscle cells of your body releases potassium into your blood stream . The cells will then contain low levels of potassium and cannot burn the entry from the food you eat, the energy will then be stored as fat. The most important aspect of Bulimia recovery is to stop Vomiting or Purging. Vomiting is an easy option to turn to when you have overeaten or feel too full. However over eating on occasions is normal - vomiting or purging is not. Learning to delay vomiting in small increments may help you to start addressing the problem. Try some relaxation techniques to help you through. (See the page on Stress and Anxiety).
Binge Eating Disorder
: signs to look out for:
• Do you continuously diet and Binge Eat
• Distress due to weight gain.
• Eat secretly and eat quickly
• Feels out of control and unable to stop eating during binges
• Feels guilty and ashamed of being eating
• Has a history of failing at diets
Useful Hints
Try eating more protein which will help against the urge to binge. Include carbohydrates in particular earlier in the day to boost serotonin levels which will enhance your mood for the better. It is also really important to eat breakfast - to start your energy level for the day. A simple analogy is - if you want the car to start in the morning - it will need fuel - so do you!
Try mindful eating to slow down your eating. Start experiencing the texture aroma and taste of your food. Chew it well. Serve it on your best plates and eat it at the table. These are all ways of beginning to manage your food.

The above information may help you to recognise whether you have a problem with food or an eating disorder, it may give you some guidance that will help however it is recommended that you engage in therapy to help you manage aspects such as getting in touch with feelings that have been tucked away for years.
I provide therapy to manage eating disorders, after your initial assessment we will track your eating disorder history and identify what triggered the behaviour. To start managing eating disorders clients are asked to fill in a weekly food diary to record all the food they eat and to record any thoughts feelings or purging behaviours. I will also ask you to eat regularly and to make small changes to start find healthier ways to eat. However Eating Disorders are a symptom of how people manage their feelings, anxiety or distress.

At times an Eating Disorder can mask real emotions which can be suppressed by focussing on eating or obsessing about food which helps to cover up the feelings.

Therapy may initially make you feel worse - whilst you start getting in touch with those hidden feelings and don’t have food for comfort. This is a normal part of recovery as we all have feelings but we have not learnt to manage them if we have used substances such as food alcohol or drugs to mask and detach ourselves from them. Therapy can help you to start looking after yourself and start taking care of yourself. Learn about food and nutrition, nutritiously dense food contain vitamins and minerals that the body needs to help you feel balanced physically and emotionally. Eating nutritiously helps us to feel well, has a healing affect on both stress, anxiety and depression.

Pasted Graphic

Learn about the different types of hunger that make us want to eat more than we need to. Learn to recognise when you are full and start to choose the best food for you. Eating Disorder sufferers should not enter into dieting, this only triggers old unhealthy behaviour and yo yo dieting tends to interfere with your natural metabolic functioning. Dieting clubs and books often promote eliminating or reducing food groups that are essential for you to live healthily. Eliminating carbohydrates and fat can trigger depression, irritability and anger outbursts.

Some diet clubs use public weigh-ins which can be embarrassing and humiliating. These methods are not part of the treatment - instead I will discourage you from weighing yourself. If you are bulimic or have a binge eating disorder I trust you will know when you are losing weight - as your clothes will feel bigger and you will start to feel better . If you have anorexia or undereat, you will start to gain weight when you start to eat appropriately. Together we will devise a food plan together as eating a nutritious balanced diet will help address cravings and hunger and rebalance your emotional health.
If you are bulimic or have a binge eating disorder consider how much exercise you take? Exercising doesn’t mean you have to spend hours at the gym. Start using the stairs or get off the tube or bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way. Dancing, golfing or a walk in the park to splash in the puddles all contribute to getting fitter.

Pasted Graphic 2