Starting college, transferring to a different school, or returning after summer break are all significant transitions. Attending college can be an exciting time, and like any transition, it can also bring uncertainty, stress, and even emotional overwhelm.
As a therapist who works with clients struggling with their relationship with food, I am often asked “what contributes to disordered eating?” or “What causes an eating disorder?” There are lots of reasons -emotional, societal, psychological- that food and eating patterns may become stressful and even problematic. One thing we see over and over again, is that any type of transition makes a person more susceptible to developing an unhealthy relationship with food. Food can become a way of coping with emotions or filling a void. When a person’s food choices are influenced by emotions or self-esteem, their relationship with food and eating can lead them to feel stuck and confused. This type of experience can also lead to anxiety, stress, and can be a precursor to an eating disorder.
Not sure if you might be struggling with an unhealthy relationship with food? Here are some things to note:
- Feeling lonely(which is a common thing when in a new environment)? Loneliness can make you more susceptible to feeling connection through food or restricting food
- Finding yourself overly concerned that you are eating “clean foods” or healthy foods?
- Labeling certain foods as ‘good or bad’ foods?
- Feeling shame or guilt around food (while eating or , after eating?
- Focusing on “self-control” instead of self-care when it comes to your eating?
- Increasingly eating alone or only eating the same foods?
- You have “cheat days” or thoughts that what you eat will make or break you entire day
- View meals and eating as only calories, and then use behaviors to “burn off” these calories
- Notice decreased flexibility around your meals or food (when you eat, what you eat, who or who doesn’t eat with you, etc.)
If any of the above statements sound familiar, know that you are not alone. Unfortunately many people, of all ages, struggle with their relationship with food. If you’re not sure how to make sense of what you are experiencing or how to move forward, call or text 720.675.7123 and our intake coordinator will be happy to help you. You may also fill out a contact form and we will be in touch with you using your preferred method.
Eating Disorder Foundation (Denver, CO) https://eatingdisorderfoundation.org/
National Eating Disorder Association https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn
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