Embark on a Transformative Journey of Body, Mind, and Soul: Unraveling Eating Disorders and Body Image

Woman eating fries outside. Image: Pexels - Andrea Piacquadio

Our relationship with food and body is meant to be sacred, celebrated, enjoyed, and pleasurable yet eating disorders, unwanted eating behaviors and poor body image make up the most common mental health challenges of our times. In the past, we associated anorexia and bulimia as the only eating disorders, but now “disordered” eating can include chronic weight issues, body image challenges, overeating, compulsive eating, binge eating, stress eating, emotional eating, persistent food cravings, chronic dieting, body dysmorphia, and orthorexia.

Exploring our relationship with food and body is essential to our health and well-being. This is a journey that takes time, that gradually evolves, and has many dimensions and layers — physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Physically, our nutrients play a significant role in mood balance, cravings, and addictions. There may be macronutrient imbalances, such as a deficiency in protein and essential fats and an excess of carbohydrates fueling food cravings and poor eating habits which can perpetuate weight challenges, dieting, and further, poor body image. Another example of how nutrient deficiencies can impact our relationship with food is amino acid deficiencies. Amino acids are essential and produce our neurotransmitters (our feel-good hormones) and are most bioavailable in animal protein. If we are missing out on these due to lack of consumption or absorption that can affect our moods and cravings in a significant way.

Micronutrient imbalances such as zinc, iron, and Vitamin B6 can prevent the conversion of amino acids into neurotransmitters, such as tryptophan into serotonin. If we don’t produce enough feel-good hormones, we seek out food to bring pleasure, joy, contentment, reduce stress, comfort, and relieve pain. Zinc deficiency has been associated with distorted thoughts and a lack of desire for protein further depleting nutrients and potentially contributing to anorexia and body dysmorphia.

Eating breakfast plate with eggs toast and avocado

Doing a thorough nutritional analysis and ensuring the body is receiving optimum nutrition is often the first step to exploring when it comes to healing our relationship with food and body.

On the emotional level, oftentimes, our eating challenges and how we feel about our bodies are connected to work, money, relationships, family, intimacy, life stress, and more. Our response to our lives is often reflected in how we eat and what we choose to eat. We seek out food to make us feel better about the parts of our lives that aren’t feeling good. The challenge with that is the food only offers a temporary fix and then we often turn to feelings of shame and guilt for stress eating, binging, purging, overeating, “cheating” and feeling we have failed and that we have no willpower. This adds to the emotional rollercoaster and further stresses our relationship with food, body, and how we feel about ourselves.

Doing the work to resolve the stresses and conflicts that make us turn to food in the first place is essential to healing our relationship with food and body. By working on the places that are most relevant to you, success is more easily achieved.

On the soul level, a disconnect to our life’s purpose, our mission, and calling and not living in alignment with our highest values, and not living authentically can also perpetuate unwanted eating behaviors, weight, and body image challenges. It is common to see people turn to food to fill a void. When we don’t do what we love to do, we can use food for fulfillment, joy, pleasure, and fun. When we spend hours a day doing a job that feels mundane and uninspiring we can binge, stress eat and emotionally eat. Some may even motivationally eat where food is used to give them the motivation to get something done that they don’t really want to do.

Girl eating emotionally a pint of ice cream

When we don’t live in our truth and speak our truth, we can numb and stuff with food. Our unwanted eating behaviors, food compulsions, cravings, chronic dieting, and even obsessive thoughts about our body, can often be linked to an unfulfilled soul. When we do not feel the sweetness in life, we seek out the sweetness, comfort, relief, and pleasure in food.

Oftentimes healing our relationship with food requires us to come face to face with ourselves and ask the difficult questions. Each unwanted eating moment, obsessive thought, or hate on our body, is an opportunity for deeper exploration. 

These moments are really the body’s wisdom calling out to get in touch with your soul’s truth. It is not easy work but it is important work, especially if you desire to have a beautiful relationship with food and a loving relationship with yourself.

There is no quick fix when it comes to healing our relationship with food, body, and self. The work is deep, and the journey can be long, but the outcome can be transformational. It is certainly not an easy path, but food and body struggle are not either. There is hope! Nourishing hope! There are practitioners, like myself, that do this thorough work. If you would love to transform your relationship with food, body, and self, I invite you on a journey of exploration and growth. As a Nutritional Therapist and Certified Eating Psychology Coach, with 20 years of clinical experience, my work combines the powerful new fields of Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind-Body Nutrition. A combination of practical coaching techniques, results-oriented psychology, clinical nutrition, body-centered practices, mind-body science, and a positive and compassionate approach to challenges with food and health. It would be my pleasure to work with you.

Amy Bondar is a leading Nutrition expert and Certified Eating Psychology Coach who is passionate about helping her clients achieve maximum health and vitality through personalized nutrition and lifestyle coaching.

Amy Bondar’s comprehensive skill-set, two decades of experience and compassionate approach have allowed hundreds of people to achieve the vitality we all desire, and deserve.

The days of generic meal plans, fad diets, yo-yo dieting and simple advice about calories and carbs are long gone. When you work with Amy you will have strategies and learn nutrition principles that are nourishing, doable, sustainable, personalized and that yield results.

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