Eating disorders are complex in that a myriad of issues can trigger them. It isn’t as if it is just one struggle. It is biopsychosocial, meaning, one’s biology, psychological state, and social environment can create the perfect recipe for an eating disorder.
While there are many characteristics, one ED theme seems to be the thought of never having (or being) enough, and always striving for more. Maybe there’s not enough love, or you feel you aren’t enough. In any case, it can drive one (us) to constantly seek perfection through achievements or become people-pleasers—trying to overcompensate for our innate defects as human beings. If we can have enough or be enough, then we are okay. The problem is that we are left always wanting more. If our want is unfilled, then we are back to feeling not enough.
For many with eating disorders, this translates into our relationship with food and our bodies. We try to get to the perfect weight, the perfect pant size. Even if we know we aren’t fat, we’d still like to be a little smaller; just to feel more comfortable. Some of us push away food, while many of us crave more, long after we’ve met our daily caloric intake.
What I have learned throughout the years, is that I may always want more… of everything. What I try to practice daily, and imperfectly, is sitting with the uncomfortable feeling of wanting more and not acting on it with a late-night snack. I’m not always successful, but I get more successful as the years go by. I still can comfort myself with food from time to time; my abstinence will never be that black-and-white perfection. But, I stick to my bottom lines. For me, that is what “normal” eating is. Some days you may not eat quite enough, some days a little too much. And other days, just the perfect amount. I will probably always strive for perfection, but that doesn’t mean I have to be perfect.