Reality Isn’t What You Thought: The Functions of ED

“If important women in our lives seem to deny their physical and spiritual hungers, it is difficult to believe we should eat.” – The Body Myth, M. Maine and J. Kelly

The functions of dieting and disordered eating serve more purposes than one can imagine. There are many high’s and low’s to ED. For many, it is self-soothing and creates an important identity – a sort of super-human quality which feels unique.

These are some of the types of functions eating disorders serve in one’s life: 

  • Helps cope with negative and/or difficult thoughts and feelings
  • Relieves or manages stress
  • Protects one’s self-esteem

  • Controls weight
  • Suppresses traumatic memories
  • Helps one feel in control
  • Gives comfort
  • Helps one receive attention from family members and/or friends
  • Gives time for oneself
  • Helps deal with anger by channeling emotion inward
  • Allows one to procrastinate on overwhelming tasks
  • Feels familiar like a companion, habit
  •  Helps one strive for perfectionism
  • Acts as an excuse for failed expectations
  • Gives one discipline or punishment
  • Gives momentary freedom
  • Numbs emotions
  • Buffers relationships
  • Helps one fit the “ideal” of society
  • Gives a sense of accomplishment

Reality is probably different than you thought.

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