Food is for Fuel, not Pain

Food is for Fuel, not Pain

(Cambridge Counselors, Therapists and Life Coaches)

I don't stop eating when I'm full. The meal isn't over when I'm full. It's over when I hate myself." - Louis CK, comedian, writer, actor, director

Food energizes us. It also says a lot about our varying cultures, provides pleasure and gives us opportunities to share experiences with the ones we love the most - or those we're just getting to know. As the cliché goes, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, and food is most definitely not an exception.

Food should be a source of energy, a way for us to introduce nutrients into our system that help improve our physical and mental performance. When the relationship becomes unhealthy, however, as an addiction or a tool for self-abuse, our wellbeing and even our very lives are put in jeopardy.

Even more than having an eating disorder, what's most heartbreaking is the statistic that out of the nearly 24 million people who carry this burden, only 10 percent seek treatment.

A portrait:

Hard work has always been a staple of David's upbringing, and his grades and athletic ability show it. His competitive spirit, however, began taking a toll on his life when he decided to take questionable measures to rank in lower weight classes at his high school wrestling meets. At first, it was running with clear wrap under his sweats, and then he began vomiting after meals. It didn't take long for his attempts at gaining a competitive edge to start harming his performance, in the classroom, on the mat and in his personal relationships.

Eating Disorders: Types and definitions

There are three major types of eating disorders - bulimia, anorexia nervosa and binge eating - each with it's own particular symptoms and complications.


Bulimia, as portrayed in the fictional portrait above, is when someone eats in excess and then, feeling remorse from overeating, attempts to offset potential weight gain by forcing him or herself to vomit and/or through excessive exercise (also called "binging and purging").

Signs and symptoms of bulimia include:
  1. Periods of overeating
  2. Infertility
  3. Chronic gastric reflux
  4. Constipation
  5. Constant fluctuations in weight
  6. Obsessive attention to external appearance
  7. Fixation with caloric intake
  8. Eating until the point of feeling sick
  9. Dental erosion from vomiting
  10. Feelings of shame and guilt
  11. Poor self esteem and depression

With bulimia, you seek fulfillment and sensation from eating too much, and try to compensate by taking extreme measures that only leaving you feel worse. Health complications ensue, and you try to counteract them by eating too much once again.

Your life doesn't have to be like this. You can live differently. You can pub bulimia behind you, just has many others have done with the help of a skilled counselor. Thrive Boston Eating Disorder therapists are here to help.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Food can bring instant gratification and immense feelings of enjoyment. We even call our unhealthy snacking habits "comfort food." Comfort food quickly becomes uncomfortable, however, once that oversized fast food meal or "thrifty" buffet meal hits your stomach and turns into shame. You may have problems outside of your eating disorder that might prompt you to reach for a hefty portion of late night snacks after already eating a big dinner, but your "fix" is really only making you feel less confident more prone to self-abuse.

This is called binge eating disorder (BED), eating more food than people would normally eat in a similar short period of time under the same circumstances. It is not unheard of for someone in a binge consuming more than 15,000 calories in a single sitting.

BED's symptoms are similar to those of bulimia, with the main difference being the absence of extreme exercise and purging.

Symptoms of binge eating disorder include:
  1. Eating alone
  2. Eating to combat depression or boredom
  3. Feeling nauseated of physically uncomfortable after eating
  4. Excessive worry over eating habits
  5. Over eating at least twice a week for several months
  6. Stashing food for secret snacking
  7. Guilt after eating too much
  8. Eating food as a means to relieve stress

Anorexia Nervosa

Someone suffering from anorexia nervosa will take harmful measures in order to achieve an unrealistic, unhealthy body type. For many people going through anorexia, this means eating next to nothing or absolutely nothing for extended periods of time, sometimes pairing the starvation rations with obsessive exercise. Anorexia is serious: If left untreated, it could become fatal.

Anorexia nervosa's effects on your health - both mental and physical - are no lighthearted matter. No matter how badly you want to have a certain figure, it's never worth harming yourself to get there.

Characteristic signs and symptoms of anorexia include:
  1. Unhealthy obsession with body image and calories and fat content in food
  2. Crippling fear of weight gain
  3. Dramatic loss of weight
  4. Compulsive exercising
  5. Halitosis (bad breath)
  6. Swollen joints
  7. False perception of physical appearance
  8. Depression
  9. Chronic lethargy
  10. Mood swings
  11. For women, an absence of menses
  12. Heart disease
  13. Seizures

Enjoy All the Flavors Life has to Offer

Food is important, but it shouldn't take control of your life. In order to seek relief from your eating disorder, it is important that you first recognize at least the possibility that you have a problem, that your relationship with food is harming your health, not invigorating it.

Learning how to respect yourself and to put food in its proper place will help you to live a balanced, fulfilling life - a life defined by joy, not shame and pain.

The professionals at Thrive Boston Eating Disorder Therapy are the best in the field. Many of our counselors have appeared in trusted news outlets such as Mashable, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Prevention, CNN and more, and they accept most major insurance providers.

And unlike other Boston-area practices that operate on a waiting list and don't answer the phone when you call, our scheduling specialists are ready to take your call and help you find an appointment within the week, if not within 24 hours of your call to us.

Because what matters to us most at Thrive Boston is our belief that anyone can live a meaningful, happy life, that everyone is capable of thriving in life, and it starts NOW.

Help is available for your struggles. You don't have to face them alone. You don't have to put your dreams on the back burner. You can thrive. We can help.