how can i stop feeling bad about eating?

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tanyapotter
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it's nothing major, before you all just tell me to get medical help and nothing less. it's just that i concentrate and obsess about what i'm eating a little more than the average person.

for instance, my friends can quite easily finish a whole pack of m&ms without thinking twice while i'm there trying to calculate the exact number of calories in one piece and planning 5 minutes later in the day to burn it off. it doesn't lead me to depression or self harm at all, but it does take a lot of time out of my day - time that could be better spent studying for my a-levels, or reading a good book, or talking to my friends, etc.

i just don't think there's any point of seeking professional help because it's literally me being really fussy, as all. people with actual clinical depression and eating disorders are much more deserving and needing of excellent guidance and counselling. i don't really want to have to put my family through the deal of getting help for me and i don't want it to waste more of my time than the actual obsession already is, if that makes sense.

are there small things i can mentally tell myself while i'm eating to feel less guilty? how would you recommend focusing less on calories and more on what a good, precious life i have? i'm 16 and frankly i don't want to waste anymore of my life worrying about these things. as a teenager, i just want to work hard for my a-levels and be happy. this is literally the stupidest thing i could be worried about, yet it's very real and i do need constructive advice.


tldr: what can i tell myself before/after eating which will make me feel less guilty about it? how do i stop obsessing over calories?
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Interrobang
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lightbulbflash
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I felt exactly like you when I was 16! I used to just sort of tell myself that life is too short to worry about tiny things like that. Think of it as a bigger picture - will it really matter next week if you ate too many m&m's? You can spend your time thinking about better and more useful things like your studies or dreams etc. You are also wasting a lot of time thinking about it when you can focus on something else. Sorry if this is a bit brutal, but it's what I used to say to myself. If you have a bad day with eating, try and forget about it. It won't matter next year or whenever. The sun will come out tomorrow.
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Riku
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I'm glad you made this thread. I'm sorry I was so harsh and forward in the last one, but acceptance is the first step.

I'm not going to spoiler this as you are accepting of the fact that this may be unhealthy and don't admit to depression or SH.

It's good that you've recognised that you are slightly obsessing-you are showing disordered thoughts even in this post! You could perhaps be focussing on other things which, at the end of the day, will matter to you more in a few years time. Some of your comments on the other were more than a little worrying-you obviously have an intense fear of weight gain (fat gain) for example-this is very classic sign of disordered eater at risk. The reason for this fear, I gather, is that you tie your recent weight loss to a new sense of confidence and self respect. This is good…to a point.

I congratulate you on being healthy and active, and reaching your personal goal weight, don't get me wrong, a healthy lifestyle is great for mind and body alike! But (from my own personal experience) you need to recognise that there comes a point where you have too much of a good thing-super healthy dieting and hitting the gym religiously, is not healthy. In your case, at the calorie limit you mentioned, it's plain not physically healthy. Even if you were eating more…if it were only ever healthy stuff, it wouldn't be psychologically healthy. You recognise yourself that your thought processes aren't really a sign of someone at peace with themselves and their body. Did you know that stressing and obsessing about whether or not to eat a slice of cake can actually lead to worse health problems than if you had eaten it?

You are admittedly at the age where many women develop eating disorders or significant body image issues as you want to begin making the transition from child to adult…which means thoughts about dating, guys/girls, sex etc. right? And unfortunately looking good is the first thing to jump to when the media seems to demand it of you and you are (forgive me for saying) generally too young to have developed an authentic sense of self that creates independent confidence. But you don't have to do what the media tells you to be happy and feel sexy. You don't have to have a boyfriend or girlfriend to feel that way either! Confidence is, first and foremost, a state of mind.

So, how do we go about not just wanting to be thin…don't put all your eggs in one basket! You could be smart, funny, interesting, quirky, kind, and you'll have plenty of other talents that make you you-use them! And tbh, there will be lots of size 8 girls, you wouldn't be unique. Which is not to put down slim girls at all-simply that, you will one day be recognised for who you are, not just your body type. And I mean not just considered attractive to your favoured sex but respected as your own person by your family, your friends, in your career, and society as a whole.

Finally, if you have perfectionist tendencies as you describe, then you may want to know now-obsessions over controlling what we eat and our weight are typically used as a means of control for other areas in our life which we feel we have no control over. This could be personal trauma (such as in my case, my parent's divorce) or the insecurities and worries that come naturally as a teenager-dating, studies, family, the future, making friends. I'm going to tell you now that you will be much more at peace with yourself if you find the courage to figure out that you are really worrying about and learning how to change, or accept that.

I hope this helps a little, and remember the ED Support thread I referred you to. I am in recovery from my insecurities (including body image and nutrition obsession) and some of them will be able to help you more

P.S. feminism has a lot of literature on the damage caused to young women by the media's pressure to look a certain way, more extensively the male gaze, and tips on body acceptance.

:hugs:
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