The Importance of Being in the Present Moment
A recent article by the always-excellent Eating Disorder Hope talked a bit about mindfulness in eating disorder recovery and, in doing so, echoed some of the things we’ve said in past blogs. The piece quotes Kristen Neff, author and associate professor in the Educational Psychology department at the University of Texas in Austin, and discusses the importance of being in the present moment. As Neff states, “conscious awareness only exists in the here-and-now…this insight allows us to see that thoughts about the past and the future are just that: thoughts. The past doesn’t exist except in our memories, and the future doesn’t exist except in our imagination.”
Trauma, Anxiety, and Depression
This idea is at the very center of mindfulness. When we live in the past, we’re prone to depression. And when we’re living in the future, we’re prone to anxiety. Both of these are common mindsets and symptoms of eating disorders. Furthermore, as the article says, “[f] or many, eating disorder beliefs and behaviors arise from past painful experiences such as unresolved trauma from abuse, neglect, loss, tragic life events, or bullying”. This is where the power of mindfulness in eating disorder recovery comes into play. Learning to live mindfully in the present helps us divorce ourselves emotionally from the experiences. Obviously, we don’t forget that they happened. But we don’t let them rule our thoughts and feelings anymore, either. Once we get this kind of separation, we find that we’re able to live much more freely.
Learning to Eat Intuitively
The article also talks about engaging in the present moment as it pertains to eating. It mentions have an awareness of the body in the present moment and tapping into hunger and fullness cues. These are concepts of intuitive eating, another topic we’ve discussed in the past. Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole coined the term in their 1995 book, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works, but the idea has been around since the early 70s. A main feature of the method is the rejection of diet culture. It also involves learning to distinguish between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Dieting, with its basis in future goals, and emotional eating, with its reactions to stimuli that lie beyond true hunger, are good examples of how not to eat mindfully. Intuitive eating brings the process back into the now and is a core concept of our nutritional counseling services.
Real Courage Means Asking for Help
Mindfulness in eating disorder recovery is just one of the tools we teach in our program. We also offer individual counseling, group therapy sessions, nutrition education, and more. Since 2002, we have helped hundreds of clients recover from their eating disorders at our facilities in Newport Beach, California. If you or someone you love is suffering from eating disorders, please give Ocean Recovery a call today. Real courage means asking for help. Ocean Recovery is ready to answer.