The root cause of disordered eating


Disordered eating: it’s one of the most common issues women struggle with, and many suffer in silence.

So today I want to share a passage from Marianne Williamson’s excellent 2010 book A Course in Weight Loss which I think really gets to the heart of the issue.

It’s the opening section of the lesson in the book entitled “Exit the alone zone”.

Although this obviously applies to those who are overweight, I believe it speaks to the core issue behind disordered eating in all its forms – including, at the opposite end of the weight spectrum, anorexia.  From the book:

“Overeating is a not a food issue, but a relationship issue. Your weight has been, on some level, a statement of your unavailability. Feeling separate from others, you built a wall; then, having built a wall, you felt more separate from others.

At times you might say an unreasonable “No” to opportunities for human connection; at other times, an overly enthusiastic or needy “Yes” separates you just as much as a “No” would.

You’ve been thrown off track inwardly and outwardly. You must address the issue of your unavailability or you will not stay on track even if you do get your weight down.

The energetic wall that surrounds you is not visible to the physical eye. It consists of behavioural patterns of which you are probably well aware.

There is no point in even trying to lose weight until you have come to the place in your life where you actually want to be closer to people. Until that happens, the subconscious urge to build a wall will override any diet you try.

Something and/or someone led you to build that wall to begin with.

And according to your subconscious mind, you still need protection from that person or event.”

She goes on to describe this primal impulse for self-protection as:

“not a dysfunction but the genius of the biological system. The point is that in you, the system was short-circuited and needs to be reset. You are protecting yourself against things that would not hurt you, and failing to protect yourself from things that could.

Your compulsion is housed in a frozen place you could call your ‘alone zone'”.

If you’re dealing with disordered eating, this is a book I highly recommend.


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