The Question: You mention in your book that your approach isn’t suitable for people with eating disorders. In my early teens I had a period of time with anorexia, and later on, bulimia. Those tendencies never quite went away, and I have had spells of bingeing and purging, fasting or excessive exercise. I still do this occasionally, although I now value my health far more to ever engage in serious anorexic or bulimic behaviour. Do you think your programme would still be suited to me? Treatment on the National Health Service is very limited, and cost would be a big issue for me to go private.
My Answer: What I wanted to communicate in my book is that I’m not pretending to be a psychotherapist, and I’m sure there are people in that ‘eating disorder’ category who need far more assistance than I can provide. It doesn’t sound to me that this describes you, and if you’ve read my book and find it may be helpful, that’s fine with me.
I’ve had many people attend my seminars who describe themselves as in recovery from more serious disorders, and I know that my work can be an important part of their journey. I’ve also had clients who had been actively bulimic at the time they did my seminar. They told me afterwards that they didn’t binge after doing the seminar, and so they also stopped the bulimia.
The core issue with all unhappy relationships with food is the very real fear of being out of control – eating in a way that is later regretted – and various ‘disorders’ represent different ways of responding to this. Anorexia tries abstinence as the solution, while bulimia could be thought of as an attempt to hide the evidence (which is weight gain). Others resign themselves to their loss of control, at least for periods of time, and thus gain weight. My work directly addresses that control issue (imperfectly of course!) and that’s why it has at least some relevance to anyone who struggles in these ways.