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Eating Disorders If you or someone close to you is struggling with an eating disorder, reach out here to ask questions or to receive support for recovery.

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Kinda don't know what's going on - August 30th 2017, 10:25 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering by the original poster or by a Moderator. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

So I haven't been around in a while . . . Hi all

Throughout most of this year I've been struggling with eating on and off. Not really sure how it began but it was like a switch just flipped in my head and I suddenly wasn't allowed to eat anymore unless I had to (like family dinners or whatever). But then I'd "binge" on a block of chocolate or peanut butter or whatever

Long story short I've gotten to the point where I actually CAN'T eat a lot of foods I used to like: rice, fish, eggs, crackers, cheese, tomatoes, the list goes on. I'm a pescetarian also so that limits a lot. It's gotten to the point where I basically feel like I can't function because these kinds of foods creep up everywhere and I seem to have an internal "freak out" whenever I'm faced with them. The same is true of sauce (although I have had an aversion to sauce pretty much my whole life) - tomato sauce, aoili, mustard, gravy, mayo, pretty much every sauce you could name I can't stand.

I don't know what this is or if it's even anything wrong but it's kind of worrying me because half the time all I want to eat is peanut butter and what if my brain/body decides that it can no longer eat that? Haha also not really sure what I'm even trying to ask but does anyone know if this sounds like anything or if there's anything I can do to try and fix my taste buds/brain?
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Re: Kinda don't know what's going on - August 30th 2017, 04:40 PM

Food aversions can, sometimes, go hand in hand with eating disorders. However, food aversions aren't always due to eating disorders. My boyfriend has a number of food aversions and is quite limited in what he can eat but he definitely doesn't have an eating disorder.

So, I think you need to figure out what is causing this. The fact that you used to be able to eat foods and aren't able to kind of indicates that it probably has something to with an eating disorder and less to do with a simple aversion (I hope this is making sense).

You have said that this year you have been struggling a bit more with eating so I think the best thing you can do is try and figure out why that switch flipped. I know, for me, I will sometimes not be able to eat certain foods that I love because I will get a really gross taste in my mouth. This gross taste will cause me to avoid the food for a while. So, in order to not have to avoid food I have started chewing gum after I eat those foods or if I suddenly start to notice the gross taste.

I guess what I am saying is if you can find out what is causing the aversion ... such as increased stress or depression etc...you might be able to work on finding a coping skill and a way to continue eating the food despite the aversion.

Do you have a therapist that you can talk to about all of this? That might be a way to work on figuring out the 'why.

Best of luck and sorry if this wasn't all that helpful.

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Re: Kinda don't know what's going on - September 9th 2017, 05:58 AM

I don't know of any cures, I only have a basic understanding of the underlying mechanism of what happens.

The brain has two parts, there's the outer cortex that does all the rational thinking, and then there's the emotional mid-brain that's more towards the center, at the top of the spine.

It's like a rider on a horse. Who's really in charge? Is the rider in control? Or is the horse in control?

We like to think we're in control, but actually that emotional mid-brain is a lot more primitive, (supposedly evolved a lot longer ago), plus it's in-between the rational thinking outer cortex and the spine, so if you want to do anything, you have to get the command past the mid-brain to get the body to do it. The mid-brain has it's own primitive ideas of what's good for you, and what's bad for you. It can veto anything it doesn't like.

That mid-brain can develop an aversion to various types of foods. Not sure how this happens. But when it does, well.

(The mid-brain is also the part of the brain that becomes addicted to drugs. Once it gets a taste of that, it decides that's the solution to everything. The person may rationally decide they don't want to do drugs anymore. That's when they discover they literally can't stop, because the rational thinking part of the mind isn't the part that becomes addicted. It's the emotional mid-brain that becomes addicted, and that part will decide to take over and "save" itself if it gets into a stressful situation. In a stressful situation? Like this could be life-or-death? Forget that slow thinking rational cortex, just ignore it and take over. What will fix this? The mid-brain learned that drugs will fix this, and it instructs the body to go get those drugs. That's pretty much the definition of addiction: when one makes a rational decision to stop, and then discovers they literally can't stop. It can be very confusing to the patient who doesn't understand why they aren't in control of themselves. It's because the horse has decided to run away on it's own, dragging the poor rider with it.)

So one approach to treatment is to practice ways of calming oneself, by practicing focusing one's mind on something. This is what Mindfulness Meditation is, practicing focusing ones mind on the present moment, practicing not thinking, switch to observing instead. Similarly, yoga, qi-gong, tai-chi, etc. are mindfulness motion exercises.

I don't know much about treating these things. I just know it's the mid-brain we need to reach, somehow, and get it to change. It doesn't respond to logical thought, it responds to emotions. So we practice observing our emotions, and our body, and scan our body with our mind and focus on what are we really feeling in our body? How are we feeling in our mind? We just sit and observe these things. It's a way of connecting with our mid-brain. Also focusing on our breath, since breathing is something we can do both consciously and unconsciously, it's a bridge to our unconscious. If we consciously breath slowly, it will trick our mid-brain into thinking, "Oh, we're breathing slowly, we must be calm. I'll calm down."

Sorry this isn't much about food. And at the same time, it's all about food, as that's such a basic primitive need, you know the mid-brain evolved long ago to keep us alive by making us eat. Or if the mid-brain gets rewired, by stress or drugs or damage or genes or whatever, it can mess up those desires. Fortunately the brain is "plastic", or has "plasticity", I'm not sure what the proper term is, but essentially the brain can rewire itself, it can be persuaded to rewire itself, it can be trained, if you focus on it, and somehow, focusing one's thoughts is a key element in achieving this.

There are a lot of free apps on meditation, guided meditation, etc. And groups that do yoga, etc. I know doesn't sound like food, but there's the connection.

There are two books by Norman Doidge, M.D., about the brain and how the brain can be rewired, by using one's thoughts, or he also tells the story of how a tingly device placed on one's tongue can miraculously cure a certain type of rare disorder that was thought incurable. Discovered by accident. (He showed videos of it at the local university a couple years ago. I'm sure no one would have believed him otherwise.) I'd suggest those if you're a book reader.
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