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It's Not About The Food

Drawing on his experience of eating disorder recovery, Rory Brown discusses the importance of acknowledging the feelings beneath the eating disorder

Hello wonderful people. My name is Rory and in my late teens and early 20’s I suffered from orthorexia, binge eating and body dysmorphia.

Unbeknown to me at the time, the toxic relationship I had been in was the trigger to my disordered eating habits.

When the relationship failed, I created the conditional belief that if I looked perfect and everything in my life was perfect, then not only would I be worthy of love, but also of loving myself.

As a young male I found it so hard to come forward about any of my issues for fear of being judged by those around me, so I kept everything bottled up inside and kept up with my pursuit for perfection.

Being in control felt safe. It felt familiar. Even though deep in the back of my mind I knew that my behaviours were becoming more extreme and that I was getting more and more unhappy.


It wasn’t until I finally started to open up to what had been going on, that the recovery journey for me actually began and this is the premise of todays post for you all.

What we need to realise when it comes to eating disorders, body image issues, exercise dependancy, you name it, is that we are projecting the uncertainty and discomfort of life (this happens as a result of an inability to convey our feelings or emotions) onto self.

This feels safer as we think it is ‘easier’ to control this discomfort with measurable things like food rules, dieting, exercise etc. We mislabel feelings like guilt or anger, frustration and sadness, and covert them in to ‘feeling fat’ or ‘ugly’.

All this does is bring our focus back to the way we evaluate ourselves on the basis of controlling what you eat, how much you weigh etc and these are the very behaviours that keep us stuck in the cycle.

We mislabel feelings like guilt and anger, frustration and sadness, and convert them into feeling 'fat' or 'ugly'

It’s not about our weight, it’s not about our body image. It’s about our inability to recognise or identify negative emotions or uncomfortable feelings.

I know first hand just how hard this is to do, but how helpful and literally life saving it was.

Our emotions let us know what’s going on in life. The ability to accept this and to draw awareness to what’s going on from a place of self-compassion is a vital ingredient to recovery.

Keep talking. We’re here to listen.

Big love x

Rory Brown is a registered nutrition coach and behaviour therapist, helping individuals break free from disordered eating and restore their relationship with mind, body and food. Rory specialises in binge eating and body dysmorphia, having suffered from these himself during his late teens and early 20s. You can find Rory on Instagram @rorythomasbrown. 

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