Religious mentality surrounding food
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21-03-2016, 08:12 PM
Religious mentality surrounding food
To preface: I'm basing this post on my own personal experiences and observations. I'm not a psychologist, just someone who's gone through rather a lot of therapy and is curious about human behavior. I'm aware of the lack of scientific methodology in my statements, and am just looking for your thoughts/seeing if anyone else has observed any of the same things that I have.
As a recovering anorexic as well as a former fundamentalist, I've noticed a rather interesting parallelism (in some aspects) between the psychology/thought processes of the highly religious as well as those with eating disorders. There's a real black and white mentality that feeds into each behavior. Religion (at least as I've experienced it) can tend to lay out a lot of edicts that say "do what God says and you're a good person", "following God's rules/living according to the tenets of this religion will make everything alright in the end", "if you do (or think) this one thing you should feel intensely guilty and do X in order to atone for it". Eating disorders (again, as I experienced them) create a lot of the same constructs. "Avoid this type of food/do this particular exercise and you have proven that you are a good person", "as long as you keep losing weight you'll be alright", "if you eat/enjoy this food/take the elevator rather than the stairs/gain any weight, you are a bad person and will have to make up for it by doing something to compensate".
Perhaps these are just hallmarks of irrational behavior, but it's just something that I've been struck by lately. Has anyone else noticed this?
Sorry if any of this is so obvious that it isn't even worth mentioning. Feel free to ignore if you would like. I'm always intrigued by what the people here have to contribute, so I'll enjoy reading anything that you do feel like replying with Smile
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22-03-2016, 12:08 AM
RE: Religious mentality surrounding food
Hug

Best wishes to you fighting your good fight!

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22-03-2016, 12:38 AM (This post was last modified: 22-03-2016 12:43 AM by jennybee.)
RE: Religious mentality surrounding food
I'm so glad you are doing well. Smile

I think religion creates a lot of anxiety for a lot of people and I think that can cause some people to look for a way to feel in control in some aspect of their lives such as with food or whatever. What I mean is, the church tells you who you should love, how you should act, how you should live your life, when to have sex, when not to have sex, who to have sex with, what to go and do if you piss God off, etc.

Eating is the one thing that people have control of. In a sense, controlling food creates a sense of relief of anxiety, a sense of control over one's life. I think eating disorders can impact anyone, religious or not since society and society's view of perfect impacts everyone. But I do think when people are put in situations where they feel anxious and/or out of control in their lives, they look for some way to dilute the anxiety and gain control of some aspect of their lives. I think for some people this is done with limiting food.

I also think the church teaches that we are never good enough, and some people use food or lack of food as a form of punishment for themselves, even though they might not realize what they are doing. People also use food as comfort and its easy to see why they might turn to it if they never feel like they can be good enough in god's eyes.

Years ago, I struggled with anorexia, but it had nothing to do with religion, even though I was a religious person. I modeled for a bit in high school and got caught up in being ultra skinny, which was pushed on me by my modeling agency. Society is fucked, it really skews your thinking.

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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23-03-2016, 07:10 PM
RE: Religious mentality surrounding food
(22-03-2016 12:38 AM)jennybee Wrote:  . I modeled for a bit in high school and got caught up in being ultra skinny, which was pushed on me by my modeling agency. .

Huh

They didn't understand that you need food to live?

Don't let those gnomes and their illusions get you down. They're just gnomes and illusions.

--Jake the Dog, Adventure Time

Alouette, je te plumerai.
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23-03-2016, 07:19 PM
RE: Religious mentality surrounding food
A lot of religious morality gets pushed over to food. What you eat or don't eat becomes sinful/a basis for feeling superiority over others. This is also true of other health or lifestyle-related areas, but by far the most common is food. I think it's helpful to recognize that tribal tendency inside us that makes us feel that people who tick off certain boxes are "us" and those who don't are "them" (and therefore worth less, if not worthless). IMO, what you choose to eat is not worthy of a tribal sort, but for people who feel differently, it's good for them to acknowledge what they're doing.
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