Chronic over-eating, binge eating, anorexia nervosa and anorexia bulimia are some of the more extreme forms of disordered eating. There are also many other sub-clinical manifestations such as repeated pursuit of fad diets, severely restricted diets due to beliefs, and exclusion diets based on certain links people make between food and various digestive complaints such as bloating or IBS.

Many people, who over-eat, binge-eat or refuse to eat, trigger an automatic psycho-neurological process within while they engage with food. Thoughts can become disordered or obsessive, one can experience uncomfortable feelings in the pit of one’s stomach, there may be up-rushing feelings, or feelings of over-whelm or anger, to name just a few associated symptoms. Eating may be associated with emotional anxiety or distress, physical pain or tummy distension, or a number of other abnormal physical or emotional reactions to a normal everyday event. There may be many triggers which set off this reaction but the end result is a disturbing relationship with food.

Creating new brain patterns (responses) in relation to food and eating can be done using neuro linguistic programming. NLP opens up communication channels so that we can engage with that part of our inner self that is in control of our physical and psychological reaction to food.

What ever the reason is, if you are eating less food than you need for a prolonged period of time then you have an eating problem. There may be numerous reasons but to preserve organ function and general health, such as bone density, hormone regulation, and a calm nervous system – one that is not running on adrenalin, then something needs to change in how you ‘do food.’

It is good to know that there are a lot of people out there who want to help you to get the nourishment that you want, including doctors, nutritionists, and other health care workers. Keep those people around you for all the support you need.


If you are an over-eater you might say that you enjoy your food. What about the feelings during and after you eat? If you would like to feel energised and nourished by the food that you eat then you need to communicate with all of you. It might be time to listen to that part of you that is not being heard while you are focusing on food. What are you not paying attention to in your life? What is obvious to you about all of this?


Not eating, for any reason, for any prolonged length of time (say a few days) is termed anorexia by the medical profession even if it is a secondary symptom to something else, for example a prolonged fever. It is not always associated with a distorted self-image.

A distorted self-image, or a desire for an unrealistic and idealised body shape can last a life time if effective steps are not taken to correct it. Or maybe there are things that you cannot eat because of your beliefs, your morals, or because of health concerns.

You may even have an unpleasant physical response, such as difficulty in swallowing (dsyphagia,) nausea or intestinal pain. These are all real problems and real experiences but they need not become an unalterable part of us and our experience of life. Things can change and go back to the way they were before those difficulties began.

Beliefs we have about life, about ourselves, and about other people are generally so much part of our identity that they are presented to our conscious mind as if they are facts yet often they are not. Think of some things that you used to believe in and then you discovered they weren’t true at all. Beliefs, especially those beliefs that are not useful for our survival, can be changed once we understand the true meaning of those beliefs, once we understand their higher intention for us.

Whether you want to change right now or wait until later, give a little space to that part of you that wants to be heard and wants simply to be nurtured.

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Roisin is no longer taking patients in order to spend more time teaching classical acupuncture to a wider audience. For more information on Roisin's work, please click here