We have all heard at some point 'along the way' that an eating disorder is not about food. Huh?
OK...so it's really about emotional regulation, not knowing how to cope with intense feelings, and also pressures from both internal and external forces to be 'perfect', in control, etc.
It's a short jog from the point of emotional distress, to extreme dieting to be thin (isn't thin 'perfect'?), bingeing and purging in an effort to control weight, or any other numerous behaviors that ARE about eating, weight and FOOD.
Once your body and mind reach the point of starvation, both your behaviors and your thoughts become obsessively focused on food. The cycle begins...and it may present with slightly different characteristics, but for the most part it's centered around avoiding feelings by restricting or some other disordered behavior related to food, then penance and shame for that behavior, then the intense feelings again, and the cycle goes round and round. And my description is sadly simplistic.
Even though an eating disorder 'is not about food', it IS about food, because you cannot begin to truly focus on learning different coping tools until that eating disordered cycle (chaotic eating) is interrupted, or broken. So for a time, it has to be about normalizing food intake, weight, and stopping any dangerous behaviors that may be involved.
This 'cycle' feels and presents very much as an addictive, obsessive behavior, largely due to the affects of starvation on the body and brain. Breaking this cycle in order to move on to the process work required for full recovery must involve a knowledgable professional. I see no other way of stepping into that next phase...the cognitive processing.
Recovery is not quick, simple or easy. But it is completely possible. There are immense fears involved that may likely cause one to pull back and think that it's not worth the pain.
Freedom from an eating disorder is worth every bit of pain and hard work that is required. This is a life and death choice.
Breaking the cycle is the first step. Will you move on to experience life as it truly can be?
Don't ever give up!