Have you ever found yourself being defensive over what others have said? Do you react to comments and take it upon yourself to prove that you are right?

This tactic only ever makes us feel vulnerable, insecure and small. It is an experience that will inevitably lead us to either binge or restrict our food intake. Either way, we lose if we cannot overcome emotional eating.

Let’s take time to explore what triggers these eating disorders for you by examining your behaviour pattern.
Be aware of when:

1. You feel like you have been put on the defensive (you’re being attacked or judged by others).

2. You are suddenly anxious or feeling insecure with someone.

3. You feel like to have to have the “right” answer on the fly.

4. You hear yourself explaining your reasons for certain choices, actions or beliefs in a tone other than peaceful and chill.

5. You hear yourself justifying your behaviour; arguing about your rightness; rather than just acknowledging it didn’t work for the other person or that you dropped the ball, forgot, or chose not to follow through.

When you notice these indicators of defensiveness and excuse making, start by stop talking, even if you’re in mid-sentence. Remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible.

Then sit down with you pen and paper or lap top/ipad/etc. and ask yourself the following questions:

1. What are you telling yourself about yourself vs. that person/situation? What do they have or know that you don’t?

2. Is there really a right and a wrong? They might think so, but do you have to agree with them? Can’t you both be right?

3. What do you know that led you to think or behave as you did? What do they believe or know that led them to judge that or think and behave as they did? What was their part in it and what was yours? Could you own your part without taking all the responsibility? Can you simply say, “You know, I was thinking about X and I can see what you mean….” And let go of whether they own their bit or not.

You know your part has been taken care of; you did the adult thing; and you know that it wasn’t all you, that your perspective had validity too.

4. Defensiveness implies that you are feeling anxious because you believe you need that person’s approval and you believe that you’re not getting it or not going to get it.

Can you let go of needing their agreement or approval in order to be able to see the truth in your perspective? If they never ever saw “it” your way, could you still be right in your actions based on your perspective at the time?

5. Defensiveness implies that you have given yourself just two options – your way or their way. Explore how you could make room for both. What truth can you find in their perspective? What truth can you find in yours?

6. What solution could you come to that meets the needs of all parties? DO NOT ever agree to something that doesn’t meet your needs. If you can’t find a solution that meets your needs as well as theirs in some way, your responsibility is to yourself first and the two of you are going to have to agree to take care of your own needs in this situation. (This is exceptionally rare! Maybe one situation in 100.)

Review your answers and explore your thoughts in response to a situation that triggered some insecurity or defensiveness for you.

Remember, your use of food to cope and your body image stress are inextricably linked to how you are thinking in these or similar situations. The more you understand what triggers your eating disorder, the less you’ll need to engage in restriction (dieting, anorexia), binging (overeating) or purging. You can learn to recover from your eating disorder.

Author's Bio: 

CEDRIC Centre (http://Cedriccentre.com) founder Michelle Morand is a recovered compulsive eater and counsellor with over 17 years of experience in the field of recovery of from eating disorders such as compulsive eating, anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder, as well as casual factors such as depression, anxiety, and trauma.

Author of 'Food is not the Problem: Deal With What Is', Morand is a skilled educator and lecturer and frequently appears at live health shows, on radio and V, and in print media. Michelle is the editor for Insights Into Clinical Counseling (IICC) and won the BC Association for Clinical Counsellors 2009 Communications Award which recognizes a member or individual/organization from the media field who has provided regular, continuing, or special assistance in promoting counselling and/or mental health issues in the community.