When doing is not enough, exploring meaning in eating disorders.
Individuals with eating disorders often experience maladaptive food behaviours and distorted cognitions around eating, which persist after weight restoration. Research shows that meaning of food engagement is not just centred around shape or weight concerns, or a fear of weight gain. Occupational therapists are one professional group who support facilitation of food-related activities within eating disorder treatment. However, little qualitative research has explored subjective experiences and meanings of food and eating practices for these individuals beyond function or skill.
Occupational therapists explicitly focus on both sources of meaning derived in occupation, and the contribution that occupation makes to meaning in life. Exploring meaning can allow for greater understanding and insight into the lived experience of anorexia and contribute to client-centred practice.