There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love. ~Mother TeresaWhat an interesting idea to hold onto from the perspective of eating disorders. On the surface, it may seem that someone with an eating disorder is needing nourishment on a physical level. While this is definitely true, I think that what they are needing most is soul sustenance, spiritual nourishment. What we all seem to be seeking most in this world is love, in whatever form feels most salient.At Monte Nido we conceptualize eating disorders as functional and relational. People seem to grasp the functional piece, but the relational one is more difficult to fully understand. It is crucial for people to recognize that they are playing out their relationship issues in their food and food behaviors. Rather than reaching out to people for support, they are reaching out to food. It becomes the safe place from which to ask for and receive love and comfort. Food analogies for this are ubiquitous - chicken soup for the soul, anyone?Food is the partner that never leaves, never disappoints. It is the relationship that listens, responds, obeys, the one that can be manipulated, the one that respects boundaries. Logically, we know that food is an inanimate object and can't provide these things. We realize that love can never be fully realized in a plate of food. But in the midst of an eating disorder, food feels like such a good, constant companion. In healing we realize that real relationships and authentic connections are what we are truly craving. We must challenge ourselves to be vulnerable, to ask for what we most want and need from others rather than turning to food. We must recognize that we are also responsible for loving ourselves and meeting our own wants and needs.Love is the most basic need, the most nourishing bread. We all need it. We all desire it. We all must seek it out in equal measure so that food can just be be food. Where do you most need real love today? Can you challenge yourself to seek it out?