Do you have a problem with food?
Disordered eating has to do with an unhealthy relationship with food: it preoccupies the mind and influences behavior. It’s important to know there’s a spectrum: unhealthy relationships with food can be mild (someone who’s always dieting, or feels as though they should or feels guilt/shame for eating certain foods) to extreme (someone with anorexic or bulimic tendencies).
Disordered eating is complicated.
People who diet constantly may qualify. People who are overly restrictive (keeping to exactly 1200 calories, or having to know the calorie content of every food) may qualify. This is about more than simply watching your diet: those who suffer from disordered eating can’t think of anything else. This may mean they miss out on social occasions, stress about weight gain, spend too much time finding ways to lower their calories, over exercise, or have body image issues related to weight gain. On the other end of the spectrum, disordered eating can be related to those who try to gain weight unhealthily as well (like this lady).
EDNOS is a term used to describe eating disorders within the spectrum that don’t necessarily fall into binge eating, anorexia or bulimia. They can include orthorexia (obsession with healthy eating) to drunkorexia (restricting calories to get drunker and/or feel more intoxicated). You do not have to starve yourself completely or purge to qualify as having an eating disorder or a tendency towards disordered eating.
These disorders can last a lifetime and/or worsen over time: women over 50 are seeing a huge increase in the instance of eating disorders. If food controls your life or thoughts, it may be wise to seek information/treatment sooner than later.
Symptoms of disordered eating include (but are not limited to)…
- Skipping meals. This includes groups that do it for ‘diet’ purposes.
- Making excuses for not eating.
- Eating only a few certain “safe” foods, usually those low in fat and calories
- Restricting calories in order to consume alcohol.
- Adopting rigid meal or eating rituals, such as cutting food into tiny pieces or spitting food out after chewing
- Cooking elaborate meals for others, but refusing to eat them themselves
- Collecting recipes
- Withdrawing from normal social activities
- Persistent worry or complaining about being fat
- A distorted body image, such as complaining about being fat despite being underweight
- Not wanting to eat in public
- Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws
- Wearing baggy or layered clothing
- Repeatedly eating large amounts of sweet or high-fat foods
- Use of syrup of ipecac, laxatives, the over-the-counter weight-loss drug orlistat (Alli), or over-the-counter drugs that can cause fluid loss, such as menstrual symptom relief medications
- Use of dietary supplements or herbal products for weight loss
- Food hoarding
- Leaving during meals to use the toilet
- Eating in secret
Warning signs of an eating disorder:http://www.angelfire.com/bc/peacelovehope/signs.html
Additional information (click on links for great resources)http://blisstree.com/live/eating-disorders-10-warning-signs-you-need-to-know-859/
It’s never too late to change your attitude towards food and your body. You do not have to live in a food stress bubble. There is hope and treatment available wherever you fall on the spectrum. Get informed. Learn more. Choose YOU.