Eating disorders are illnesses that are described by irregular eating habits and obsession over weight and body appearance. Most common eating disorders; Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder. Some less common eating disorders; Orthorexia, Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED), Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) and Pica. Because there are several different types of eating disorders and none discriminate it can sometimes be difficult to notice a loved one may be suffering. Those that suffer from eating disorders and disordered eating often live life engaging in thoughts and behaviors in secret- surprising family and friends that they struggle with food at all.
What are some common symptoms of having an eating disorder:
- Chronic dieting
- Avoiding medication that may have an affect on weight
- Constant weight fluctuations
- Obsession with calorie counting
- Strict food rules
- Engaging in ritualistic eating patterns, such as cutting food into tiny pieces, eating alone, and/or hiding food, ‘tasting’ food
- Continued fixation with food, recipes, or cooking; the individual may cook intricate meals for others but refrain from partaking
- Depression/ lethargic stage or short bursts of elevated mood
- Avoidance of social functions, family, and friends. May become isolated and withdrawn
- Switching between periods of restricting, binging and purging
The difference between disordered eating vs eating disorders can be determined by looking at some key factors: behaviors, obsession, and functionality. Eating disorders can often start as disordered eating by engaging in behaviors and obsessions on occasion. Over time, engaging in behaviors and obsessions several times a week or multiple times a day can severely impact a person’s daily functioning. Not all individuals who have disordered eating, develop an eating disorder. Seeking therapy is a great first step towards recovery. Best results can be seen when an individual not only receives therapy, they also receive support from a dietitian- both professionals practice intuitive eating and the Health At Every Size modality (HAES).
If any of the information above stands out to you or you have questioned your own relationship with food and your body- reach out today to receive support and recommended next steps.