Eating Disorder

There is a difference between an eating problem and an eating disorder. An eating disorder is a medical diagnosis on your weight, body mass and eating patterns whilst an eating problem is when you have a difficult relationship with food. Trying to be healthy and changing your eating habits now and then is completely normal but once food consumes your thoughts and everyday life, then it becomes a problem.

If you have an eating disorder you would:

 

  • Restrict your food consumption

  • Feel out of control when you eat

  • Binge eat

  • Feel anxious when eating

  • Eat as a coping method with your emotions

  • Stick to a very intense diet and feel anxious is you eat anything different

  • Do things to distract you or stop you from eating

  • Set yourself struct rules on what you can eat and feel upset if you break them

  • Eat things that aren’t considered foods

  • Being scared of eating in public or certain types of food

  • Thinking about food all the time

  • Compare your body shape and size to other peoples’

  • Weigh your body a lot and base your self – worth on it

If you have an eating problem, you would:

 

  • Have difficulties concentrating and feel tired most of the time

  • Feel as though controlling your food intake is thew most important thing to you

  • Feel anxious and depressed

  • Feel guilty and ashamed of yourself is people found out

  • Become distant from family and friends

  • Avoid eating in public or from social events

  • Know that your body and appearance has changed but still feel negatively towards it

  • Find that you are bullied about eating

  • Develop short – term or long- term health problems (mentally and physically)

You might feel that you’re eating problem isn’t serious enough to be considered such because people always focus on the effect it has on your body. People with eating problems can hide it very well and not change their body for a long time. You may feel as if you’re not good enough at your eating problem and therefore it can’t be diagnosed but if your relationship with eating and food is affecting you more than it should, you should seek help.

Types of eating disorders:

Bulimia:

If you are bulimic you might be eating a large amount of food making you feel upset and ashamed which could lead to you wanting to get rid of that food you have eaten by throwing up.

What you could do:

  • Binge eat

  • Go through cycles of eating, feeling guilty, throwing up on repeat

  • Eat food that you know is bad for you

  • Starve yourself between your binges

  • Eat privately (in secret)

  • Crave a certain type of food

  • Making yourself sick to get rid of food you’ve eaten

You might feel:

  • Guilty

  • You hate your body

  • Think you are fat

  • Scared of friends and family finding out

  • Depressed

  • Anxious

  • Lonely

  • Very low

  • Mood changes suddenly

  • Stuck in a cycle you can’t control

  • Numb

What could happen to your body:

  • You could stay the same weight or become underweight very quickly

  • Dehydrated

  • Your periods could become irregular or stop

  • Get a sore throat due to the stomach acid if you are making yourself throw up

Constipation and heart disease if you use laxatives

Anorexia:

This is when you are not eating enough food to be able to stay healthy due to low self-esteem and negative self – image

What you could do:

  • Reduce your food intake

  • Stop eating

  • Count your calories and not stop thinking about them

  • Hide your food

  • Avoid foods that have high amounts of calories

  • Read about meals and recipes but not eat them

  • Use drugs or supplements that reduce or appetite or speed up your digestion

  • Always thinking about losing weight

  • Over exercise and create strict rules regarding it

  • Making good and bad lists of foods that you can eat

  • Have very structured eating times

  • Weigh yourself  constantly

You could feel:

  • You can’t think about anything else but food

  • You want to disappear

  • You have to be perfect

  • You aren’t good enough and never will be

  • Lonely

  • By eating you are losing the control you think you need

  • Distant from your family and friends

  • That you are fat, and you need to lose more weight

  • Terrified of gaining weight

  • Angry

  • Tired and losing interest in things

  • Depressed

  • Suicidal

  • Anxious

  • A sense of achievement when denying food or over- exercising

  • Panicked during mealtimes

What could happen to your body:

  • Weigh less than you should or lose weight very quickly

  • Become physically underdeveloped if your anorexia starts before puberty

  • Feel weak

  • Feel cold most of the time

  • Periods will become irregular or stop completely

  • Your hair could fall out

  • Develop fine, fuzzy hair on your arms, legs and face

  • Lose sexual interest

  • Find it hard to concentrate

  • Your bones will become fragile

Binge eating disorder:

This is when you can’t stop yourself from eating or eat in very large amounts to how you normally should. This is sometimes referred to as compulsive eating. If you binge eating it could be because you rely on food to make yourself feel better or to hide your feelings

What you could do:

  • Pick at food all the time

  • Eat without thinking about it

  • Eat for comfort when you feel stressed, upset and bored

  • Eat unhealthy food regularly

  • Hide the amount of food you are eating

  • Eat until you feel sick

  • Try to follow a diet but finding it very hard

How you could feel:

  • Out of control and you can’t stop eating

  • Embarrassed and ashamed

  • Lonely

  • Empty

  • Very low and worthless

  • Unhappy about your body

  • Stressed

  • Anxious

What could happen to your body:

  • You might put on weight

  • Develop health problems associated with being overweight, muscle and joint pain

  • Experience breathlessness

  • Feel sick a lot

  • Experience sugar highs and crashes

  • Develop acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome

Eating problems usually develop when you are going through big life changes such as puberty, a new school, new job etc…Social pressure can contribute to developing an eating disorder. Movies, magazines, adverts and bullying shows that we are surrounded by  messages about body image and they give you ideas on how you should look like. This kind of pressure can make you feel like you are not good enough and therefore develop eating problems or eating disorders.

Biological and genetic factors have been shown to impact the risks on developing an eating problem as some people with eating problems seem to have different brain chemicals controlling appetite.