“I can’t have that, I’m being good today.” or “That has too many carbs in it.” or “It’s my cheat day.” Are all examples of phrases that you might hear from someone with disordered eating. The sad thing about disordered eating is that it has become so normalized in our culture it is often difficult to distinguish. Because it is so common, it may seem innocent, however disordered eating can still cause significant negative side effects- including both physiological and psychological.
Disordered eating is not an eating disorder, but is unhealthy and can interfere with quality of life. Furthermore, 20-25% of those with disordered eating will progress to a full-blown eating disorder. Sometimes disordered eating can be an early warning sign that an eating disorder is developing. If you are concerned about yourself, a friend, or a family member, don’t wait. Research suggests that early intervention here can help prevent full-blown eating disorders. When caught early we can prevent years of suffering and save lives!
Symptoms of disordered eating include:
chronic dieting, yoyo dieting
frequent weight fluctuations
rigid eating patterns related to types of food/ food groups, meal times, or places to eat (won’t eat at a restaurant or if someone else has prepared the food)
fear or anxiety around specific foods
feeling out of control with food
excessive or rigid exercise patterns
feelings of guilt and shame when unable to maintain food or exercise plan
feeling like you need to make up for eating
avoiding social situations because of food
compensating for food eaten (in any form)
obsessing over food- counting calories, ingredients, macros, points, quality, etc.