At 6 years old, I already had thoughts about my body. I compared myself to girls, thought I couldn’t eat certain foods, and wanted to look a certain way in my clothes. I remember one day at school I was eating my favorite meal, Frito chili pie, cinnamon roll, and corn. and decided I was hungry so I went back and got an extra serving. Later that day, I was told by my mom not to get extra servings again.. Poor 6 year old me was devastated. This was my favorite school meal! From then on, I started watching portions, what I was eating, and if it was “ok” for me to eat it. This grew into an obsession, which led to my eating disorder.
These are a few examples of disordered eating from my own history. Let’s look into what disordered eating is and how to prevent it from becoming an eating disorder.
WHAT IS DISORDERED EATING?
Disordered eating is a disturbed and unhealthy eating pattern that can include restrictive dieting, compulsive eating or skipping meals. Disordered eating can start as early as childhood. It’s common for disordered eating to include behaviors commonly associated with eating disorders.
EXAMPLES OF DISORDERED EATING:
Fasting or chronic restrained eating
Unbalanced eating (e.g. restricting major food groups such as “fatty foods” or carbs)
Laxative, enema, diuretic misuse
Steroid and creatine use-supplements designed to enhance athletic performance and enhance physical performance
Using diet pills
Anxiety with certain foods
Self worth or self esteem based highly or even exclusively on body shape and weight
A disturbance in body image
Excessive or rigid exercise routine
Obsessive calorie counting
A rigid approach to eating, such as only eating certain foods, inflexible meal times, refusal to eat in restaurants or outside of one’s own home
DIETING AND DISORDERED EATING
Disordered eating behaviors, and in particular dieting are the most common indicators of the development of an eating disorder. Severely restricting the amount of food you eat is very dangerous. When the body is starved of food it responds by reducing the rate at which it burns energy (the metabolic rate), this can result in overeating and binge eating behaviors!!! This in turn can lead to weight gain and obesity, because the body is going into “storing mode.” Feelings of guilt, being a failure, and shame are common in people who engage in disordered eating. These feelings can arise as a result of binge eating, ‘breaking’ a diet, or weight gain.
RISKS WITH DISORDERED EATING
Osteoporosis – a condition that leads to bones becoming fragile and easily fractured
Fatigue and poor sleep quality
Constipation and/or diarrhea
HOW TO GET RID OF DISORDERED EATING
It is possible to change eating behavior, even if you have been engaging in disordered eating and dieting for many years. With the right support, treatment, and commitment, your body can learn to function to its full capacity again. Generally your general doctor will be a good ‘first base.’ Finding someone specializing in health, nutrition, and Eating Disorders is very important for long-term success. Also, looking into a therapist can be very valuable.
THERE IS HOPE AND I BELIEVE IN YOU! Disordered eating is sadly, very common in today’s society. If you or someone you know is suffering, please seek treatment!
REMEMBER I AM NOT A LICENSED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. I HAVE BEEN THROUGH THIS, SO I CAN SHARE MY OWN EXPERIENCES. IF YOU NEED FURTHER CARE PLEASE SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT.
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