Living in our culture, it’s not surprising if you feel you have to look a certain way to be happy or even healthy. However, the things you are doing to be thin can quickly spin out of control and become a serious life-threatening eating disorder. Even if you don’t have a full-blown eating disorder, you may have what is called “disordered eating” and may be missing out on living while you spend all your time dieting!

What is Disordered Eating?

Disordered eating is when a person’s attitudes about food, weight, and body size lead to very rigid eating and exercise habits that jeopardize one’s health, happiness, and safety. Disordered eating may begin as a way to lose a few pounds or get in shape, but these behaviors can quickly get out of control, become obsessions, and may even turn into an eating disorder.

Are You Dealing with Disordered Eating?

Think about this…

  • Do you avoid eating meals or snacks when you’re around other people?
  • Do you constantly calculate numbers of fat grams and calories?
  • Do you weigh yourself often and find yourself obsessed with the number on the scale?
  • Do you exercise because you feel like you have to, not because you want to?
  • Are you afraid of gaining weight?
  • Do you ever feel out of control when you are eating?
  • Do your eating patterns include extreme dieting, preferences for certain foods, withdrawn or ritualized behavior at mealtime, or secretive bingeing?
  • Has weight loss, dieting, and/or control of food become one of your major concerns?
  • Do you feel ashamed, disgusted, or guilty after eating?
  • Do you worry about the weight, shape, or size of your body?
  • Do you feel like your identity and value are based on how you look or how much you weigh?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you could be dealing with disordered eating. It is likely that these attitudes and behaviors are taking a toll on your mental and physical well-being. It is important that you start to talk about your eating habits and concerns now, rather than waiting until your situation gets more serious than you can handle.

Less-Well-Known Disordered Eating Behaviors

  • Anorexia athletica (compulsive exercising)
  • Body dysmorphic disorder (bigorexia)
  • Infection-triggered auto immune subtype of anorexia in children
  • Orthorexia nervosa
  • Night-eating syndrome
  • Nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder
  • Rumination syndrome
  • Gourmand syndrome
  • Prader-Willi syndrome
  • Pica
  • Cyclic vomiting syndrome
  • Chewing and spitting

What Do I Do Now?

Talk about it! Tell a friend, teacher, parent, coach, youth group leader, doctor, counselor, or nutritionist what you’re going through. It is important to get some support to change the thoughts and behaviors you are experiencing now. It could save your life – and isn’t your health and happiness worth it?


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