Do you feel a loss of control when you’re around food?
Do you skip meals, or do you rigidly restrict your food intake?
Are you consumed with thoughts about your body shape or your weight?
Many people are aware of what an eating disorder is, but disordered eating may sound less familiar. Disordered eating is not a diagnosis, but rather a phrase used to describe a range of problematic eating behaviors. The signs and symptoms of disordered eating are similar to those of an eating disorder, although they will vary in frequency and severity.
While disordered eating may not result in the extreme symptoms seen in a diagnosable eating disorder, it has the potential to negatively impact a person’s life. For example, someone with disordered eating may miss work, school, or personal events because of anxiety or discomfort around food, or because of an obsessive exercise routine. Their obsession with food and exercise may affect their ability to focus or concentrate, impacting their performance at work or school.
Disordered eating can take a mental and physical toll on a person. Negative self-thinking can impact mental health, and poor eating habits can affect individuals physically (e.g. cardiovascular and intestinal health). Disordered eating can place an individual at a significantly higher risk for developing an eating disorder.
If you find yourself struggling with:
- Frequent dieting or obsessive calorie counting
- Rigid food restriction or skipping meals
- Feeling anxiety, guilt, or shame about certain foods or food in general
- Obsessive exercising, or exercise to “punish” for overeating
- Binging and/or purging
- Low self-worth or self-esteem due to weight or body shape
- Feeling out of control around food
… then you may be suffering from disordered eating.
The reasons individuals engage in harmful eating habits can be complex and unique. Individual therapy can help people examine their past to understand what led to these behaviors, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and create a more positive body image.
If you’re struggling with disordered eating and need support and guidance, please contact me to schedule an appointment.