How To Know If Someone Has An Eating Disorder – Are you worried about your food and your body? Tired of riding the diet/struggle roller coaster? Think you’re “good” if you eat a salad and “bad” if you eat a cookie? Do you feel like you have to “compromise” eating certain foods with exercise, restriction, or some other cleansing tool? Does food occupy a much larger place in your life than the intended purpose of providing sustenance and occasional pleasure?
If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, you may have an eating disorder. You may also have disordered eating, which is an unhealthy and abnormal relationship with food, but not necessarily a full-blown eating disorder. Either way, preoccupation and/or loss of control with food is a very painful and limiting lifestyle.
How To Know If Someone Has An Eating Disorder
I spent decades obsessing over my body, restricting certain foods, and then eating all the things I was never allowed to eat. And whether I was on a fad diet, or just thought I had to, the rebellion reaction was still in motion.
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Finally, I sought help that went deeper than the previous diet. This help, along with a willingness and desire to make some changes, led me to heal my relationship with food and my body. And, as a result of this process, I have benefited in more ways than I ever imagined.
In addition to relearning how to eat satisfying foods in moderation, I learned healthy ways to deal with my emotions. I also learned how to improve my “rude mind” and challenge my inner critic.
I learned how to recognize and express my feelings and needs with others. And I learned how to find comfort and sweetness and pleasure in healthy ways that never left me feeling bloated or ashamed.
So if you suffer from an eating disorder and are considering getting help, know that the areas you can improve and heal are much more than just eating. You can heal the wounds that led you down the wrong path in the first place.
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Let’s take a look at the different types of eating disorders. Keep in mind that everyone who has an eating disorder also has an eating disorder, but not everyone who has an eating disorder has a full-blown eating disorder.
So even if you don’t relate to the following signs and symptoms, if you struggle with eating and body image, it’s worth seeking help.
Eating disorders are subtle but huge issues in modern society. Not many talk or want to talk about it. These are the types of eating disorders you may experience.
The following two diagnoses are not currently recognized in medical texts, but are common syndromes that afflict many people in our society.
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Eating disorders not only affect our emotional and social well-being, work, school, and future goals, but they can have serious physical effects and are potentially life-threatening.
It is important to note that someone can have a body larger than what our society considers healthy and still be in excellent health. Conversely, a person can appear “healthy” and be extremely ill. Eating disorders are about a person’s relationship with food, exercise and their body. They cannot be assessed simply by looking at someone.
Since there are many different types of eating disorders, the warning signs can vary. For someone with anorexia, a warning sign may be eating less, while for someone with binge eating disorder or bulimia, a warning sign may be overeating. Below is a list of various warning signs.
If someone close to you exhibits one or more of these signs, approach them with great sensitivity. Let them know you are worried about them and suggest they seek professional help. If they are minors, make sure they are seen by a doctor and licensed therapist who specializes in eating disorders.
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Eating disorders can affect anyone. Statistically, teenage girls are at higher risk, however, children up to the age of six are already obsessed with their weight and food. Many seniors in their 80s and 90s have struggled with food and body image for decades. And every age in between can be affected. While girls and women face more pressure regarding food and appearance, boys and men certainly struggle with eating disorders as well.
There are many different factors that can contribute to the development of an eating disorder. Every person needs help to discover and heal their wounds. The following three areas provide a brief summary of the causes.
Scientists are still investigating the biological causes of eating disorders. Many people with eating disorders have at least one family member with some type of eating disorder or addiction. Newer studies are discovering genes that increase the risk of developing anorexia and bulimia.
Most people with eating disorders are highly sensitive, suffer from low self-esteem, and have experienced a significant loss of control or trauma in their lives.
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Cultural pressure, the media and the diet industry glorify thinness and perfection. This leads many people down the path of disordered eating.
If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, we hope you will seek professional help from someone experienced in treating eating disorders.
At the very least, someone struggling with an eating disorder should see a doctor who has knowledge and experience in these matters. It is important that their doctor knows what signs to look for if someone is anorexic or bulimic.
It is also extremely important that if someone has problems with overeating, their doctor does not prescribe a strict diet. Diet is usually one of the things that cause overeating, it will not be one of the solutions.
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Treatment programs typically run 2-3 days per week for approximately 6-8 weeks. It often includes individual and group therapy, meal support, and nutrition education.
It offers many of the benefits of a structured hospital setting without leaving home. Includes medical and emotional support, nutrition, education and responsibility.
In my book, The Don’t Diet, Live-I Workbook, readers learn four key components of recovery from disordered eating and body obsession. Here’s a sneak peek at each area:
All of us are born with the ability to know when we are hungry, exactly what we like to eat, and when we are well fed. We are also born with natural desires to move and rest our bodies in ways that feel good to us. But in our image-obsessed culture, these intuitive connections are often lost. We are taught that certain foods are good and bad and that there are certain ways we should “work”.
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We are encouraged to drink caffeine if we are tired and take medicine if we are sad. So the first part of a Live-It is about restoring trust and communication between your mind and body. Of course it takes time and practice, but it is possible to learn (or rather relearn) why you were born with it after all.
In the same way that we are taught that there are good and bad ways to eat, many of us are taught that there are good and bad ways to feel. We are generally taught to be happy and our other natural emotions such as sadness, fear and anger are not encouraged or applauded as much in our culture. Learning to accept and express all of our emotions is a very important part of learning to live-It.
Once you do this, you will no longer need to binge eat and diet. They will be out of work! When someone has an eating disorder, focusing on diet, nutrition and exercise is like focusing on the tip of a huge iceberg. Beneath the icebergs are all the emotions and unresolved issues that consume and limit.
If there are unexpressed feelings within you, food is something you can turn to for comfort, distraction or numbing. Only when body pain or food obsession gets bad enough are people willing to go deeper, under the iceberg, and heal the pain that drove them to overeat or undereat.
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An eating disorder can also be called a thinking disorder. When someone is struggling with food and body image, they usually have a lot of negative thoughts playing and repeating in their head throughout the day. inappropriate thoughts about their body, food, life, or self-worth. These painful windows can lead to depression, anxiety, body obsession, undereating or overeating.
A big part of recovering from an eating disorder is learning how to challenge your bad thoughts and improve them into better ones, and how to spend more time in the present moment instead of get lost in thought.
Mindfulness practices that teach you how to live more in the moment can be an extremely useful tool for increasing this ability. And since eating disorders are largely fueled by our thoughts and beliefs, learning to quiet our minds is a big piece of the healing puzzle.
We all have deeper parts of us that are more than
Binge Eating Disorder
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