Your relationship with food may not be recognised as a clinically diagnosable eating disorder, however you or others may be concerned by unhealthy behaviours around food. It is important to recognise that often these behaviours can be precursors to eating disorders and should be taken seriously.
Please consult your GP if you are concerned about any of the following:
An all-consuming dieting mindset, which could include restricting, skipping meals, obsessive calories counting, avoiding certain food groups. This might also see someone taking laxatives, diet pills or diuretics, and over-exercising.
An obsession with ‘clean/healthy eating’ – otherwise informally known as ‘Orthorexia’, whereby an individual might avoid certain foods or whole groups of foods that are believed to be unhealthy. Examples could be cutting out fats or carbohydrates and perhaps a reliance on supplements, protein powders and faddy foods.
Additionally someone with Orthorexia may demonstrate other obsessive behaviours such as over or extreme exercising
Emotional overeating – Eating in response to state of mind, rather than hunger.
Compulsive overeating – Could be known or experienced as a lesser form of Binge eating disorder.
An inability to maintain a healthy relationship with food, regardless of health concerns or complications. This can be, but not exclusively, a behaviour designed to manage emotional states.
Disordered Eating describes a wide range of abnormal eating behaviours which also happen to be criteria for diagnosing an eating disorder.
However, what differentiates an eating disorder from ‘disordered eating’ is the severity and frequency of these behaviours. Someone may be bingeing, purging, using laxatives or diet pills, occasionally they may be skipping meals, but not enough to fit the criteria for a diagnosable eating disorder.
These behaviours are widespread, as often they come about after a stressful life event or illness, and for most the behaviour is short term and the individual returns to normal patterns of eating and behaviour.
It is important to recognise for oneself or for an other, when there is a danger of moving from something that can be described as disordered, into a full blown eating disorder. If there is an impact on daily life, relationships with others and other behaviours it is advisable to see your GP for advice or call us.
Early intervention is, as always, vital to ensure behaviours and thinking patterns don’t become too deeply entrenched.