Are You Dealing with 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.

Even if you don’t have a full-blown eating disorder, you may be missing out on living while you spend all your time dieting!

Just because you weigh yourself, skip meals, count calories, or over-exercise doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an eating disorder. But you may be dealing with what’s called “disordered eating.”

  • 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  • Do your eating patterns include extreme dieting, preferences for certain foods, withdrawn or ritualized behavior at mealtime, or secretive bingeing?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 is 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.

Source: Adapted from National Eating Disorder Association, 2006: www.NationalEatingDisorders.org.