I wanted to share something that came up during my Holiday Survive and Thrive Challenge last week.
During the lessons and conversations that happened during the Challenge, one question came up that I believe confuses many people. That question is…”What is Disordered Eating?”
This is a term that can confuse many, so let’s clear that up now.
Disordered eating is different than an eating disorder, like anorexia or bulimia, but it is still characterized by “abnormal” eating patterns.
Someone struggling with disordered eating might be on and off diets frequently, have a toxic relationship with food, and likely has periods of overeating to the point of feeling ill, then dealing with feelings of guilt and shame afterward.
How can you tell if you have Disordered Eating?
Let’s start by looking at some of the common signs of disordered eating, so you can determine if you need to work on your relationship with food. Remember, disordered eating is not the same thing as having an eating disorder, though people can develop a serious eating disorder over time.
Here are some of the symptoms associated with disordered eating:
- Anxiety or fear of foods
- Fear of hunger
- Counting calories, macros, or nutrients obsessively
- Weighing yourself multiple times a day
- Having your personal worth and confidence dictated only by your weight
- Avoiding social occasions purely because of your weight, or to avoid the food
- Having obsessive thoughts about food constantly
- Strict rules about food – what you can and can’t eat, or how much
Why This is a Problem
Having disordered eating doesn’t mean it isn’t damaging to your mind and body the same as an eating disorder can be. When you have disordered eating, you have a toxic relationship with food. This can affect so many areas of your life, which you can probably see just looking at the signs of disordered eating.
Some ways disordered eating affects your life might include:
- Avoiding social occasions with friends and loved ones.
- Having very low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
- Issues in your personal life and love life.
- An obsession with food and exercise that keeps you from enjoying your life.
- Side effects of malnutrition, such as hair falling out, weak muscles, dizziness and fainting spells, digestive issues, nausea, headaches, and many more.
How Intuitive Eating Can Help with Disordered Eating
Intuitive eating is a great way to get a handle on your disordered eating and finally heal your relationship with food.
Intuitive eating is a wonderful way to build a healthy relationship with food and help you get to a place where you no longer have disordered eating patterns. Through the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating, you learn how to honor your hunger and cravings, care for your here-and-now body, and have a better understanding of your own relationship with food.
Intuitive Eating is not a linear process, but it can help you come to terms with the issues that led to your disordered eating. It can help you understand that food is not your enemy. It can help you learn how to eat for fuel, energy, comfort, and happiness, without the stress and anxiety you have become accustomed to in your life. Intuitive Eating can heal your strained relationship with food.
I hope this information has helped you understand the difference between disordered eating and eating disorders. And please, if you are confused about this and worried you may have one or the other… reach out and book a quick call with me. We can discuss your situation and determine what is the next best step for you to take.
If you know you are ready to change, my Intuitive Eating Essentials is the ideal way to get started on your path to make peace with food and your body image.
Intuitive Eating Essentials is a combination of training videos to help you learn all about Intuitive Eating and how to change your habits so you can heal your relationship with food. And I won’t lie, it’s hard work. Often you are changing habits built up over a lifetime. Thoughts that you have been thinking for years. Giving up diets – which don’t work. Changing your relationship with food – which does work!
Erica Leon is a Registered Dietitian and practices from a Health at Every Size (HAES®) lens. She is certified as an eating disorder specialist and is passionate about helping women at midlife, menopause and beyond to make peace with food and body image.
Erica is a highly sensitive nutrition therapist who takes the time to learn where you or your family are in the pursuit of health. Respectful of your individual needs and lifestyle, she will provide an honest assessment of whether or not you are a good fit to work together. Click here to schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call with Erica to let us know about your needs, and to see which of our Dietitians is the best fit for you!
Download our Free Intuitive Eating Guide and get off that Diet Roller Coaster for good!