What is Disordered Eating?
When we think of disordered eating our thoughts naturally move to an image of a person suffering anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa but in truth disordered eating encases a wide spectrum of behaviours.
Disordered eating refers to a wide range of abnormal eating behaviours. The main thing differentiation disordered eating from an eating disorder is the level of severity and frequency of behaviours. It is important to know the warning signs of disordered eating to understand whether the problem is developing or being experienced as an eating disorder in full.
This article outlines below the behavioural, physical and psychological warning signs of disordered eating and eating disorders.
Psychological warning signs
- Increased preoccupation with body shape, weight and appearance
- Intense fear of gaining weight
- Constant preoccupation with food and activities relating to food
- Extreme body dissatisfaction / negative body image
- Feelings of life being out of control
- Rigid black and white thinking about eating
Behavioural warning signs
- Constant or repetitive dieting
- Binge eating
- Excessive or compulsive exercise patterns
- Making lists of good and bad foods
- Changes in food preferences
- Deceptive behaviour around food
- Frequent avoidance of eating meals
Physical warning signs
- Sudden weight loss
- Frequent changes in weight
- Sensitivity to the cold
- Frequent vomiting
- Loss of female cycle
It is important to understand that no-one presenting with disordered eating is the same. You may find that you can relate to a combination of these signs and symptoms but not yet feel as though you have a fully active eating disorder. It is important to seek a professional opinion and the appropriate help to rectify the behaviour.