Disordered Eating vs Eating Disorders – When to know if you need help

by | May 4, 2020

Many people believe that if they do not have a full-fledged eating disorder or they aren’t a “severe enough case” they don’t deserve help. This could not be more false though and if you have any symptoms of disordered eating that impede with your life and being able to function normally with good self-esteem, then you deserve it to yourself to get help.

I have been an eating disorder specialist for so long, and there are so many people who compare their disorder to that of others. Focus inward, when reading these symptoms of disordered eating your gut instinct will tell you if it is a severe enough problem that needs treatment.


Signs you are a disordered eater and need to seek help:

  1. Significant fluctuations in weight
  2. Constantly yo-yo dieting
  3. Stomach pains
  4. Changes in bowel habits
  5. A disturbance in the way one experiences their body, i.e., a person who falls in a healthy weight range but continues to feel that they are overweight
  6. Anxiety about certain foods or food groups
  7. Food is a way to cope or manage life’s stressor
  8. Restrictive eating
  9. Binge eating
  10. Excessive or rigid exercise routine
  11. Being preoccupied with weight, food, dieting, calories, and carbohydrates
  12. Managing weight becomes a primary concern above other activities
  13. Self-worth based highly on body shape and weight
  14. Limiting or restricting entire food groups and considering a small amount of food “safe”
  15. A rigid approach to eating such as inflexible meal times or not wanting to eat in restaurants
  16. Laxative abuse

If any of these resonate with you know you are not alone. Research has suggested an astounding 50% of the population has a disordered relationship with food, body, and exercise. It is due to our culture’s preoccupation with size, weight, diet, and exercise, especially here in America.

Why Disordered Eating still requires professional attention

It is the same behavior as an eating disorder, just at a lesser frequency, or lower level of severity. It is problematic because those with disordered eating patterns are very at risk for developing a full-blown eating disorder and are also at risk for developing anxiety or depression.

Strategies for Helping Someone with Disordered Eating

Early intervention is key and ESSENTIAL. Protect your loved ones from letting food consume their life or turn into a full-fledged eating disorder. Don’t ignore the problem and hope it goes away. I understand it is hard to talk about, but it is only going to get worse, and the deeper the restrictive eater gets into their patterns, the harder it will be to remove them from this disordered way of living because they will get more stuck in these patterns and become more defensive. Lastly don’t give up until the person you love has found professional help. Offer to go with them and follow up on appointments. Be a support to them in their recovery and encourage them throughout the process.


Effective Treatment

I will help you or your loved one

  1. Learn how to feed your body out of love instead of using food as punishment or thinking of mealtimes as something that is anxiety-inducing.
  2. Offer virtual meal support
  3. Teach the tools that you can use to learn how to stop dieting once and for all
  4. Stop negative body talk
  5. Help you find a balanced meal plan that doesn’t feel restrictive and ensures you are getting all the nutrition you need

Book an appointment with me today and end the cycle of weight fluctuating and preoccupation with food. Learning to love yourself will transform more areas of your life than you realize.

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