Disordered Eating

Disordered Eating

You may not feel you have a eating disorder, but know that your relationship with food could be improved?

Maybe you are always watching what you eat, or sometimes overeat and feel out of control; maybe you’re eating causes fights with your partner, or you feel bad because you don’t eat with your children?

Disordered eating is an umbrella term that can include all types of eating habits that are considered outside of normal or usual UK eating habits. Disordered eating describes irregular patterns of eating behaviours, such as food restriction, obsessive dieting ,worrying about food, bingeing, vomiting after eating and exercising too much. Although there may be some similarities between these behaviours and the clinically defined anorexia and bulimia, they are not diagnosed as such, and are instead considered to be atypical, or sub clinical.

Disordered eating will be different from everyone who experiences it. Even if the behaviours and eating habits are the same, they will have been started for different reasons, and serve different purposes.

Often there is an emotional issue at the core of these eating habits, such as a negative body image that has resulted in attempts at dieting or a desire for control that has led to strict food rules. Many of these emotional issues can be similar to those that have led to eating disorders.

There may also be underlying mental health or health issues that contribute to disordered eating. For example, strict food rules could be the result of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) while sorting food by texture could be a sign of Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) Or Autism.

You may wonder what “normal” eating is? If you answer yes to most of the below statements than chances are you have a normal eating pattern, but too many “No” answers could indicate disordered eating:

  • Eating something at least 3 times a day
  • Sometimes overeating
  • Sometimes under-eating
  • Eating more of the foods you enjoy the taste of when you choose to
  • Eating less of the foods you like as you know you can eat them again in the future
  •  Eating or not eating on occasions when you feel tense or stressed
  •  Eating a variety of foods without feeling guilty
  • Eating in a flexible way that does not interfere with your work, study, or social life
  • Eating sufficient food and a variety of foods often enough to prevent binge eating
  • Eating when out in a similar manner to other people in a group
  • Eating fast food occasionally
  • Being aware that food is not the most important thing in life, but knowing that it is important for good health
  • Counting calories, weighing food, or following a strict diet
  • Always eating low calorie foods
  • Eating to lose weight, but knowing that you can watch your weight if you want to
  • Assuming that you can control the amount and type of food your body needs better than your body can
  • Having to constantly weigh yourself for reassurance
  • Making excuses with yourself to prevent you from eating certain foods e.g. Allergies, veganism etc....