“Do I have an eating disorder?”

I guess there are people out there asking themselves this question. This may sound weird because you’d think that if you have one, you know it. But no, it’s not as easy as that.

When I developed eating problems as a teenager I did not know I have an eating disorder even when I clearly had one. And it was not because I was denying it. It simply didn’t get to my mind that what I was doing was a mental disease. I thought I was just really good at loosing weight, that I was smart and found the right way to do it. I couldn’t find anything wrong with it. After some time of course I recognized that something is wrong and that what I was doing wasn’t just a diet. Yes, I don’t think diets are a good thing but a “normal” diet is just about eating less or special foods for a short period of time and it’s mostly just physical. You could eat normal again at any time.. of course many eating disorders evolve out of diets so please stay away from them. 😉

However, this article is not about how to prevent an eating disorder or how to cure an eating disorder. I think there are already lots of helpful articles and videos about this topic out there. I never really see people talk about how to find out that you even have one too much though. But this is the first important step to even having the change to choose to get better. And like I said, this is not about denyal. When you know you have one you can still tell yourself that you don’t though you know deep within it’s not true.

So, what are the indications that you might have an eating disorder? I will use my personal experience and list the ones I had. I never had bulimia (not that I didn’t try to throw up..) so the indications are more for anorexia. There are a lot more of course but maybe I can’t describe them as well as I never experienced them.

Behaviour

  • reducing your food intake more and more
  • eating the same food every day as you already know how much calories they have
  • not caring about the nutrients, only about calories (e.g. rather getting just 200 calories from chocolate instead of 400 calories from a fruit salad)
  • weighting your food to get the exact amount of calories
  • working out excessively to the edge of total exhaustion to burn the calories you ate or even more
  • not eating together with your family anymore
  • avoiding meeting friends and any kind of social interaction because you fear to have to eat there
  • lying all the time, for example about what you ate in a day or why you can’t come to an event
  • removing food from your plate when noone is looking (e.g. putting it on another person’s plate or giving it to your dog)
  • checking your body in the mirror all the time and grabbing your “fat” even though there barely is any
  • staring at other people’s bodies when they’re thinner than you are
  • doing things to speed up your metabolism like drinking lots of strong coffee or taking thyroid pills
  • developing weird eating habits like cutting everything in small pieces, not being able to take a normal bite from something but to pluck it in pieces
  • not drinking anything with calories because you need the little calorie limit you set yourself for food
  • (trying to) vomit when you ate “too much”
  • not eating anything for the rest of the day when you already reached or exceeded your calorie limit
  • not eating anything the whole day when you know you have to go out to eat with people later
  • setting yourself a new weight goal everytime even though you reached the goal you set before and you came below your original goal already long time ago

Thoughts and Feelings

  • not feeling happy when eating and seeing food as something bad, not good
  • having a good day when the scale shows 100g less than the day before and a bad one when it shows 100g more
  • your mind is full of numbers as you’re counting calories all day, you count them over and over again, you know the calories in most food by heart
  • constantly thinking about what you already ate and what you are going to eat
  • not only thinking about the food of this day but already planning what to eat for the next couple of days ahead
  • thinking about how to avoid eating when other people are around
  • feeling bad and weak when eating too much or something unplanned
  • having the feeling to have to be perfect all the time: perfect body, perfect grades, perfect hair,..
  • the less you eat and the more you exercise the more satisfied you are and the prouder you feel
  • feeling superior to others because you’re so disciplined and others are not because they eat so much
  • not wanting to “depend” on food and being able to survive with just a little
  • being jealous of other people’s thin bodies, especially when they seem to eat a lot and you have to starve yourself
  • feeling good when people tell you how thin and sick you look and that they worry about you
  • not believing people when they tell you you’re thin because you think of all the fat on your body you still have to loose
  • not wanting to get more friends and definitely not a partner as it would make avoiding eating so much harder when they are around you so often

I probably forgot some points I experienced but I still think it’s enough.. I really hope this can help some people, especially young girls. When I was about 14 and everything started it would have made it so much easier to find out what’s going on with me through the internet. But well, 12 years ago the internet was not the common thing it is today. 😉

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