With the general public so obsessed with dieting and the “perfect” body there comes a time for many people when they just stop and ask themselves “do I have an eating disorder or am I just being healthy?” While knowing how to maintain our health and fitness is important to a fulfilling life -finding balance is key. Remembering we have different body types and have different physical and nutritional needs can take us far to listen not only to the experts but to our own bodies.
If you feel like you have some concerns around eating and if it is healthy or disordered then doing some internet research on eating disorders can be helpful and speaking with your primary physician about your findings will help you get beyond yourself and reaching out for help.
The heart and mind of eating disorders
While researching and reading you will want to keep your heart and body connected. Eating disorders can be elusive as the mind may be saying one thing and the body another. Checking in with your body as you read will give you clues, just as it does around hunger and satiety, as to where your eating may fall on the continuum.
Feeling what you feel and being aware of those feelings can remove the confusion the mind may add when trying to sort these things out. They are not right or wrong they are just feelings and they are clues for you to see if you are eating healthy or have gone too far form normal eating.
Eating disorder signs
- Acute awareness of calories in food
- Acute awareness of how many calories are burned by exercise
- Fear of eating in public
- Inflexible thinking
Eating disorder symptoms
- Dramatic weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Feeling cold
- Chronic tiredness
- Excessive energy (diet pills)
- Limited social spontaneity
- Loss of menstrual cycle
- Restrained emotional expression
Eating disorder behaviors
- Refusal to eat certain foods
- Preoccupation with food, eating, calories and dieting
- Commenting of being fat despite being underweight
- Denial if hunger
- Cooking for others without eating
- Avoidance of mealtimes and situations involving food
- Excessive exercise regime regardless of illness, weather, or schedule
- Refusal to maintain normal body weight for height/age
- Denial of serious low body weight
The flip side of eating disorders-normal eating
If we can call this huge range of eating anything it would be “normal”. Taking a look at what is considered signs of normal eating can be quite revealing. If your defenses are up around the thought of having disordered eating or an eating disorder you can flip it all around and see how much stress is encountered around normal eating behaviors to break out of the possible denial. Normal eating leaves lots of room to move, to be flexible and to have your preferences and desires without judgment.
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