Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders

I work with a whole host of disordered eating, from the classic eating disorders (such as anorexia and bulimia), binge eating, overeating and food addiction, to simple disordered eating.  Although eating disorders are rife in our Western world, they are no more common than simple disordered eating, which is defined as unhealthy eating behaviours and body image concerns. 

Fad dieting, weight cycling and dissatisfaction with one’s body is (unfortunately) very common in our society.  It results in a preoccupation with food, calories and weight, and is a health concern, and I would say, especially a mental health concern. While classic eating disorders are diagnosed according to specific criteria, disordered eating does not fall into these parameters.  Disordered eating is more of a descriptive phrase than a diagnosis. Although the disordered eating patterns may not fit into the confines of an eating disorder, they are damaging to our health and can become more serious eating disorders.

Some symptoms of disordered eating include:

  • Frequent dieting
  • Constant weight changes
  • Strict practices around food and exercise
  • Unfounded concerns with respect to eating certain foods
  • Experiencing guilt when eating, especially when eating certain foods that have been labelled as ‘bad’
  • Being overly preoccupied with food, weight, body image, which negatively impacts the quality of life
  • Obsessive eating habits and a feeling of loss of control around food
  • Finding ways to ‘undo bad eating’ such as exercise, fasting etc.

Disordered eating can be detrimental as it can lead to eating disorders or obesity.  Other possible consequences include bone loss, gastrointestinal issues, electrolyte and fluid imbalances, low heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, depression and even social isolation.  It may be difficult to notice if someone has disordered eating because they do not have the classic symptoms of a typical eating disorder, but they generally do experience significant physical, emotional and mental stress which can affect their lives.

Getting out of this emotional turmoil is important to be able to live your life to the fullest.  I will teach you how to eat in a way to maximise your metabolism and thereby keep your weight stable (or lose initially if you need to).  I will also help you to improve your relationship with your food.  When you stop classifying foods as 'good' and 'bad' and learn how to incorporate any foods into a plan without feeling any negative feeling, AND are able to keep your weight stable, you will know what it is like to have a healthy relationship with food.