Disordered eating has no official definition, but generally refers to disturbed and abnormal eating behaviours that may include restrictive dieting, rigid rules, removing large food groups, or skipping meals.
Approximately 1.25 million people in the UK have a diagnosed eating disorder falling under four categories: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder and Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder. However, it is thought that in reality this could be double the amount of people, as many do not seek help or will not meet the full criteria of an eating disorder.
With a rise in diet culture, social media and increased dietary choice, disordered eating has become the new norm and socially acceptable. One of the most common misconceptions about disordered eating is that it is a young white women’s disease. The truth is that disordered eating can affect any gender, race or age. Men account for 25% of disordered eating cases. You are more likely to be affected if there is a family history of disordered eating or there is a pressure to look a certain way (for example models, athletes or dancers)
Physical signs of disordered eating:
1. Fluctuations in weight
2. Changes in bowel habits.
3. Changes in menstrual regularity, including loss or missing periods.
4. Feeling weak, dizzy, faint or tired
5. Feeling cold all the time
6. Digestive issues including IBS like symptoms
1. Being preoccupied with weight, food, dieting, calories
2. Being preoccupied with body image, body size/shape, specific body part and or the scales
3. Cutting out certain food or food groups
7. Tracking food intake, calorie counting / macro tracking obsessively
8. Feeling of guilt or anxiety over eating or certain foods
9. Withdrawing from social eating activities
10. Deliberately engaging in behaviours that alter your weight and digestion (vomiting, laxatives, diet pills, excessive exercise)
Disordered Eating can pose serious health risks including gastrointestinal issues, osteoporosis, fertility issues, hormonal imbalances, low blood pressure and heart rate, increased pressure on internal organs, and negative impact on mental health.
What can you do to break the cycle?
1. Make an appointment with the GP
2. Consult a registered Nutritionist or dietician
3. Eat regular meals and snacks
4. Include all food groups
5. Try and stop tracking food
6. Unfollow any accounts that are likely to make you feel negative about food.
7. Talk to friends and family
If you have any questions, or suspect that you are someone you know is suffering with disordered eating, then please get in touch.